Top 10 Tips on Decluttering Your Home

When you walk into your home, do you see more clutter than you see flooring and countertops? This is a problem a lot of people deal with, so you’re certainly not alone. The problem is, clutter can sneak up on you and soon take over your home without you even realizing it. A pile of clothes here, some coloring books there, and you’ve got a recipe for a messy home! So what can you do to get rid of this clutter and take back your home? Rather then shoving everything into any open drawer you can find, make a plan.

declutter closet

1. Keep, Toss, Donate

Every good cleanup starts with make three piles: keep, toss, or donate. Before getting started, mentally prepare yourself for getting rid of things you haven’t touched in a while. For example, you might want to get rid of that lamp that’s been sitting in the corner of your living room for a year because it doesn’t work.

2. Give Up Emotional Attachments

If you have useless junk lying around your home just because it belonged to a family member or was special a long time ago, give it up. It can still be a special memory, but too many of these items lying around can crowd your house.

3. Go Room-by-Room

Does this sound like too big of a task to do? It might take a while, but if you go room-by-room, it’s going to be a lot less stressful. Start with any room that you feel needs the most help, such as the living room or kitchen, which are normally the first places people go when they visit. If you divide the work between these then you won’t get as overwhelmed and will be much more likely to make it through!

4. Get Rid of Junk Drawers

It’s important to have a spot for things like scissors and paper clips, but there shouldn’t be “junk drawers” all around your home. Clear these out and think about everything that goes in them from this point on to help avoid junk from building up.

5. Create Organized Areas

Once you have your donation bins sent away and your trash out to the curb, it’ll be time to get your space organized. Here are some tips for cleaning up the clutter that you want to have stick around:

  • Paperwork:

    Scan and electronically file as many papers as you can. This might take a while, but it will be well worth it with the amount of space you save. For the things that you can’t file, either invest in a filing cabinet or place a filing system into an empty cabinet drawer that’s already in your house. The last thing you should have is a bunch of papers sitting on top of each other gathering dust and getting lost. You’ll thank yourself down the road if you take the time to organize these the right way.

  • Small Items:

    When it comes to things like toys, toiletries, pens, paper, etc., it’s beneficial to have small storage areas set up around your home. For example, in a child’s room you could have cubby holders with fabric baskets in them to hold things like toys, socks, games, and other small items. In your living room you could have a wood basket that holds animal toys or even magazines, which is easy to access but still hidden away on a shelf. You could also invest in glass bins for things like cotton swabs, makeup applicators, and other toiletry items in the bathroom.

  • Big Items:

    If you have larger things that need somewhere to go, consider using storage solutions that are hidden underneath regular pieces of furniture. For example, there are many padded benches that you can use for extra seating space, but that open up so they can be used for storage as well. There are also ottomans, chairs, and poufs that open up for storage as well, making it easy to clean up clutter in just a few seconds.

6. Give Everything a “Home”

When it comes to keeping anything in your home, it should have an established “place to go” from the very start. If the area in which it goes is starting to get full (think of a packed full junk drawer in the kitchen), then go through that and toss, donate, or keep what is necessary. This is a great way to eliminate clutter all throughout the year rather than having to deal with it all at the same time.

7. Keep Storage Organized

Everyone needs storage for things like holiday decorations or kids projects, but this shouldn’t mean tossing everything into one bin and shoving it in the back of a closet. Instead, try getting clear storage bins that are each labeled for what they are to be used for. If you stack these on a shelf in the garage, it will be easy to access them and it’ll reduce the amount of “stuff” you have lying around the house. Most bins can be found on sale all throughout the year, so they’re an affordable way to get organized no matter how much stuff you have.

8. Get Your Family on Board

If you have a family that is also guilty of allowing clutter to build up, then talk to them about changing how things work. Show kids which bins their toys go into, show your spouse where the nail clippers go, and give everyone a tour of how storage works. When everyone makes an effort together, it will be much easier to keep things looking great.

9. Design Your Home

If you take pride in the way that your home looks, then you’re much more likely to keep the clutter away then let it take over. So, once you have things picked up and looking good, take time to decorate! Put up pictures, clean things up, and style the room with pieces of furniture. Even in your closet you should clean things up by folding anything in a drawer, putting shoes into individual containers (or sitting them next to each other), and hanging clothing up nicely. You will have a great sense of pride once everything is finished, and you’ll be much more likely to keep things cleaned up as well.

10. Commit

Commit to keeping your home clutter-free so you know you want to stick with it. If you always think of it as an “I’ll do it later” type of thing, then your home will be packed full of things you don’t want or need within the next few months. It’s easy to stay dedicated if you make it a priority every day.

12 Must-Have Outdoor Survival Essentials

Going out into the wilderness is something you should always take seriously by preparing ahead of time. For many people this includes doing research on the weather and area they’ll be exploring, but it should also mean gathering supplies needed for survival. Are you familiar with what the most important supplies are? If you want to avoid over-packing and bring only what is necessary, then read the following list. It will give you an idea of what survival essentials you’ll need in addition to your everyday basics.

1. Compass

If you happen to get lost and your GPS doesn’t work, a compass is one of the best tools to have. It will tell you which direction you’re heading so you won’t have to second guess yourself every step of the way. In addition to a compass you may want to have a map with you, especially if you’re in a dense woodland area or one that you’re not very familiar with.

Tip: If you have never used a compass before, take some time to learn so you’re not confused when you need it the most.

2. First Aid Kit

Even if you’re careful with each step that is taken, bumps and falls happen. Fortunately first aid kits can help with most accidents, as they include items such as: sunscreen, needle and thread, bandages, antibacterial ointment, gauze, and more. Compare different first aid kits before making your final choice to determine which offers the most for the amount of space you have available.

first aid kit

3. Knife

There are tons of things you can do with a knife, so it’s important to make sure it’s with you at all times. From cutting rope so you can build a trap to cutting supplies to build a shelter, it can come in handy with all aspects of your journey. There are made different types of knives, but those with fixed blades are said to be the best because they are more durable. However, a folding blade will be just fine if you take great care to make sure it doesn’t break.

4. Beanie

Keep a beanie with you even with the weather outside seems like it’s fairly nice. If it does happen to get cold, it will keep your body much warmer than it would be without it.

5. Fire Starter

Starting a fire from scratch can be nearly impossible, even for skilled travelers. By having a lighter, matches, or a fire starter with you, it’ll be that much easier to start a fire to keep you safe and warm.

6. Water

The body may be able to survive for a while without food, but it can’t survive for nearly as long without water. A re-usable water bottle will come in handy, but a water purification tool should also be brought along in case you run out. This will get rid of potentially harmful contaminants in the water you find so you can keep hydrated.

7. Energy Bars

Although you may be able to survive for a while without food, it’s still helpful to have energy bars with you that will help keep you going. The best choices are small bars that are packed with fat, vitamins, calories, and nutrients. These should also have electrolytes to help replenish your body so you can keep going until you get home. Of course it might be tempting to bring a cooler of food with you, but in an emergency, you’ll want small bars that don’t weigh much in your backpack.

8. Space Blanket

Traditional blankets are not very practical to take outdoors because of their weight and size. Space blankets are a great alternative because they are made out of PET plastic, which is lightweight and compact. When used properly, it can reflect heat so that it’s useful in both hot and cold weather conditions. It can even be used as a shelter by tying it up to trees and having it reflect the sun. If you’re not familiar with how to use one of these blankets, then it’s recommended to do some research ahead of time by watching videos online.

9. Rope

If you need to build something, make a splint, create a fishing line, or repair your tent, then you’ll need rope. 550 parachute cord in particular is one of the most highly recommended ropes for outdoor travelers, as it’s strong, lengthens when wet, and is very lightweight. It won’t take up as much space as a traditional rope, which is important with backpacking any length of time.

10. Whistle

It can be easy to get lost out in the wilderness, even when you’re with a group of people. By having something to signal with, it can be easier to keep in contact if something like this happens. A cell phone would be nice, but it may not always have reception, which is why you’ll need a whistle. Keep this around your neck so you can signal friends or even strangers that you need help.

11. Headlamp

Lighting is crucial to have when it’s dark or bad weather, but typical flashlights are difficult to hold while you’re trying to do something else. Headlamps solve this problem, as they have lights built right into the front of them. This gives you hands-free lighting so you can use both of your hands to take care of repairs or other projects you need to do.

12. Extra Clothes

One pair of extra clothes, including socks and gloves, is a necessity nobody should skip. Although the clothing will take up space, it could be necessary if your clothing were to get ruined or wet. By having an extra pair of everything you’ll be able to always have something comfortable to wear so you’re never stuck in soaking wet socks or shirts that are hanging by the thread.

Surviving the Outdoors

Whether going biking, hiking, camping, or backpacking across the country, it’s crucial to have survival items with you at all times. You never know what’s going to happen, so it’s best to be safe and prepared for the unknown. One of those items you pack could very well save your life, making them well worth picking up. Whether you’re a beginner or have gone on many expeditions before, take this list into account so you have peace of mind knowing you’re safer on your next outing.

Health Benefits of Meditation

Is meditation really good for you, or does it just give you a few minutes to sit in silence without anyone bothering you? The truth is, it’s both! Due to the fact that meditation has been studied so much more in recent years, it’s something that gives you that special time for yourself while benefiting your health in numerous ways.

If this is something you’re interested in practicing for the first time or on a more regular basis, then it’s important to become familiar with the heath benefits that you can anticipate.

Some of the top benefits of doing meditation include:

1. Reduces Addictive Behavior

Many studies have shown that meditating on a regular basis can help reduce addictive behavior, like drinking alcohol or doing drugs. This doesn’t mean that it’s a cure for either of these things, but it can help keep addictive tendencies behind because of the mental clarity provides.

2. Reduce Depression

Depression is more common today than ever before and meditation is something that may help with it. This is due to the fact that it encourages mindfulness while reducing stress and anxiety. Overall this can contribute to fewer symptoms of depression, which anyone can appreciate if they want to kick sadness or feeling down.

3. Improved Anxiety

Everyone experiences anxiety but some have it worse than others. This is why so many doctors recommend meditation, as it helps to clear the mind and strengthen emotional intelligence. In addition to this, it can help improve cognitive skills so small things don’t cause as much anxiety as they normally would.

4. Lower Blood Pressure

When you meditate you give the entire body a chance to decompress and relax. This releases a compound in your body called nitric oxide, which helps lower blood pressure. This has actually contributed to many meditators being able to stop taking blood pressure medications, although it’s important to speak with your doctor before doing this.

5. Better Cognitive Functions

Many people notice that as they get older their mental functions start to slow down. Meditation may be able to help offset this, as studies of people who do it on a regular basis have shown that they have thicker prefrontal cortexes. This is the part of the brain that’s responsible for cognitive ability, so it being stronger can mean preventing mental slow down.

6. Increases Well-Being

One of the most recent studies on meditation has found that it can enhance signalling on the left side of the brain, which contributes to more positive emotions. This can give you a better sense of self and more positivity on a daily basis, which is crucial for good health.

7. Pain Relief

The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre experimented with 15 volunteers to see if meditation helped them experience less pain. It found that those who had only an hour of meditation training showed a 40% reduction in the intensity of pain. This is especially astounding when you consider the fact that this is as powerful as drugs, making it something that can help individuals who suffer from chronic pain.

8. Encourages Healthier Habits

The majority of people who meditate say that they feel healthier when they do it, which encourages them to eat healthier on a daily basis. This has resulted in many meditators quitting smoking, but it also helps with weight loss because of making better food choices. This is not a benefit that is guaranteed, but it is something that the majority of people notice once they start doing meditation on a regular basis.

9. ADHD Management

ADHD sufferers looking for an alternative to medications may find that meditation helps considerably. This is because it helps reduce hyperactivity in the brain and improves focus even when distractions are present.

10. Reduced Risk of Stroke

A 5-year study released in 2012 found that participants who meditated in a class on a regular basis saw a 48% reduction in risk of stroke and heart disease. This is mainly due to the fact that meditating helps to lower blood pressure and minimize the effects of stress, which both can contribute to these health problems.

Meditation isn’t something you have to do for an hour a day to enjoy the benefits listed above. In fact, studies have found that just 20 minutes per day can make a huge impact with your well-being and your health. If you’re open-minded and willing to see what practicing this can do for you, then go for it! However, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not always easy, but the commitment to staying with it can pay off in many different ways in all aspects of your life.

To get started, it’s really helpful to start with guided meditation, where you are walked through step by step on what to do – such as focusing on your breath. Once you get the hang of it, you can meditate on your own.

Youtube is a great place to get free guided meditations. Here’s an example:

The Benefits of a Personal Trainer

When people do a search on the Internet such as “personal trainer Toronto” (or whatever location), they typically are looking for someone to help them lose weight or get into shape.

However, some people who are working to get fit dismiss the idea of a professional trainer as nothing more than an unnecessary expense. This idea honestly couldn’t be further from the truth.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to boost your fitness levels or lose a bit of weight, entering into personal training could potentially be one of the best decisions that you have ever made.

Let’s take a little look at why shall we?

Perhaps the biggest benefit (and one that many people overlook!) is that a personal fitness trainer isn’t only there to get you fit. They are there to help you reach your goals. You see, the biggest reason as to why people fail to lose weight and get fit isn’t because they don’t know what they are doing, it is because they lose motivation.

This is probably one of the worst things you can do, as without motivation you will not want to do anything. The goal of personal training will be to keep you ‘peppy’ and constantly wanting to reach your goals. In addition to that, since you are shelling out money for a personal trainer quite often, you are more motivated to actually achieve what you set out for (money is always the biggest motivator after all isn’t it?).

The next benefit I wish to highlight is that a trainer can actually help you get to where you want to be. They will know exactly what exercises you need to do if you want to lose weight, and what exercises to do if you want to build muscle up.

Sure, there is a plethora of information available out there in Internet land which will tell you what to do, but to be quite honest, none of that information is going to be as useful as being told it first-hand.

In addition to this, what most people do not realize is that there is no ‘standard’ exercise or a ‘standard’ diet. Absolutely everybody is different, and a fitness trainer will know this. They will work with you to do exactly what is right for your body.

If you browse about the internet you will see that there are a lot of guides out there, but not all of them are going to work for you personally. Wouldn’t you like to actually save time and make sure you lose weight or build up muscle the first time you try? If so, the only way in which that is going to happen is if you enter personal training.

As you can see, hiring a professional has a number of different benefits. To get them all though, I suggest that you spend a decent amount of time tracking down the fitness trainer that is right for you. There are many out there, but only a select few that are going to help you meet your goals.

Make sure that he or she has the right certification, education and experience. But most importantly, you need to make sure that there is chemistry or a connection between you and the trainer, otherwise the training may not work.

There is a plethora of information on the Internet, however, one good website to check out is http://www.firststepsfitness.ca.

personal trainer Toronto

The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Trainer

personal trainerIf you’re looking to lose weight, feel great and get healthy, a certified personal trainer is definitely the key to reaching your fitness accomplishments, especially if you need motivation and accountability.

Making such a lifestyle change is not an easy feat. This is the reason why the health and fitness industry is so lucrative. Some product offerings promise the magic pill or the secret diet or the trendy exercise, and most of us fall for these gimmicks.

If you want to get to your ideal weight physical exercise and proper nutrition are what’s important. A personal fitness trainer can help you achieve this through a personalized workout plan that works for you.

When you’re looking to get personal training you want to make sure that the trainer is certified and qualified. The following video is great example of what not to look for in a trainer:

As you can see in the above video, to be qualified, a fitness professional can’t just wake up one day and decide to prescribe instruction in exercise. One needs proper education and experience.

When you’re working with a trainer who has the proper credentials, she can take your fitness to the next level and will allow you to lose weight at a more efficient way than if you were to be working out on your own.