Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Get Organized

By: Vicki Alexopoulos

If you are lucky like me, you are able to access your computer in your bedroom, kitchen table or an otherwise cozy location, where you are free to stretch out and sprawl all over your own space. Unfortunately, like my sister who is working at the Bank of Montreal this summer, the majority of jobs in Toronto are office jobs, requiring long hours of sitting at a desk, using your computer, and spreading out as much as you can over a small desk.

If you are anything like my sister, you hate clutter. But what can you do with such a small space? Here are some tips to keep your desk free of junk:
  • Make sure you have a trash can near or under your desk, and become aware of the recycling bins close to your area. A very simple addition like this will help you throw out unwanted or used paper and other junk that may be clouding up your desk space
  • Prioritize. Take everything off your desk, and begin to put on the desk your most important items, i.e. computer, mouse, keyboard, clock, pencils and highlighters etc. Place these items in easy reach 
  • Store items that you do not commonly use in a file cabinet or in lower drawers, and if you are a labeler, go ahead and label so you know which drawer holds what
  • Invest in a paper organizerIkea has good, sturdy metal ones in cool colours like pink, white and silver, that add height to your desk while organizing loose papers 
  • If you have a drawer, kitchen cutlery plastic organizers can be your best friend. They're inexpensive, you can usually find them around your house, and they are perfect for storing loose items like pencils, erasers and useful junk of that sort
  • Make room for inspirational items, be it a picture frame, a small jar with flowers, or an interesting desk calender - not only does this lighten your mood, but it gives your newly organized desk a more personal feel
  • Once a week, go through all your junk that you have accumulated and throw out the stuff you know you will not need. Place the other items in a "maybe" pile, and after a month if you have not used anything in that pile, toss that junk out!
Feel free to comment any more tips on Desk Organization! I'd love to hear from you. Anyways, til next time Junk Lovers!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Update: Toronto Flood

Photo by Vanessa Alexopoulos
By Vicki Alexopoulos

Last week Toronto got hit with record breaking rainfalls and power outages  complete with destroyed basements, furniture and in some cases entire homes. Homeowners around Toronto were all asking the same questions; how do we prevent this from happening again, what do we do if it happens again, and who should we call to help us with all this junk? Luckily, I have some answers.

Preventative measures for future floods should be taken by Torontonians now that we have felt the wrath of Mother Nature. This includes:
  • Sealing cracks in windows, foundations and floors
  • Increasing greenery around your house to absorb rainwater
  • Regular checks and maintenance of weeping tile systems
  • Avoiding carpeting and storing valuables in the basement if possible
  • Make sure that the plumbing is in good condition
  • Research what types of flooding your insurance does and does not cover
If a flood was to reoccur in your home, these steps are helpful to keep in mind:
  • Call 311 (City staff will come and inspect the problem, available 24-hours a day)
  • Be safe while cleaning up your flooded area 
    • watch for sewage
    • be mindful of electical accidents
    • dress appropriately
    • dry and ventilate areas with de-humidifiers and/or fans
    • remove all drywall/insulation that has come into contact with sewage or water
On Saturday, the City provided a special collection to pick up the waste that came from the flooding. However, driving through Etobicoke earlier today, I could not help but notice piles of garbage, old mattresses, carpets, dressers and other ruined things on the curb, either because of a delay in getting these items outside or being unaware of this special garbage collection. Not to mention the Green Bin collection was not part of this collection service, leaving people with spoiled food unfortunately from their warmed up freezers/fridges.

Thankfully, you know who to call for efficient and effective Junk Removal services. Feel free to call us up (1800-RID-OF-IT) and we will gladly talk with you about your options and our services.

Til next time, Junk Lovers, and stay dry!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Thrift Shopping: Turning "Trash" into "Treasure"

By Vicki Alexopoulos

Toronto is a booming mecca of fashion and style, ranging from small, high-end boutique shops to big name brands fighting to secure shops all across the city. On our streets, personal style is diverse, and paints our city like moving street art. One characteristic of many of these Torontonian fashionistas is their ability to thrift shop; i.e., look between the boutiques and name brand stores, and find the second hand stores/venders that normally do not get a second glance. Not only do thrift shoppers find the best deals on trendy items, but they add personality and depth to their wardrobes in innovative and exciting ways.

Perhaps made famous in the past few months from the music duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in their single "Thrift Shop", thrift shopping has become more popular due to its incorporation into mainstream fashion society. For all you first-time thrift shoppers who cringe at the idea, let me be clear: it can be scary, overwhelming and time consuming, but it is so worth it, and there's so much more than mere junk in the offing. Finding statement necklaces that normally would break the bank, making jean shorts out of 5 dollar high-wasted jeans, snagging a chic wide brimmed hat, or even finding a neon orange desk perfect for that empty space in your front hallway, thrift shops (and yes, this includes garage sales!) are a shopacholic-with-a-tight-budget's dream.

Here are some important tips for first-time thrift shoppers:

1. Be open to fixer-uppers. These pieces have been worn before, and that may mean they need a little TLC. It's not junk! Careful cleaning, polishing and stitching may be the bridge between you and a perfectly original new piece!
2. Be prepared to spend some time in the store. Thrift shopping usually requires shifting through lots of stuff, so bring a friend to catch up with and have fun.
3. Look for insect damage (holes), odor, stains, loose threads or tears, and bring up any concerns to the store clerks or seller.
4. Know your budget, and the store. Some "vintage" shops will charge a small fortune for their items because they are "unique", and could be considered a "collectible". On the other hand, thrift shops and garage sales differ because their items have not come from any notable eras/brands/owners etc.
5. Research where to shop. Some may mix a lot of garbage in with the gems, but there are many great stores in Toronto just waiting to be found!

Not only does thrift shopping save you money, but it recycles clothing that would have normally filled garbage sites, or laid dusty in the depths of someone else's basement. At the end of the day, you have done your own "dirty" work, and turned someone else's trash into your new treasure!

Enjoy, Junk Lovers!