Holiday House Guests

The Holiday Season is upon us. 

Christmas carols, festive décor, visiting family, holiday parties and …house guests. 

It’s the perfect time to review guest and host etiquette, should your plans include overnight visits.

Guest Etiquette

Arrive on time. 

Arrange to have clear arrival and departure times and dates and stick to it.

Come bearing gifts – dessert, wine, flowers. Be creative & personalize it.

Make your stay effortless – Clean up after yourself!

Donate to the household. Whether it’s conversation or jobs. Offering to chauffeur the kids to sports or walking the dog. Bonus points. It’s nice to feel like a part of the household and helpful to your hosts.

Offer to cook or take them out for dinner. For an extended stay, why not do both?

Always abide house rules- shoes off, no smoking etc. Follow their lead.

Respect their schedules. Bedtimes, work schedules or homework time. 

Life does not stop just because you are a guest. Let them have time to themselves. Don’t expect to be entertained or catered to. Entertain yourself and give them some time to themselves too.

A well-mannered guest brings their own toiletries. Remember to pack the essentials.

Don’t be critical, be grateful for their invitation. Enjoy their home, company and hospitality.

Bring a thank you card and a gift of appreciation to leave for your hosts, at your departure.

It’s wise to be a gracious house guest, especially if you want to be invited back.

 

Reminders for a Courteous Host

Preparing for a visit – Of course, there will be house cleaning to do! Clean & declutter and clean again.

While you are sprucing up the place have a look for items that may need to be fixed ahead of a visit. 

Fix that leaky faucet or that handle you have to jiggle, rather than having to explain it – or worse… avoid awkward situations.

Try to make the space neutral by removing photos and personal objects. Put away sensitive or important items. Child proof and/or pet proof, if necessary.

Style a clean, comfortable space. New fresh bedding & towels. 

Create closet space with extra hangers or a few drawers.

Make useful items handy, like an umbrella, a waste basket, a clock, a mirror.

Revisit the thermostat temperature and provide extra blankets. 

Anticipate your guests needs and provide thoughtful touches.

Place nightlights in bedrooms.

Clear a plug for guest charging items. Include a card with the wifi info. Expert level… print it & frame it, so it won’t get lost or misplaced.

Stock up on extra toiletry essentials too, just in case.

Snacks and caffeine are vital! 

Set up a coffee, tea and snack station so they don’t have to wait for you in the mornings.

Communicate well ahead of the visit- know your guest’s favourites and allergies.

Be sure to confirm travel arrangement details, especially the meeting time and place. 

Do they need to be picked up? Provide directions. 

It would be considerate to accommodate a parking spot upon arrival.

Let your guest know your schedule.

Consider drawing up an itinerary. Especially if it is an extended stay. 

It will avoid confusion – especially if they wake up wondering where you are!

Your guest will appreciate some alone time too.  

Try to reconnect by the end of the day. 

 

Have Fun

Plan as much as possible, but also remember to look forward to the visit. 

Don’t aim for perfection. Your guests are not there to be critical. 

Keep in mind the goal is to enjoy the time spent together!

Welcome your guests into your home. Give them the tour upon arrival.

Have fun and be proud of your home and the accommodation you are providing. 

Help them to feel at home.

I hope you have a memorable visit filled with love and laughter.

Need Help?

Take the stress out of preparing for your guests arrival by enlisting our help.

Should you want help getting ready for your Christmas guests, our experienced, trustworthy team is available!

You will be surprised at how quickly NEAT SPACES can turn your cluttered spaces in neat spaces.

Happy Holidays!

 

Testimonial

Read what satisfied customers like Carolyn from Burlington have to say about NEAT SPACES:

“I couldn’t be more pleased. Thanks to NEAT SPACES I now have my basement reclaimed. I was able to have Christmas gatherings in our old recreation room with my family. They remembered it from their own childhood, which was awesome. So, I now have my entire house completely reorganized and purged. Finally, it’s livable and entirely my own, rather than me living in my parent’s home. Of course, there are plenty of reminders of my childhood left on purpose, but it’s MY home now. They did an awesome job, I was fortunate to have their guidance. Thank you”.

Getting Started in the Garage!

The garage tends to gather items throughout the year.  

Items accumulate, until there is no longer room for vehicle’s to be housed. 

As Canadians, we know what its like to wake up to a snow-covered car…groan.

Frosty mornings scraping ice from your car windows…phooey.

Car doors frozen shut at THE most inconvenient time.

Frequently used, often neglected – your garage could use some devotion and NOW is the time.

Free yourself of garage clutter and reclaim your parking space ahead of the Winter months.

Do it. You’ll be so glad you did.

Getting Started

Set a realistic timeline and budget.

Is this a task to be handled in a day, a weekend or should it be broken down into smaller tasks where you will see progress bit by bit and work towards this goal? 

Some people like to clear out every item before putting it back away ~ if this is you, plan around the weather forecast and at a time with little else in your schedule. 

Are you able to lift your belongings alone? Maybe you should you recruit help. 

Many hands make light work.

A clean garage benefits all, this could be a job the whole family can get in on.  

Use of Space 

Decide how and where you are going to park your vehicle and devise a layout.

Start by paring down your belongings. Evaluate. Keep, donate, discard. 

Choose the necessary items to keep and categorize like objects in your garage.

For example: sports equipment, automotive, gardening gear, tools and hardware, seasonal décor items and cleaning products to name a few.  

Create zones to place like items as you remove them from the garage, to be put back together. 

A place for everything & everything in it’s place. 

Embrace the idea that each item should have a place to be stored and it should be tidily returned there when not in use.

 

Maximize Storage 

There are many solutions to make the best use of storage space.

So many options for hooks, shelves & storage systems to consider. 

Reclaim unused space. Think vertical too. A clear floor is necessary for a clean sweep.

Organize the garbage/ recycling systems and make them easily accessible.

Formulate a plan the keep waste to a minimum and a system to store it without it taking over valuable real estate. Stackable systems are a great solution.

Improvements

Make improvements as you go. 

Brighten up your workspace with proper lighting. 

Review the threshold seal, make sure it properly meets the garage floor to keep out water, cold air and critters.  

Perhaps certain items would be better stored in a different place? 

Consider safety. Items like propane tanks should not be stored in the garage. 

They are best kept where it’s well-ventilated, so store them elsewhere. 

Always have an up to date fire extinguisher handy.

 

Know When to Ask for Help

Sometimes the organized disintegration happens over several years and it may feel too overwhelming and stressful to tackle this task on your own.

If so ~ Call Us for help or inspiration.  www.neatspaces.ca

We can help you to reconnect with your space and have success in reaching your goals.

Time and again, our clients tell us they just didn’t know where to start. 

We will help you start AND finish. It’s worth it. 

The satisfaction of finally being able to park your car in the garage, not to mention the time saving benefits … you’ll be grateful you did. 

Love your garage again!

 

Hear what Jeff had to say about the service & results he received working with Neat Spaces.

Clearing up my life

WOW! What can I say, I am absolutely thrilled with the final outcome of the basement, it has brought tears to my eyes as the basement has been a huge sore spot with me for many years!  I always hated going down there to get something….Please thank all those involved with this project, it’s so greatly appreciated! Thank you once again for “clearing up my life”.

Jeff, Milton

Saving Time in the Kitchen!

Autumn can be an overwhelming time and it can leave you feeling drained. 

It’s never easy to juggle a jam packed extra-curricular schedule, homework help, making lunches and the stress putting a healthy dinner on the table at a reasonable hour. 

It’s a challenge, no doubt, but we can try. 

Here’s some simple tactics to tame the kitchen chaos and find more time in your day.

 

Your Pantry

Be Prepared.  Keep your pantry well stocked. 

Pro Tip: Use quality storage containers to preserve bulk or unpackaged food items.

Buy frequently used items on sale & in quantity. 

Organize & rotate regularly to avoid waste and to keep inventory.

Label, Label, Label. You will be more efficient and it looks fabulous!

Bigger fridge? A Lazy Susan will work well in there.

 

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Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning

An organized shopping list has many benefits. Less store visits will save time & money.

Buy extra staple items like eggs, milk and bread to avoid extra trips.

Try to organize your grocery list according to the store layout to save time and avoid missing items.

Shop the flyers, especially big money savers like meat & produce items. 

Give yourself extra points for a budget friendly list and in season fruit and vegetables!

Plan your meals. Start by making a list of your family’s favorite meals. Ask the kids as the answer may not be what you think it is.

Next, break down ingredients required to prepare each meal. 

Craft your grocery list based on several weekly choices. 

Change it up each week and try to add a new family approved recipe each month. 

Bonus points if it’s a good crock pot or one pot recipe! Less dishes? Yes, please! 

 

Veggies First

Busy days, means growing kids are working up an appetite. 

How often are you prepping for dinner and they sneak past to raid the fridge or pantry because they just can’t wait!? They stare, fridge open for something they can grab quick. 

Beat them to it. Why not put out a veggie plate with dip ahead of dinner. 

When they reach for the fridge door let them know it’s the only appetizer option. Help yourself.

They may just be soooo hungry they dust it. Leftovers? Pack them up for tomorrow’s lunch box.

Kids eating healthy, without your familiar dinner time plea to “finish your vegetables” is a win, win.

 

Testimonial

We enjoy working closely with our clients to help with their specific needs.

See what Kathy had to say about her experience with Neat Spaces.

“Wendy was just the right person to help me get out from under boxes and bags that filled my basement. I knew I needed to purge but… She listened when I whined and pleaded to keep things, but then showed me how every single item had a place. She took things to donation centers and women’s items to a shelter, art materials to a non- profit school. Then she separated the recycle into every category imaginable; there was next to no ‘throwing away’. It was great! Thank you, Wendy!!”

Kathy Brownlow

 

Back to School ~ Ask Wendy!

Summer is zipping by! Time to get your household ready for September and back to school.

Why not involve your children a little more in the process this year? 

It’s good to encourage independence and including your kids will help them to be more prepared and accountable.

Here are a few ideas to help you successfully navigate back to school, together.

School Supplies & New Stuff

The allure of new stuff is hard to resist. Go through their school items together and decide what is still useful. Make a list of items they already have. Just get the basics, instead of just buying all new items. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Most teachers will send home a list of what they will need for the school year. Avoid purchasing unnecessary or duplicate school supplies. They may not require a math set this year. 

Do a closet clean out and remove items your child has outgrown ~ Donate ~ make room for new items.  It’s hard to resist back to school fashion, but before you shop ~ Ask them what they would like to wear for the first day of school? They may have ideas of their own and it may already be in their closet. Perhaps all that’s required are a few finishing pieces, like new shoes or accessories to update the look. 

Packing lunches

School mornings can be hectic. Packing school lunches is a daunting task. Enlist the kids help.

If they help pack their lunch, they may be more likely to eat it. 

Consider working towards this job being their responsibility. Setting goals are good, but be realistic. 

Perhaps every Wednesday, they could make their own lunch or each night they could pack any non-refrigerated items themselves? 

Explain the school’s allergy policies. It’s important to understand how to read ingredients on food labels.

Use reusable containers. Have the kids match up storage containers lids and discard items that have lost their mates. Invest in a reusable water bottle, most schools have hydration stations for easy refills.

Ask your kids what they like in their lunches and create a grocery list together. 

Designate a place in your kitchen cupboard for lunch boxes and a spot in the freezer for ice packs.

It should be their job to clean out their lunch box and put everything back in its place after school. 

Yes, even a kindergartener can master this task.

Transportation 

How will your child be getting to school? 

Discuss transportation with your kids so they know what to expect and what time they will need to be ready to leave, to be on time. Aim to be 10 minutes early, since bus times are approximate.

If your child is biking to school, it’s a good idea to revisit helmets, locks, bike safety and signals.

Routines

The key to a stress-free 1st day, an early bedtime. 

Decide on a reasonable bed time goal for you both. 

Work on improving your sleep routines well ahead of the first day to be at your best come September. 

Enjoy this Special Day

Don’t wait until the last minute. Prep as much as you can ahead of time, so you can enjoy the excitement of the first day of school. Don’t stress too much about it. Breathe. Take a step back. Let your kids help. You may be pleasantly surprised by how capable they are. 

Don’t forget to take an annual back to school photo… It’s a great keepsake and so nice to look back on how much they’ve grown each year.

 

Making Memories

Ask us at NEAT SPACES about our easy and guilt free way to organize school and sport/hobby photos (I know they are all over the house where you would least expect to find them LOL)

We have set this up for many families, you don’t have to be a Martha Stewart to have your children’s memory books all together and organized. Trust me! There’s nothing better than seeing your children enjoying their class and individual photos with friends when they come over and laughing together. I have a budget and time friendly solution. Ask Wendy!

 

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Testimonial

It’s always nice to hear from satisfied clients.

Read what Jeff from Milton had to say about NEAT SPACES Professional Organizing Service.

WOW! What can I say, I am absolutely thrilled with the final outcome of the basement, it has brought tears to my eyes as the basement has been a huge sore spot with me for many years!  I always hated going down there to get something….Please thank all those involved with this project, it’s so greatly appreciated! Thank you once again for “clearing up my life”.

Cottage and RV Organization!

Sweet Summer. Time to enjoy the vacation time you’ve worked so hard for.

It’s great to get away from the city, daily routines and chores. Long summer days and warm weather inspire gatherings with family and friends. If you are lucky enough to have some holiday time at the cottage or RV, here’s a few tips and tricks to keep your space organized and ready for guests.

Take Stock

When you opened up your cottage or RV for the season, you likely tossed and replenished older items.

If not, take the time now to check the expiry dates on any allergy pills or other medications, bug spray and sunscreen and restock.

The Pantry. Give it a good clean out and rotate. Group together similar food items and discard any expired items. Then make a list of everything you need.

The List! 

Keep your list in the same place always ~ where it’s easy to add items or grab on your way out the door. I’m running into town, …what do we need?! The list is crucial, it will save you time and sanity.

(Also, Ice is ALWAYS on the list! Everything is better “ice cold” in the summer).

Consider designating a laundry basket or tote at home for items that need to make it back to the cottage or RV. Tuck it in the bottom of the linen or coat closet and add to it as items are gathered.

The beach towel you brought home by accident, the new mad libs, a fresh pack of pencil crayons, celery salt or a new wine opener. As you acquire any new useful items or repurpose gently used,  place them in the basket to grab and go on your next trip up. 

Must Haves

Stock up on the key “must have” toiletry items. 

Instead of transporting your necessities back and forth, keep a supply in both places – you’ll spend less time packing, require less room in your vehicle, and are less likely to leave something behind. 

Keep extras on hand, both for guests and to ensure you don’t run out when you are miles away from the nearest store. We’ve all had that moment of realization, where we discover we forgot to pack something important ~ toothbrushes, shampoo or hygiene products. 

Leave a note to invite guests to help themselves to anything they may need.

Cottage Rules & Safety 

Be prepared. Post a list of phone numbers for emergency and neighbouring cottages, the RV Park Office phone number or directions to the nearest hospital. 

Include useful information like codes, user instructions, instructions for locking up when you leave, what gets turned off and what is left on, and so on. The number for a reliable local plumber or RV service tech may come in handy.

Replenish the First Aid kit with vital items you may need in a pinch. 

Be sure to have everything from Band-aids to Benadryl on hand, just in case.

Access Safety Items – PFD’s, smoke detectors, batteries, flashlights and make sure they are in good working order. Be sure fire extinguishers are fully charged.

Essentials Caddy 

Consider a caddy for items to travel easily ~ especially if the dock is far from the cabin or RV. Create a caddy with a handle, that can hold important items. You don’t want to have to double back for…sunscreen, bug spray, beach reads & drinks!

Labels

Labeling is key to an organized experience. Cottages and RV’s generally have many users, sometimes without the owners being present, so labeling the inside of cupboards, light switches, pump switches, slide outs etc. keeps things in order and avoids mistakes of turning off equipment that should be left off.

Identify keys too and make sure key chains float.

Waste Disposal

Post instructions for waste disposal. 

Include important info like “the Dump” hours, directions or what days are garbage pick up. 

Rules may differ from municipalities or RV parks regarding recycling/ green bin, so offer up local strategies.

Leave plenty of garbage bags and cleaning products plus tips on where to store garbage to keep away from critters.

Local Information & a Guest Book

Create guest book for friends and family to sign, date and log the fun they had!

Keep important local information in the front of the book. 

Make the first entry yours. Include favourite local destinations, like places you love to visit on a rainy day or where/when to find the best farmer’s market.  Directions to that little out of the way bakery with homemade sausage rolls and cinnamon buns!

It’s also great for tracking information that may be important to you – weather, water levels or communicating jobs that may need attention and tasks completed. 

Ask guests to leave an entry prior to departure about what things they enjoyed, wildlife seen or local gems they found to explore. They may find a new little gem you never knew existed. This book will help guests feel like locals. Encourage the kids to make entries too. 

It’s a great way to preserve memories. After all, making memories is what it’s all about. 

Happy Summer ~ Enjoy your getaway wherever it may take you!

 

We strive to bring value in all that we do.

See what our customer’s are saying about Neat Spaces.

“Wendy and her crew are indispensable. Not only did they manage to sift through the mess that had become our office, she was able to organize us in a workable and realistic way that is easily maintained. I can’t recommend NEAT SPACES enough”.

~Allison Goertzen

Let this be the Summer you get organized.

We can help you get more out of your space, send an inquiry email to [email protected]

Do you have too much stuff?

Many clients come to us searching for ways to transform their cluttered lives.

They have become overwhelmed by possessions and are seeking strategies to simplify their life.

If your possessions are draining you or adding stress to your everyday, it’s time to access your systems and belongings.  Once you are ready to make some changes, here are some basic steps to help you with the process.  

 

Getting Started

Do you have too much stuff? 

It can be challenging to know where to start, but tackling one room at a time can help you to simplify your life and breathe easier.  If the item is no longer purposeful in your current lifestyle, let it go. Don’t be guilted into keeping an item because it was a gift. A gift does not come with a commitment to keep forever.

Whose memory is it? Are you keeping all the items from a family estate because they meant so much to the person who owned them? These items were their memories, and not yours. It is ok to let it go.

Taking a photo of an items allows you to recall that item for years to come, without physically holding on to it.

 

Gifting to others (but only if they are wanted by them). 

Selling

Should you decide to sell items of value, there are different ways to go about it: Auction, Kjijii – if you are comfortable with online selling or consignment.

Donate 

Any items that is in reusable condition can be donated.  Unless it is obsolete – for example tube tv’s, encyclopedias, large bulky computer monitors – obsolete electronics can be donated for e-waste value (see more info below).

It’s easy to donate to Salvation Army or other community centres that are in need.  Did you know that The Salavation Army is the second largest contributor to social services in Canada next to the Federal Government? Pretty awesome!

Non Donation Items

Now that you have determined the items that may be the most useful to others, what do you do about the rest?  Responsible waste management. Here are some examples of materials that do not go into the garbage and will need to be taken to your local waste management centre for proper disposal.

E-waste 

These are used electronics that no longer work. Due to the nature of the materials in these components, electronics should be disposed of properly. In Ontario, you can drop off items to an OES approved collection site. 

Visit  www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca and enter your postal code for the nearest location accepting drop offs.

Some municipalities offer curbside pick up, you can contact your municipality or view their website for more information. Their webpage may also have a calendar with limited collection events. You may find local fire stations also accept items.

Recycle 

Whenever possible use your Blue Bin to recycle. Thanks to free curbside pick up on your designated day, recycling couldn’t be easier. Create a designated recycle bin for paper recycling and another for containers. Be mindful of what goes where ~ bonus points for helping the planet!

Toxins/chemicals

Remember toxic items like batteries, light bulbs, toiletries, medications, paints, potions and lotions need special consideration. Hazardous waste can be harmful to our health and the environment and are not accepted in curbside garbage or recycling. Some municipalities offer special waste drop-off days throughout the year, so check their calendar for this information too.

Household Hazardous Waste Depot, allows the drop off of materials that are in their original containers and the contents are clearly marked on the outside. Please ensure all containers are closed securely prior to transport.

Metal

Community Recycling Centre’s accept scrap metal like pots and pans, baking sheets, rusty nails etc. ~ items that are made from metal, but are in unusable condition.

Finish Strong

Now that you’ve made this progress, don’t go back to your old habits.

Shift the way you think about shopping and over shopping. It’s too easy to just keep buying more stuff. 

Instead, try to make thoughtful purchases and cut back. Waste less, reuse more. Enjoy what you have. Create the physical environment you wish for and attain the life you desire.

 

Testimonial

Read what our recent clients had to say about NEAT SPACES. 

We’re proud of our amazing reviews! Check out what Nancy from Grimsby wrote:

We appreciate the speedy response from you and your team…we definitely could not have done it without all the support and assistance from you and your team, Steve Pritchard and his team, and Joanne, our real estate agent.

Much thanks,

Nancy, Linda & Ross

Estate Clear Out – Grimsby Ontario

Summer Living!

What’s better than some summer weather? A Summer Long Weekend!  

We’ve been waiting for this all winter so let’s be ready because it will be here before you know it!

A casual Sunday afternoon or evening party followed by a Monday morning off. 

Make some plans! It’s finally Summer. Friends, family, music and food.

 

Invites

Make your guest list. 

Keep it manageable, so you can relax and enjoy your day too.

Summer is a busy time for everyone, so send your invites out early. 

Request an RSVP so you have a solid idea of guest numbers. 

Have a plan B, for your outdoor party ~ just in case the weather isn’t agreeable. 

 

Menu

Gather your grocery list and party items early, as stores are likely to be madness Sunday or CLOSED Monday for the holiday. 

Summer Menu Ideas? Inspiration is everywhere.

Think Seasonal items like lemonade or iced tea.

Salads and skewers. Corn on the cob. Tomato/Basil anything!

A twist on an old favourite, like burgers and dogs with a ritzy topping station?! Pancetta and caramelized onions… Boom!

Add several make ahead menu items to lighten your load on the day of the gathering.

Cheese plates, veggie & fruit trays or a Charcuterie board.

If it is pot luck, these are easy items to designate, as they travel well.

Bite sized treats are best.

Create a bar area with all the accompaniments; ice, cups, straws, openers, lemons & limes.

Be sure to include a cooler filled with lots of ice and non-alcoholic beverages. 

Comfort.

Create Extra Seating and tables.

Make sure you have ample seating available for all your guests ~not just at the table, but in corners for gathering and socializing. Shady spots to escape the heat, if need be. Make use of patio umbrellas & side tables for putting down drinks. 

Include the kids.

Ask them to greet guests & socialize a little before they gather with the other kids at the party.

Involve them in a task. The music playlist. Setting up a table. Serving appetizers. Clearing plates. 

Fun and Games.

If it’s a backyard party ~ Have a few fun items out for the guests to explore, at their leisure. Have the Bocce set handy, keep the crokinole within reach or go all out with a badminton set up! A piñata!! ok…too far.

Keep Clean up Simple

Create an out of the way area with a large lined garbage pail & clear lined recycle bin.  Place an extra bag under the lining, so you don’t have to search for a new one when changing it out. Consider adding a large (green) brown bag for an environmentally friendly option, (especially if you decide on paper plates).

Have Fun!

The key to a successful event is to plan & prepare ahead of time but come party time, truly enjoy the day too. Visit & interact with your friends. Resist the urge to isolate yourself to the kitchen. Accept help graciously. No need to go it alone or fret over details. Delight in your long weekend too. 

Sweet, glorious Long Weekends. Coming soon to Canadian backyards everywhere.

The Immaculate OPEN HOUSE!

Planning a move can be a demanding time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

It’s a beacon, a goal and it IS achievable, although it does not happen overnight.

It’s a process & it requires A LOT of preparation. You got this.

Establish your team to achieve success …

Consider

  • a realtor
  • agent
  • home stager
  • professional organizer (this is the best one … 😊 )
  • movers
  • storage
  • friends & family
  • friends & family that own a truck!?

 

Identify your crew to a assist in a great open house.

Decide what expertise is in your budget, comfort zone and your future.

Now, The HOUSE.

No problem!? Plan ahead & establish your timeline.

Allowing yourself ample time will take the headache out of the process.

Once the proposed Open House date is on the calendar, work backwards.

Create a timeline and small goals along the way.

Declutter, Tidy.

The truth is, most home owners have accumulated a vast array of possessions over the years.

You are not alone, but now is the time to review these belongings and evaluate their value and if they will have a place in your new residence.
What will make the cut? This takes time and motivation to be thorough.
Label & # every storage container & create a master list.

This will ensure nothing gets left behind and make for easier distribution in your new home. It will also eliminate the question…”Did I remember to pack the…”

There is an upside to packing much of your belongings now, it will help lighten your load in the end come moving day.

Purge, Purge, Purge.

Establish your  immediate needs and pack the rest to go into storage. Call us, we can recommend the BEST facilities!

Are there family heirlooms to which you no longer have an attachment?

Would you like to offer these treasures to family online with photos and a pick-up timeline?

Clean up all storage areas- Anything off season- pack it up NOW.

Catch zones, give these hot spots attention and change the habit moving forward.

All counter tops, tables, shelves, linen closets, cabinets & visible horizontal space should be clear of clutter. Yes ~ a prospective buyer will look and probably open some drawers too …

Bathrooms, cleansed & sanitized.

Splurge for new hand towels and a pump soap & save their debut for game day!

Bedding, Laundered.

Closets, Orderly. You know these areas will be highly examined. Remove as many items as possible.

Keep only what is necessary for this season.

Front yard, two words… curb appeal.

Sheds/Garage are known for accumulating most of the rubbish. Give them the attention they deserve.

Attend to Repairs.  A squeaky door, an un-level patio stone, a leaky faucet ~ that thing you’ve been meaning to fix, address it now.

 

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Odours. Neutralize. Enough said.  😬

Don’t underestimate the internet’s role in getting the buyers to your house.

Times have changed and quality photography along with timely multimedia posts are key, your realtor should know this!

Designate time in your calendar for a Pre~Open House photo shoot.

 

A well kept, tidy household is what you are aspiring to present.

First impressions matter. This may be the key to attract the best prospects.

Be sure your home is displayed in it’s best light to boost your odds of selling quickly

and at the best-selling price.

Life can be messy and unpredictable. And while you can’t just altogether stop life from happening through this busy time, the last thing you need is for an unexpected challenge to happen just ahead of the scheduled Open House. Try to lighten your calendar’s social engagements & commitments this week so you have the time to give your house any extra attention required. Be prepared.

Open House Day.

Once your work is done, leave the house. Make plans & take your animals with you.

Resist the urge to stay in the neighbourhood.

Clear the driveway of cars, prospective buyers will see ample parking as a selling point.

Upon return, ask for honesty from your team.

Review any points brought up that could easily be addressed before your next showing.

Don’t take it personal. Refine your plan based on input & take action right away!

That serious, prospective buyer will want to come back soon for a second look!

It’s Tax Time!

Getting ready for tax season

It’s that time of year. Time to put together your personal tax paperwork.

Are all your receipts in a grocery bag or shoe box? That’s ok, it happens to the best of us. 

Now is the time to organize and transfer all the necessary items into a nice, neat package for your Tax preparer…even if that’s You!

Does tax time cause you unnecessary stress or make you anxious? 

Don’t worry, applying some simple but effective preparation strategies will boost your success.

Breathe. It just takes a little organizing and planning.

Block all sources of distraction away from your workspace.

Your cell phone, social networks, household chores ~ resist the urge to multitask. 

Devote your attention to comprehend the material thoroughly.

Start the process early.  

In Canada, tax filing for individual tax returns must be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency before April 30th. 

Don’t wait. Get started right away. It may not be fun, but it must be done.

The earlier you file the sooner you get the refund, so why wouldn’t you file early?

Set a personal target date two weeks ahead of the true deadline to avoid last minute stress.

You’ll be sitting pretty, let everyone else stress the scramble. 

How do you prepare for tax season? Which receipts should you keep?

If you wish you had a better understanding, you can learn more about Taxes on the Canada Revenue Agency website:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/dctrs/lrn-tx/menu-eng.html

Decide if you want to file yourself or have someone else prepare for you.

In any case, it is your responsibility to put the documents in order and provide current records.

Scanning your documents is a great way to keep things organized & to keep a back up. 

Be sure to label the digital documents wisely for easy retrieval.

Each title should be consistent & include both the tax year “2016” and the word “Tax”, plus an intelligent description.

Organization is key.

How will your return be done? Submit Manually or digitally?

Considerations ~ What personal life events have taken place in 2016?

Perhaps the arrival of a new child or departure of a child that’s left the nest. 

Maybe a change in your address or marital status? 

Consider any important information to communicate.

Here are some examples of items that may require attention.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/lf-vnts/menu-eng.html

 

Make a checklist of your income sources & tax receipts to submit. 

(for example: salary, investment income, employers, mutual funds, banks) 

Gather all records on your checklist.

Separate expense receipts using categories.

Prepare a list of key questions you want to remember to ask your tax professional.

How organized are your past returns, should you look at organizing them as well?

Refine the process.

You can always do better for next year. Assess your current systems. 

How can I do better and make this easier? Create a second revised checklist for next year.

At the end of this process ask yourself ~ 

What cost saving, time saving tax planning system do you wish to have in place now? 

Start preparing for next year’s tax year, today. 

A little organization each month throughout the year will make this job much easier come next tax season.

Lastly, splurge for a stylish new container to designate for all 2017 incoming tax receipts. Something perfect for collecting all those papers in order…bye, bye shoebox.

NEAT SPACES  has helped many people and small business’s to get their paperwork organized for tax time and then to set up a system so next year is easy peasy!

Disclaimer: I am not an accountant. This article explains the process of how I “organize” for my tax season. This is not professional tax advice, nor am I responsible for your taxes. Please contact a qualified accountant for questions related to preparation of your taxes.

Finish what you start and get your people to take part!

This week I found myself reading an article written by Erin Rooney Doland, an expert on organizing and being uncluttered.  For over 10 years she wrote online articles covering everything organizing and found these 9 things to be tried and true, no matter what your current ‘organized’ state is. 

I completely agree with each and every one of them.  Take a read and apply what you can to your life. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Buy what you actually need and use; don’t buy a lot of other stuff. Practice makes perfect here but worth the effort.
  2. Except for mortgage, education and car loans, try your best not to use credit unless it’s a real emergency. You will save a ton of money.
  3. Before you buy anything, know exactly where you’re going to store it. Otherwise, that object will always be out of place. Everything needs a home.
  4. Finish what you start: Laundry isn’t done until it’s put away. Dinner isn’t over until the dishwasher is loaded. And be sure to make sure those who live with you take part.
  5. Write tasks down. Or make a list in your phone, however it works for you.
  6. Do the tasks you’ve written down. (Of everything on this list, this is the hardest item for most people.) You can do it!
  7. You can’t win at organizing, so keep organizing systems as simple as possible. The simpler the better.
  8. Establish routines for all the chores in your life; the less you have to think about them, the more likely they are to get done. Maintenance is the key.
  9. Being uncluttered isn’t a destination; it’s merely clearing a path so you can do something more worthwhile with your time and energy. #liveyourbestlife

 

So thank you to Erin for this article and countless others related to being uncluttered.  It is an ongoing process, a lifestyle and a commitment. The hardest part can often be getting started.  Once you do, the rest will come in time and you will be so happy that you made the effort.

 

Wendy.