Regina "Ginny" Wolkoff
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Tips to Maximize Space in Every Room

February 17, 2015 2:00 am

(Family Features)—Current trending of lifestyles, whether it may be empty-nesters, first time home buyers or the economy, have left people with smaller spaces. There are several ways that you can maximize storage just by thinking ahead and taking steps to stay organized.

Designate a spot

A crucial rule to always follow when trying to conserve space is to give every item its own location. Yes, this may seem like an effortless task; however, how many of your measuring cups or hair products are the exact way you had them when they were first organized? Take the extra time to conserve organization by storing them correctly, and you will be surprised how much time you will actually save when it comes to locating them.

Most frequent in the front

Arrange items by how often you use them by simply placing the items that are used most in the front. This will save time because you will know exactly where to find them without the hassle of digging to the back of the cabinet.

Sliding shelves are super

To get the most out of your cabinets, use sliding shelves. Not only does this eliminate having to kneel and stretch to the back of the cabinet to reach that cake pan that fell behind everything else, but it gives you access to use every inch of space because with a simple pull, everything is brought to you.

Remain or remove

Everyone has those items that have not been touched in years and are the best dust collectors. It is time to decide what remains and what needs to be removed. This is often associated with closet clean outs, but every room can use an annual clean out. Clutter and lack of organization result from an excess of objects. This simple clean out will make a huge difference in maximizing space.

More Organizing Tips

Before leaving a room, take 30-60 seconds to pick up items that are out of place. This little bit of time will make a huge difference.
  • Arrange objects creatively. Maximize space even if it means hanging hooks on cabinet drawers to hang pot holders or utensils.
  • Labels can be your best friend. Be innovative and use them outside of the office. They are perfect for locating items in the pantry, closet, laundry room and more.
  • Put a weekly pantry and refrigerator cleanout on your to-do list. This gives you time to throw out the old items and empty containers to make clutter-free room for new groceries.
  • Be socially responsible and recycle. Keep a few bins around to recycle your cans, plastic and paper. This is such an easy way to teach children responsibility while keeping the earth clean.
Tools to Help

Technology

The advances in technology have allowed products to be made that make life a little easier on you. Cooking and many other activities, a lot of times, leave you with your hands messy or full. Features like touch to lift, touch to light, touch to open and touch to close provide the solution to this mainstream problem in any room.

Lighting

The right amount of lighting complements cabinets to show the true beauty of the wood while also providing the function to make things easier to see. This alone can save space because it gives you access to locate items in all areas of the cabinetry. When paired with organizational solutions, you are guaranteed to get the most out of your space.

Accessories

A wonderful way to be a creative organizer is by putting accessories to use. These can range from those that are built into cabinets or even a few strategically placed bins to keep everything together. This is especially great for drawers, making them easier to clean out.

Source: Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Best Time to Book a Flight

February 16, 2015 2:00 am

We all want to know: When is the best time to book a flight?

"When you buy your flight makes a huge difference," says CheapAir CEO Jeff Klee. “No one wants to find that the person sitting next to them on a flight paid $100 less for their ticket.”

After analyzing 1.5 billion air fares, CheapAir.com has determined that the best domestic fares were found booking, on average, 47 days in advance in 2014. The study found that the average savings that could be achieved from buying on the "best" day versus buying on the "worst" was $201 per ticket.

Analysis of the data revealed a general pattern that, beginning when flights open for sale 11 months in advance, fares tend to drop slowly but steadily until reaching a low point somewhere between 27 days and 114 days out.

Not surprisingly, the study revealed that travelers should make sure to buy their ticket at least 14 days in advance, or pay an average of $111 more. That amount jumps to $174 more if you buy within 7 days. It also revealed that buying a ticket too early can be costly, too. Tickets tend to be about $50 more expensive than their eventual low point when flights first open for sale.

The study found different dynamics exist for domestic and international flights, concluding that for international flights it is generally best to book earlier than the recommended window for domestic. The best time to buy cheap airline tickets to Latin America, for instance, averaged out to 96 days in advance. To Europe it was 276 days – that's about 9 months! Mexico was close at 251 days and Asia was even more extreme at 318 days.

Source: CheapAir.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Households Spend More for Time-Saving Appliances

February 16, 2015 2:00 am

Time is a precious commodity—so much so, it seems, that Americans are willing to spend a little more on faster household appliances, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey.

The survey found that about one-quarter of dishwasher, washer, and dryer owners said they’d pay extra for speedier appliances, and about one-third of that group said they would pay an extra $100 or more.

“The time savings really adds up: 15 minutes here, an hour there,” said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, Deputy Content Editor of Consumer Reports. “If a home was equipped with one of each type of product, consumers could save more than 2 hours per day!”

Induction ranges and cooktops are growing ever more popular, single-serve coffeemakers are crowding store shelves, and faster settings are being built into washers and dishwashers. Buyers of electronics have a different definition of fast; they want devices that stream, process, and download swiftly.

In the survey, 41 percent of respondents 44 years or younger said they would pay more for a faster washing machine than the one they have. Of the dishwasher owners willing to pay more for a faster dishwasher, 87 percent said they would pay an extra $50 or more.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Three Ways to Become More Eco-Friendly at Home

February 16, 2015 2:00 am

(BPT) - Whether you're motivated by a workplace initiative, a personal goal or the opportunity to teach your children lifelong positive habits, now is a great time to become more environmentally friendly.

Here are three ways your family can create positive environmental change starting today:

Recycle
Research shows that less than two percent of waste in the United States is recycled, yet almost half of all trash can be recycled. School lunches are one source of waste that most families don't consider. These are packed each morning and tossed away each afternoon once lunchtime is over.

Protect water resources
Water is one of the most important resources people have, yet every year billions of gallons are needlessly wasted. You can conserve water in your home by teaching your children to take shorter showers or baths, turning off dripping faucets and avoiding letting the water run while they are brushing their teeth. You can also reduce water waste in your home by investing in water-saving appliances and by reducing or eliminating the practice of watering your lawn, relying on rain to do so instead.

Plant a tree
Trees are more than just a beautiful backdrop; they are also essential to the environment. Trees improve the quality of the air you breathe by capturing dust and pollution particles that can affect your health. As trees grow, they remove greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the air, store carbon, and release pure oxygen into the atmosphere And, trees properly planted around a home can help lower air conditioning and heating costs by up to 25 percent.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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More Americans Adopting Mind-Body Lifestyles

February 13, 2015 1:57 am

More Americans than ever are taking steps to live a healthier life, according to a recent report by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The report found that non-vitamin, non-mineral and natural products remain the most popular complementary health approach used by American adults.

The report also reveals an increase in usage of fish oil, probiotics, prebiotics and melatonin among adults, with fish oil being the most commonly-used natural product. Use of glucosamine, chondroitin, echinacea and garlic usage decreased significantly.

The report also points to growing trends in mind-body lifestyle practices, including:
  • Yoga practice among Americans ages 45-64 increased 5.2 percent over the last five years.
  • Nearly 18 million adults practiced meditation.
  • Nearly 20 million adults had chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation.
Source: NCCIH

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Exercise Caution in Winter Months

February 13, 2015 1:57 am

With dangerously low temperatures continuing to impact much of the U.S. this winter, individuals and families must be safe when faced with the hazards of cold temperatures and winter weather, cautions the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Subfreezing temperatures and wind chills can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don't take the proper precautions,” says Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Regional Administrator. “It is important for everyone to monitor their local weather reports and take steps now to stay safe, whether traveling or at home, during times of extreme cold temperatures.”

During cold weather, take the following preventative measures:
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit your exposure to the cold.
  •  Dress in layers and keep dry.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
  • Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe.
  • Bring your pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water.
  • Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, blanket and flashlight – and keep the fuel tank above half full.
  • If you are told to stay off the roads, stay home. If you must drive, don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and stay on main roads.
Source: FEMA.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Your New House Feel Like Home

February 13, 2015 1:57 am

(BPT) – We all know that moving into a new home can be one of life's biggest stressors - the packing, the paperwork, the unpacking and of course, finding the nearest coffee shop. Making your new house feel like home can help alleviate some of this stress and provide some much needed relaxation.

"Everyone has a different sense of what home is," says Elizabeth Lindmier of The Art Institute of Colorado. While the same aesthetic won't work for everyone, she recommends getting started with these tips.

1. Texture and textiles - Instead of having all hard surfaces, cozy up your home with something soft or textured. This could be a blanket, curtains or area rugs. These items will also provide some acoustical value so noises aren't echoing in an empty space.

2. Comfort - Have some place in your home where you can relax, recharge and feel at ease. "Make a space where you would like to spend time," Lindmier says.

3. Color - A monochromatic scheme with pops of colors can make you feel happy. "Do your research on color theory before painting any space," says Lindmier. "Different colors can spark different moods, emotions and even behavior. Discover what you'd like a given space to accomplish, and use colors as a tool to create such environment."

4. Lighting - Look at the difference between warm and cool lighting colors to decide what helps achieve the look you want. Consider using task, ambient and accent lighting for your space. "Lighting plays a key role in any home," Lindmier says. "Through lighting design you can highlight architectural features, create lighting which is more useful to the human eye, and work with natural light while keeping energy use to a minimum."

5. Clutter - "Less is more, but make it more meaningful," says Lindmier. Get rid of your clutter. When sitting in your space, make sure you can look around and love the things you see.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Recover from Identity Theft

February 12, 2015 1:51 am

Did you know that more than 13 million people were victims of identity fraud in the last year? (Javelin Strategy and Research) For those who’ve had their identity compromised, fear not: it is possible to recover. Credit reporting agency Equifax recommends:

Checking your credit reports and notifying all three credit reporting agencies about any discrepancies or activity you don't recognize.

Placing a fraud alert with any one of the three agencies, which will in turn notify the others.

Filing a police report and holding onto it for future reference.

Pausing, but not panicking. Work on staying grounded through times of stress.

Taking care of yourself and paying attention to your health.

Finding a support system, such as your family members, to stick by you as you rebuild your finances.

Keeping a detailed journal of any calls you make, letters you receive or other actions you take to resolve your claim.

Contacting a victim's assistance group to lead you through the process.

Seeking out counseling or seeing a professional if you need it.

Source: Equifax

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Get – and Stay – Organized at Home

February 12, 2015 1:51 am

(Family Features) Life can be hectic and clutter has a way of sneaking up on even the neatest of households. It may be due to all those shoes, a lack of space or time constraints, but whether you’re living in an apartment or in a sprawling house, everyone can benefit from better organization.

By thinking about storage differently and coming up with a smart system that works for you, you’ll be on your way to creating a well-balanced, happier home. Get – and stay – organized with these tips:

When starting the process:
If you’re just beginning, remember: baby steps. Focus on one small area or room, or even your junk drawer. Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. Finish smaller projects once you start; you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and be encouraged to tackle subsequent rooms and projects.

When in the middle of the process:
Stuck midway through an organizational project and need motivation to finish? Think of your project as a mini-makeover – this will make it seem more exciting and less of a chore. Try taking pictures along the way to document your progress and give yourself a boost.

When finished:
Keeping clutter at bay is a full-time job, so keep a watchful eye on areas that naturally accumulate items, such as entryways and child play areas. If you have children, get them involved in the organization process by teaching them where items belong and how to store them. Make it simple with labels on storage bins, basket and drawers.

Source: ClosetMaid

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Telltale Signs You're Ready to Move

February 12, 2015 1:51 am

Moving to a new home can be life-changing. The reasons for a move vary: you may have a growing family, you might be empty-nesting, or you may just need of a change of pace. But how do you know you’re really ready to move? Watch for these classic signs:

You’ve thought through the details. You’ve worked out the logistics – where you want to live, when you want to move, what kind of home you want – and feel confident about your decision.

Your family situation is changing. Shifting family dynamics may mean it’s time to either move-up or downsize. If your household spatial needs are changing, re-evaluate your current residence to determine whether it’s time for a new chapter.

You did your homework. Investing in a new home is not to be taken lightly. You’ve taken steps to align your finances with your goals – you’ve saved enough for a down payment, crunched numbers, kept tabs on interest rates and corrected any errors on your credit report.

You’re ready to make a dream come true. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to own a home in the suburbs. Or a waterfront property. Or a horse ranch. If you’re ready to transition to your ideal home, it may be time for a move.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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