Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
Sunday, 31 July 2016
When most people think of cleaning, of decluttering, they think of the spring. People these days seem to be married to the idea of the "Spring Clean"- the annual clean-up job that we defer as long as possible, that takes place long after clutter has become entirely manageable, and that only takes place at all because the calendar deems it necessary. That's not the right way to look at decluttering. Living in a cluttered space isn't good for your physical or psychological well-being, so don't. Midsummer is as good a time to declutter as any, let 1-800-Ridofit help you do it. Here are four guiding principles to aid your summer declutter.
1. Space it out
A comprehensive decluttering (especially an overdue one) can seem intimidating at the outset. Rather than setting aside a whole day and getting disheartened when you're halfway through and still unable to see any discernible progress, set aside a couple of hours on a couple of separate days and small-chunk your work. Focus on one room, one category, or set one goal each day and work towards it over the course of the time you've set aside. You'll be better able to see your progress, and that'll help keep you consistently motivated.
2. Plan, plan, plan
Before you get started on these individual bits of work, plan them out. Sit down at the outset and map out what needs to get done, how you're going to get it done and when you're going to get it done. Again, stick to 1 objective per day to avoid getting overloaded and parcel out a couple of hours to get the work done. With your work small-chunked and a clear plan of action in front of you at all times, the work will go by faster than you can imagine.
3. Keep what's necessary, keep what brings you joy
In her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo introduces and explains a new, innovative, methodological approach to decluttering. She advocates for a ruthless approach when it comes to a comprehensive clean: disposing of anything that doesn't either "spark joy" or have a necessary purpose in day-to-day life (like a clothing iron or a set of cutlery). This may be a little extreme for your purposes, but it's a good starting point. How many superfluous non-joyful, non-necessary things do you have? How many should you have? These are good questions to ask yourself.
4. Start small, work your way up
A great objective for your first morning, afternoon, or evening of cleaning is to get rid of things that are useless. Old office supplies, un-paired socks, extra kitchenware, old movies- give your living space a once-over and get rid of the actual junk. If you're unsure about any particular item, ask yourself two simple questions: do I use this? Will I ever use this? If the honest answer to both is no, turf it. The soon-to-come real, in-depth cleaning and organizing will be a lot easier with all of that excess waste out of the way.
Set out a plan of attack, space out your work, trash what isn't joyful or necessary, and start small, with the actual trash, before you get to work on the heavy lifting, and you'll be in good shape for what is hopefully the first of many Summer Cleanings to come.
Monday, 18 July 2016
Making the decision to downsize isn't easy, nor should it be. When you've lived somewhere for a long time or grown accustomed to a certain way of life, it can be difficult to let go. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't let go, though. One of the hardest parts of aging, as I see it, is coming to terms with the fact that you can't always do the things that you used to be able to do. Admitting to yourself that it might be time to do things differently, deciding that it's time to downsize, isn't easy. If you're here, reading this article, you've already made that difficult decision, so now it's my job to make sure that the actual process of downsizing itself isn't nearly as difficult as that decision was- here are my top 5 tips.
1. Start with a list of essentials and sentimental items. You should have a firm idea of just what's going to stay and what's going to go well before you clean your first room or pack your first box. Leaving something behind is much tougher when that thing is staring you in the face than when you're sitting in the kitchen and making an impartial, objective list, so make one, and stick to it. Figure out what you're going to need and justify why you're going to need it (or if it's sentimental, why you can't leave it) and don't deviate from your list, hard as it may be.
2. Give. It's a lot easier to justify keeping something when the alternative is turning it into a couple of bucks or shipping it off to sit atop a junk-heap, so work a local charity or thrift shop into your downsizing plans. A prized sweater that's been in your collection for years could keep a homeless person warm, a personal collection of DVD's sold affordably could be the only entertainment a low-income household has access to, so don't hoard, don't hang on, give.
3. Get some help. Call a daughter, grandson, neighbour, or friend. Not only does and an extra set of hands make the work go by quicker and feel easier, but bringing someone else in to help with your move will help you be more effective when it comes to deciding what ought to stay and what ought to go. A helper will be sympathetic to your feelings, but they'll also be ruthless where you can't be, reminding you what you will and won't use and questioning which things are important. This is a job you don't have to do alone, so don't.
4. Remember: how much space do you have? It can be easy to pick arbitrarily and choose what's going to stay and what isn't based on what you want to keep or even what you think you need to keep, but you shouldn't make those decisions without keeping firmly in mind what you can manage to keep. Once you've picked out a new place, keep the floor plan for constant reference. Assess storage space and contextualize by actually comparing rooms in the new house with rooms in the old house rather than working off of dimensions alone. It doesn't matter how much you want to keep if what you can afford to keep doesn't match up.
5. Delete duplicates. Years of accumulating things with only intermittent, informal decluttering leads to excess; you have a few too many of a few things. Maybe it's several sets of wine glasses, maybe it's a half-dozen different bedroom sets, maybe it's more towels than you can count, but you have some things, probably more than some, that you don't need, and you don't have to be ashamed about it. When you're downsizing, though, it can't continue. You need all the space you can manage for the things that matter, so don't waste it on duplicates you don't need.
Downsizing doesn't have to be difficult. Use these tips as a starting point; be sentimental but intellectual, thoughtful but ruthless, considerate but efficient, and you'll be in good shape.
Monday, 27 June 2016
Serving up better burgers and a brighter future: green barbecuing tips for the summer
It's officially summer. The weather is hot; the Canada Day long weekend is a few days away and barbecue season is in full effect. There are probably lots of areas in your life where you're reminded- or at least aware- of the more environmentally conscious available to you, and probably barbecuing isn't one of them. It's a unique facet of summer life, though, and its potential impacts, positive and negative, shouldn't be underrated. Here are five ways you can make barbecuing a little greener this summer.
1. Make your sauces and seasonings. Instead of shelling out for expensive store-bought barbecue sauces and seasonings, make your own from home or locally-grown herbs and other ingredients. By buying or growing local, you'll cut down on packaging and preservatives and reduce the energy costs associated with storage and transport, not to mention that your food will taste fresher and will be healthier.
2. Shop local. Ok, to be fair this is a bit of a repetition/extension of the first tip, but it's important enough that it bears repeating. When shopping for raw ingredients for your barbecue, think local. Butchers, family-owned grocers, and farmers markets will have fresh meat and seasonal produce that will taste much better on your barbecue than packaged meats and week-old produce you'll find at the big chains. Again, you'll cut down on storage and transport energy costs, and your raw ingredients will be less likely to be covered in pesticides, full of antibiotics, or blanketed with other chemicals.
3. Consider switching to a natural gas or propane grill. This one isn't an option for everyone right now- barbecues are expensive, I know that- and asking someone to make the switch is a lot to ask. Natural gas and propane grills are much cleaner than charcoal briquettes from an emissions standpoint, especially those that use barbecue fluid on top of the charcoal. Barbecues have natural lifespans- they should be replaced every couple of seasons. Natural gas and propane grills can be cheaper than their dirtier counterparts and their comparative environmental benefits can't be understated, so next time you need to replace your grill, weigh the alternatives and think long and hard about going greener.
4. Avoid disposable plates and utensils. Barbecuing begets barbecues, and at a large event, disposable gear is the norm. It shouldn't be, though, given how much unnecessary waste it produces. If you can, use washable plastic or ceramic plates and cutlery from your kitchen. If you can't go due to numbers or logistics, pick out recycled or biodegradable disposables from the grocery store. The slightly increased monetary cost you may have to pay is more than outweighed by the environmental cost regular disposables incur.
5. Compost food scraps and charcoal. It's easy to leave out a big catch-all "garbage" bag at a barbecue for food scraps, plates, cans, bottles, and everything in-between, but you really shouldn't. In today's day and age, many municipalities offer a centralized composting program; if yours does, take advantage. If it doesn't, compost your biowaste. A compost bin is a relatively inexpensive purchase and yields excellent, free, fresh fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Just set out a separate bin or bag at the barbecue for compostables (and recyclables for that matter) and if you have any, add your used charcoal to it at the end.
Like you, I plan on firing up my grill this weekend and much more to come this summer. When you do, make the same green choices I do; make a difference.
Monday, 20 June 2016
Going green may seem daunting and for good reason. Organic produce, electric vehicles, and renewable energy are all traditionally more expensive than their less environmentally friendly counterparts. Consistently seeing green choices that are more expensive than the status quo colours one's perception. Contrary to popular belief, going green doesn't always require more time or money, though, and this is the case when it comes to lawn and garden care practices. Making your backyard greener can benefit your budget as much as it does the environment, and with that in mind, here are five "green" changes that will make your lawn and garden care more environmentally conscious this summer and won't break the bank.
If your current lawn mower is reaching the end of its lifespan, make the switch and try an electric or push mower. Both are consistently less expensive than their gas-guzzling counterparts; you won't have to spend money on fossil fuels to keep them powered, and they'll reduce the amount of emissions reaching our atmosphere.
Simultaneously, you can switch to organic pesticides and fertilizers for use on your lawn and in your garden. It is one area where you will pay a slight premium out of pocket. That increase in cost is nothing when compared to the huge ecological cost incurred by fat-soluble pesticides which build up as they move up the food chain, harming creatures at the top (like us) and by nitrogen-based fertilizers which cause algae blooms in our waterways, choking out fish and other organisms.
High ecological cost or not, for some of us, the increased cost of buying organic pesticides and fertilizer is too much to fit into a household budget. If that's the case with you, fear not, there are other ways you can help. You can leave your grass clippings on the lawn to replenish nutrients in the soil and serve as an alternative to or supplement for fertilizer. Compost yard and kitchen waste for use as fertilizer in your garden- organic waste was being used on crops for centuries before the invention of modern chemical alternatives, and it's every bit as effective now as it was then.
Leaving grass longer can also help you cut down on your need for pesticides. Longer grass stands a much better chance of out-competing weeds, reducing their access to valuable, water, and nutrients. That doesn't mean that you should let your lawn grow unkempt, that's not what I'm saying at all. Keeping it trim is fine, just raise your lawn mower's blades a little higher off of the ground and you'll reap monetary and environmental rewards.
I'd also recommend looking into purchasing a rain barrel. Rain barrels are relatively inexpensive, provide a free alternative to tap water, and have none of the energy costs incurred by the transport and treatment of that tap water.
Like I said, going green doesn't have to be time, energy, or cost-intensive. A few small changes can make your life easier, reduce strain on your budget, and diminish your environmental footprint in one fell swoop. Why not make those changes today?
Sunday, 29 May 2016
Summer is less than a few short weeks away, and when it gets here, it’ll bring with it opportunities to spend a lot of time outside. Whether you’re planning on hosting a garden or pool party, having a few friends or neighbours over and firing up the barbecue or just relaxing in a lawn chair sun tanning, you won’t be fully enjoying yourself if your backyard is a mess; you want your backyard to be in tip-top shape. The job can seem daunting at first, but all it takes is a little time, effort and knowledge. We know you can handle those first two on your own, and we have you covered for the third. Here’s 1-800-RIDOFIT’s guide to preparing your outdoor space for the summer.
Start with a comprehensive clean- get rid of all the junk. If you haven’t had a chance to get out into your backyard for some yard work yet this spring, you may need to deal with a lot of organic waste and some inorganic junk. Even if you haven’t, backyards seem to be waste-magnets - there’s likely some work to be done. Get the inorganics out of the way first- put away all toys, yard, and sports equipment, and get rid of any other random debris that’s accumulated over the winter or through regular use. Mow the lawn. Then, find yourself some yard waste bags (if you don’t know where to look, try your local home improvement store), a rake, a good pair of gloves, and some elbow grease, and put in the time.
Next, get to work on the garden. Your garden is the glue that holds your backyard together; if you want impressed guests or self-satisfaction, a great garden takes centre-stage. You should already have cleared out any obstructive yard waste- dead foliage, leaf-waste, old mulch, get rid of everything but the plants and the dirt, you want to work with a blank slate. Start with the trees and other perennials you already have. Pull up any dead or disheveled plants, get a good set of shears and take out any dead or diseased branches, and sculpt and re-locate anything that doesn’t already meet your standards. From there, sketch out or at least come up with a good mental image of what you want to do with your garden and then get out to your local garden centre and pick up what you need. A couple of perennials if you have space, a smattering of annuals and some mulch is a good place to start. Dig deep holes, water heavily and monitor closely.
Now that the major work is taken care of, it’s time to bring any peripheral pieces. Wash your deck, spot repair, and paint it if it’s taken any damage over the winter. If you have a pool, de-winterize it, thoroughly clean and refuel your barbecue, spruce up or replace your outdoor furniture, and purchase any additional aesthetic pieces you might need (citronella candles, hanging lamps, etc.). Get rid of your yard waste, build the garden of your dreams, and put the finishing touches on your yard, that’s it. That’s all you need to get your outdoor space looking spick and span just in time for summer.
Saturday, 30 April 2016
Whether you are looking to improve how you do your job, to grow your business, or just get life under control, we can always be refining our productivity and focusing on what we need to do to be successful.
Some of us use to-do lists. Others use apps, and some just wing it. You have to do and use what works for you so we thought we would compile a list of the top 10 articles about productivity and success from the past year based on the number of social shares.
Hopefully, you will find some interesting perspectives and helpful tips to improve your productivity, be more successful, or at least have a laugh at some of the lengths people will go to be productive.
So without further adieu, here is the list:
- Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day
- Nap desks are here and it's all going to be OK
- Complaining Is Terrible for You, According to Science
- Late sleepers are tired of being discriminated against. And science has their back.
- Study: Stubborn Kids Are More Likely to Be Successful
- A programmer wrote scripts to secretly automate a lot of his job — and email his wife and make a latte
- Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate
- Addicted to Distraction
- Zoning Out Can Make You More Productive
- Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3
Well, there you have it. We hope you find these articles interesting and helpful. If you have a favourite article that we missed or want to suggest additional resources then please share. We'd love to hear from you.