For some of us, working from home is new and still a novelty.  For others, they have been doing it for years.  And they can provide us with great tips on ways to ensure we are staying productive while working from home.

 

  1. Create a workspace or home office – Each person who is working in the house should have their “own” area to work (to the best of your ability).  Be flexible and maybe have a few spots in the house for working, this allows for “privacy” if one family member is on a video meeting.  Make your workspace as comfortable as possible.
  2. Set a firm “start” and “end” of the day work hours – keep office hours that are in-line with your coworkers.  Having set hours helps establish a sense of routine.  This routine also helps if you have kids, as they can set their “school work” schedule around your work day and know when not to disturb you.
  3. Take breaks – Just like when you are in the office, it is not good to sit for too long.  Build into your daily schedule short breaks to get up and move.  This could be as simple as walking into another room to fill up your water bottle or doing a few squats at your “desk”.
  4. Get dressed – As tempting as it is to stay in your pajamas all day, get dressed, whether you are leaving the house or not.  And keep your morning hygiene routine; shower, shave, brush your hair and teeth – it is the little things in our daily routine that helps keep “normalcy” in our lives.
  5. Keep your routine – this is more than just your morning routine, this includes your work day routine.  If you have certain business tasks that need to be done daily or weekly, continue to do them around the same time or in the same order each day.  And if you have trouble starting in the morning, make your commute to your home office a little longer and go for a walk around the block.
  6. Build in physical activity – whether it is going for a walk, doing an online/virtual exercise class, or playing outside with kids, build in physical activity into your daily routine – it can be in the morning, on a lunch break or after your working hours.
  7. Designate a “work-free” zone – This is important as it gives your family a space to be in to do other things (watch tv, games, puzzles, etc) while you are working. This also allows your downtime to be without distractions. You won’t be tempted to check your email one last time.

Decluttering is defined as the removing of unnecessary items from an untidy or overcrowded place, like a room or your home.  Home organization can be defined as the arranging of a room or space by systematic planning.  When you are organizing a room or your whole house, it may involve decluttering, as well as rearranging the furniture to fit better within the space.

Often decluttering involves purging.  It can be quite cathartic to get rid of things that you discover you have been holding on to for years and don’t know why.  Many of these items, when properly sterilized can find ‘new homes’ using sites like Varagesale, Freecyle or Facebook Marketplace. For those items that can’t find a “new home”, you will likely find a ‘curbside holiday’ for it.  Many cities and municipalities have lifted their minimums and ‘costs per bag’ for regular household garbage.

Just remember to fully commit to the decluttering and organization routine.  Start with one room/space so you are not overwhelmed and are able to finish the task.

If the task is feeling to overwhelming and large to undertake, there are many professional “home organizers” and tidying experts, who have resources online that you can read, watch or purchase.  There are companies that are now offering virtual services at this time as part of their paid services.

Whether for your home or business, the Professional Organizers in Canada website has a quick-look up form that allow you to narrow down the search for the professional organizing services needed.

https://www.organizersincanada.com/getorganized/find.html

Think of Find My Organizer website as a yellow pages, with detailed, personalized listing of organizers in your province who can assist virtually assist you.

https://www.findmyorganizer.com/organize.b.507.g.71435.html?page=1

 

KonMari

Founded by Marie Kondo, the KonMari Method encourages tidying or decluttering by category, not a room or location.  So you would start with your clothes then move on to books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items.  You keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard the items that no longer spark joy.  You thank them for their service, then let them go.

https://konmari.com/

There is also a movement for minimalism as a whole lifestyle, not just the decluttering within your home.

 

The Minimalists

Learn more about how to focus on clearing the clutter from your life’s path to help make room.  The Minimalists focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contentment and more freedom.  Josh and Ryan, the founders of the Minimalists, are helping people live meaningful lives with less.

https://www.theminimalists.com/

 

Becoming Minimalist

Designed to inspire others to pursue their greatest passion by owning fewer things.  Joshua is a best-selling author, offering tips and guiding people through rational minimalism and discovering what minimalism uniquely means to them.

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/

Some of the simplest and best cleaners, are made from the most natural of products and most are probably found in your cupboards.  Whether you are using them for your Spring cleaning, or they become part of your regular cleaning routine, here are a few recipes and tips for great homemade cleaners.

 

Staples to have on hand:

White Vinegar

Borax – is a great bleach substitute

Hydrogen Peroxide

Rubbing Alcohol

Baking Soda / Sodium Bicarbonate

Castile Soap

Lemon Juice / Lemon Oil

 

Good Housekeeping offers 33 tips for Spring cleaning this year.  Make sure you scroll down though when you check out this webpage as they have their Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning at the bottom of the page.  These include great tips and articles on: “How to clean your car’s interior like a Pro” and “How to get blood out of your carpet” as who knows what wrestling matches have been happening in your house during the winter and past few weeks.

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/g3345/spring-cleaning-tips/

 

This spring, clean your house like a professional. Merry Maids is just one of many cleaning services that offers a checklist on their website with tips and how-to’s to Spring clean your house like a professional service would

https://www.merrymaids.com/cleaning-tips/seasonal-cleaning/spring-cleaning-checklist/

 

Divide and conquer the Spring cleaning with printable checklists.  Go room by room, or divide up rooms between the family.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/spring-cleaning-checklist/

Spring has arrived and with it comes the warm air and sunny days.  This is the time when we open the windows to let the fresh air in, replacing the stale air from winter and we start to think about doing a deep clean of our house.

 

TIPS:

  1. Clean in an organized manner. It is usually best to think of cleaning top to bottom, left to right. This way if you are cleaning a ceiling fan or the top of a cabinet, the dust is not falling on your nicely cleaned floors.
  2. Clean things you’d never think of cleaning normally. When was the last time you cleaned your mattress, shower curtain, indoor garbage bins, microwave, washing machine or dishwasher? If you have a mattress cover, throw it in the wash, otherwise wipe down the top of your mattress with hot water. Wash any indoor garbage bins with hot water, baking soda and soap.
  3. Dust with old wool clothing. Did you know that wool creates static when you rub it on a surface? This means you can wipe your furniture dust-free without using any polish or spray.
  4. Polish your Silver. There are a few ways to clean your silverware. You can use commercial cleaners or toothpaste. Whichever you are using, dab a bit onto a cloth and rub the silverware with it.  Make sure you wash with soap and rinse thoroughly.
  5. Clean your drains. For seasonal treatments, you can purchase the chemical drain cleaners. For weekly maintenance, toss a handful of baking soda followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain. This will help prevent blockages.
  6. Clean your windows, inside and outside. A great homemade solution is 1/3 cup of white vinegar, a spoonful of dish soap mixed with 1 L of water.  Great to use on the outside of the windows, so you are not damaging any gardens.  A sponge works better to soak a window than a spray bottle to get the windows thoroughly wet.  Do avoid cleaning in the bright sunlight as the cleaning solution will dry too quickly.  Paper towels or newspaper (newspaper leaves no lint) work better to dry the inside of the windows (less mess) and a black rubber squeegee works best to dry the outside of a window.
  7. Clean your floors. Not just the courtesy clean we may sometimes do, but a good deep clean. If you have marble, tile or granite floors, use just hot water or a cleaner made especially for these types of floors.  General cleaners can damage these types.  For linoleum floors, hot water and soap works well to get all the dirt if you didn’t want to use commercial cleaners.  For hardwood and laminate floors add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 1 L hot water and use 100% cotton terry towels to clean the floors.  These will not scratch the sealant off the hardwood and laminate.
  8. Disinfect your cutting boards. For plastic cutting boards, put them in the dishwasher or microwave them on high for 30 seconds. For wood cutting boards, if you put them in the dishwasher, be sure to pull them out to air dry as the drying cycle on the dishwasher can damage them.  Vinegar and lemon juice are also good for disinfecting and taking odors out of your favourite cutting board.
  9. Clean out your cupboards. Now is a great time to go through your pantry and purge. Get rid of any spices that you haven’t touched in a year or so, they do lose their flavour.  Check the expiry date on all canned and boxed goods.  Toss the ones that are expired.  Donate to a local food bank any that are still good but you know you won’t be using before they expire. Open up your oils and take a sniff??  Oils can go rancid if left open and unused for too long. Properly dispose of the oil (not down your sink) with your local municipal waste management facility.  Most now have the ability to accept fats, oils and grease from cooking for proper disposal.
  10. Clean out your Refrigerator and/or Freezer. In a similar fashion as your cupboards, now is a good time to go through and purge. Check the expiry dates on all bottled goods and toss any that are “past their prime”.  Have leftovers in the fridge?  If it has been longer than 3-4 days since the meal was made, it is safe to get rid of the leftovers.  If you are uncertain about any food in your fridge…trust your nose. Your nose knows best and will let you know when something is off and not safe to eat anymore. Check out everything in the freezer, most meat can last for 1 year before freezer burn can damage it, vegetables and fruits are a couple of months.  Health Canada does have great general food safety tips to reference on how long food can safely be stored in the refrigerator or freezer

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/general-food-safety-tips/safe-food-storage.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/general-food-safety-tips/safe-food-handling-home.html

Whether you already have a home project idea, are looking for tips or looking for ideas for a project, there are many great resources available on television, in videos, in magazines and online. You may have your favourite “Go To” reference, but if you do not, here are a few great general home websites with ideas and tips for projects that you can do around your home.

HGTV not only has great shows for us to watch and get inspired, but their website offers many articles of inspiration for different projects around your house.

https://www.hgtv.ca/

Canadian Living and Chatelaine are staples in the Canadian magazine market, providing us with tips for home, health, beauty, family and food.  Their websites offer many articles that have been written over the years to help provide easy and clever ways to organize our home and lives.  You could spend days reading all these great articles and getting ideas of things to make and do around the house.

https://www.canadianliving.com/

https://www.chatelaine.com/

 

Good Housekeeping is a staple in the US magazine market, providing us with tips for home, health, beauty, family, food and entertainment news.  Their website offers many articles that have been written over the years to help provide easy and clever ways to organize our home and lives.  You could spend hours going through all their articles, getting great ideas of things to make and do around the house.

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/

 

DIYNetwork is a sister site to HGTV (in addition to the Food Network, Great American Country and the Travel Network), that focuses all of their videos and articles on the “Do It Yourself”.  With ideas ranging from simply craft ideas to upcycled, one-of-a-kind home projects, you can spend hours just reviewing their website and watching their videos.

https://www.diynetwork.com/