Organize Your Gardening and Enjoy the Process

Finding the time and energy to garden has been a challenge for me in the past few years. Our property seems to be getting bigger or am I getting older? Regardless of the reason, I’m not willing to give up the great exercise and satisfaction I get from planting my garden, so I need to get more organized to get it done. I also have to be satisfied with an hour or two here and there instead of a full day of gardening. After I planted my garden last year, I took pictures of the planters and the gardens and made a list of the plants I bought at the local nurseries. Next year, it will be much easier to start the process!

Our garden shed was built on top of an old outhouse and frankly it could withstand a hurricane. It has a waist high counter and wooden shelving. We used leftover linoleum flooring from the kitchen for the floor. Mice and other critters frequently visit the shed in the winter, so I need to be mindful of how I store items.

My garden shed is just the right size to hold the following:

  • Gardening gloves and ball caps in a closed plastic container
  • Small gardening tools-store in plastic carrier or basket with a handle
  • Gardening planters
  • Folding lawn furniture stored under the counter
  • Gazing ball and stone statues for the garden
  • Rod iron poles for hanging baskets, plant and tomato stakes, and long tools (small shovel, rake, edger)-all stored in 5 gallon plastic bucket with metal part up
  • Items to decorate my screened-in porch
  • Leftover flower seeds and bulbs in a metal container
  • Leftover potting soil in 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid

In the spring:

  • Pull everything out of the shed and sweep it out (mice and chipmunks have made their winter homes in my shed
  • Take plants out of the garden that died over the winter
  • Throw out older seeds and bulbs that didn’t make the winter
  • Divide perennial plants if too big and share with your neighbors or replant in other parts of your garden to save money
  • Move other plants around to fill in where plants died or didn’t come up
  • Use a planting scooter or seat to sit on for all weeding and planting to save your back
  • Use 5 gallon plastic bucket with handle to pull out weeds
  • Using pictures from last year, I bought plants and vegetables and planted the planters and the gardens

In the fall after the first killing frost:

  • Buy perennials on sale and fill in where plants didn’t live
  • Don’t forget to call 811 before you dig too deep to prevent damage to electric lines and natural gas pipelines
  • Wash out the planters and store in shed
  • Store leftover seeds and bulbs in metal containers to deter critters
  • Donate any ceramic planters or recycle plastic containers you didn’t use

After plants have been hit by frost, I like to fill in with fall décor so it doesn’t look so empty. I use some of the more colorful pots I emptied and place them upside down to hold mums. I fill in with straw bales, pumpkins, cornstalks and gourds. Organize your gardening so it’s a pleasure, not a chore.

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5 Steps to Organizing Your Family’s Summer Calendar

5 5 Steps To Organizing Your Family’s Summer Calendar

1. Print a three month calendar for June, July & August. Click this link to see if this one might work for you: http://www.crayonfreckles.com/2017/05/25-summer-activities-and-free-printable.html

2. Add holidays, birthdays, party invitations and vacation days. You can attach any information about these events to the back of the calendar.

3. Add any camps your children are signed up for.

4. Cherish the downtime. The lazy days of summer are important so be sure to cherish the downtime! Leave them blank for spontaneous fun.

5. However, if you feel incline you can create a loose timeline for the downtime. For instance:

9:00am wake- eat breakfast, wash-up, make your bed
▪ Noon- have lunch, swim, play
▪ 3:00pm- snack, read, rest
▪ 5:00pm- help with dinner prep
▪ 7:00pm- family time

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Gifts Received at Conference

The NAPO National Conference was held in Pittsburgh, PA this year, and I was fortunate enough to attend. While there, I couldn’t help but reflect on how grateful I was to have the opportunity to travel with my colleagues and learn from some of the best! My motto is to always have an ‘attitude of gratitude,’ and below are a few of my ‘takeaway’ gifts.

The first gift I received was back in December 2016 at our NAPO-GPC holiday party when I was chosen as the recipient of the NAPO-GPC scholarship. This scholarship enables one qualifying member to attend the conference. Most don’t realize that although I had sent in payment, early on, to reserve my spot, I had been debating on pulling out of going due to other family commitments. Upon the advice of my friend and colleague, she suggested that I wait until after our holiday gathering to make my decision. I am so grateful that I took her advice!

The second gift I received was the undisputed educational opportunity to grow personally and professionally. The keynote speaker was Jones Loflin, and he presented “How To Blossom Even In Times Of Change.” He spoke about the need to cultivate, prune, and accept change. He also spoke to us about the ability to harvest even in times of change. I walked away from his address with a newfound appreciation for growth, and I am looking forward to implementing his examples and expertise. I had the opportunity to choose from many ‘breakout sessions’ and a few of my favorites were the TED Talk Discussion – ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator’ facilitated by our very own Debbie Lilliard, ‘How to Get and Keep Media Attention’ by Paula Rizzo and Terri Trespicio (the dynamic duo), ‘Busily Unproductive’ by Zachary Sexton, and ‘9 Technology Tools to Skyrocket Productivity’ by Amy Payne and Brooks Duncan. Honestly, it was not an easy decision as there were well over 45 sessions to choose from.

Lastly, and most importantly, the greatest gift I received was the ever-present ‘collaboration over competition‘. I have always felt this with my local GPC chapter, but to experience this with well over 600 attendees was astounding. Our NAPO National motto has always been “together we are better,” and to be amongst my peers and feel their sincere desire to see me grow professionally and personally is the greatest gift by far.

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Shed Clutter Weight for the Summer

Clutter WeightLooking for a way to shed a few pounds this summer? If you start with your home, you will gain more than weight loss benefits. Consider the excess weight that is in your home in the form of clutter. Clutter not only adds pounds, but drains your finances and takes a toll on you and your family –  physically, mentally and emotionally.

Take a guess at the approximate weight of these items (answers below):

  1.  A 12” stack of paper:   15 pounds, 20 pounds, 30 pounds
  2.  A 13 gallon garbage bag of clothing:  8 pounds, 15 pounds, 20 pounds
  3.  A 12” stack of books:  10 pounds, 17 pounds, 30 pounds

By taking time to de-clutter your home this summer, you will enjoy these benefits.

Physical

  • Easier to find and maintain what you have
  • Easier to clean your home
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased energy
  • Feel physically lighter

Mental & Emotional

  • Less stress
  • Increased enthusiasm
  • Enhanced mood
  • Increased momentum and direction in pursuit of goals
  • Improved personal relationships

Financial

  • Save money by being able to find what you have
  • Reduced financial loss from overspending
  • Decrease late fee payments
  • Increased productivity
  • More time – time is money

Shed some weight in your home this summer and you might find that the space you create promotes healthy changes in other areas of your life.

Answers to above: 1) 30 pounds    2) 15 pounds   3) 17 pounds.

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Planning on Having an Accident?

Of course not, but…

You’re driving to the grocery store, a trip you’ve made a thousand times. Out of nowhere comes a car running the red light at the intersection you’re crossing – heading straight toward you! Crash!! You’re hurt, stunned and quite possibly in shock.

The police and ambulance arrive. First they ask questions about the accident, most of which you can answer. Then they ask about medications you take, allergies and an emergency contact’s phone number. Your mind goes blank. You are taken to the hospital but you’re unable to give the ER doctors any information that could help them treat you.

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime to anyone, especially as we’re getting into the busy travel season. What can you do?

Create an Emergency Card containing your critical information to keep with you at all times. Organize it in an easy-to-read format. My Emergency Card is set up in a multi-column format. I recommend it be typed using a plain font and printed on heavy paper or card stock.

However you organize your Emergency Card, start with Emergency Info For. Under that, put your full name and address.

Suggested column headings are:

  1. Emergency Contact with full name, address and phone number
  2. Date of birth
  3. Meds
  4. Vitamins
  5. Allergies
  6. Major illnesses/operations
  7. Primary doctor
  8. Hospital
  9. Pharmacy
  10. Blood type (if you don’t know, find out)

For 3-6, make a list. For 7-9, include full name, phone number and address.

Add any information you think is important.

Make the card small enough to keep in your wallet with your health insurance ID card, driver’s license and car registration. If you plan to be an organ donor, be sure it’s noted on your driver’s license or have a signed Organ Donor Card. Don’t keep the information in your phone if your phone is locked because it cannot be accessed. However, if your phone is unlocked, put the info in Contacts labeled ICE (in case of emergency). First-responders should know to go to your wallet or phone for this information.

Having an Emergency Card could be a life-saver.

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Strut Your House

Home for SaleSelling your home? Put your best foot forward from the very start!

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” are words of advice often attributed to Will Rogers. If you are planning to put your house on the market, now is the time to take heed.

The Facts

Putting in the time and money before listing a house pays off – literally. The more time your home spends on the market, the more it will cost YOU. Alternatively, the quicker the sale, the more money you walk away with. See some startling statistics on the benefits of home staging on realestateagentu.com.

Starting off on the right foot is worth more than you may have thought. Sure, you may be able to sell your home “as-is”, but if you are hoping to get the highest value, putting in the extra effort prior to listing it is a must.

What can you do to quickly prepare your home for sale? Here are three things to tackle.

1.     De-clutter and Clean

De-cluttering and cleaning are two different things and they BOTH need to be done. Barbara Ballinger, author of several books on real estate, architecture and remodeling, warns “Many buyers equate clutter with messiness and disrepair, and they may quickly move on to the next listing.” If you want folks to know that your home is not going to be a headache or money pit for its next owners, make it shine! I know that you use your toothbrush every day but your buyers don’t want to see it. And sure, the dryer lint gets all over the top of the dryer. You have kids – of course there is stuff around! But trust me: Clear out the clutter, put things away, store extra stuff and clean (or hire house cleaners) before the first showing.

2.     Downsize and Organize

Step it up a notch! Do you want to really make an impression that will put your home ahead of the one down the street? Downsize and organize. Your stuff may be out of sight at first glance. But the minute a closet is opened (and closets will be opened), buyers might be concerned about a lack storage space. According to Realtor.com, “Even if your house is clean, having things crammed in every nook is a visual turnoff.” This is the time to pack up out-of-season items and extra decor for a while. Don’t overlook the furniture in this process. The more floor space that can be shown, the larger your home will look and feel.

3.     Odors and Fragrances: Yes or No?

How your house smells makes a visceral impression on home buyers. If they walk in and it smells like Mom’s apple pie, it can help them feel “at home” and make the house more attractive. If they smell cat, dog or last night’s fried chicken, it may be a turn-off. Many people are sensitive to odors. Even scents that you love might turn them off. While your home is on the market, avoid frying food, wearing strong perfume or lotion, and using strong-smelling cooking spices. Since you may be “noseblind” to the regular smells in your home, ask a friend, neighbor or your real estate agent to give you honest feedback about any odors they smell when they enter. A few drops of cinnamon, lavender or citrus essential oil can help.

Show buyers that your home is worth the value of your asking price and they will clamor to be the next owners!

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