January Monthly Newsletter
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Happy New Year! With this great New Year upon us I am sure we all have our expectations of new changes in our lives to help us make positive changes in our lives. Hopefully for some of you it’s to live a new and organized life! Soon our new webpage will be up and running to have all of our Newsletters available to you and helpful tips on cleaning and organization! This new webpage will bring out our new logo, changes in the company and so much more!
Charity of the Month
This January we will be donating our 5% of sales to Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast counties. They provide funding for soup kitchens, back pack programs for kids, elderly and nursing mothers programs and so much more. To find out more or how to donate your unused food, please visit www.shfblv.org.
Organization Idea of the Month
The yearend “Paper Pile-Up” that happens on every desk. Is your address book buffed? Turn to files and paperwork. For most of us, a bit of preparation in January will save hours of April agony. First, look backward: As you file this month's phone bill, scoop up and sort last year's receipts. Clump them together with a big paperclip, and if you're really motivated, place them in a brand-new file folder, marked 2011 Receipts. Come tax time, you'll be grateful for this bit of sorting.
Look forward: is this the year you'll use computer tax preparation software? Purchase the advance editions now, send in the cards, and you'll spare yourself a frantic April 14 search for the state tax add-on to your program.
Is this is the year you begin managing your money by computer? January 1 is such a nice, round date. Resolve that you'll set up your bank accounts this month, when your bank statements arrive. Somehow, starting to use Quicken or MS Money isn't quite so significant in June or October --- and no month has free time like January.
When those bank statements arrive? Take the time to sort them, by year, placing last year's checks in your "Taxes" file, and creating a new place for this year's checks to live.
One last January paper tip:
Open your checkbook. Write the new year in the date line of your next 20 checks. By the time you come to the end of your pre-dated checks, you'll have made the transition to the new year.
Look forward and make life easier. Look backward and avoid old mistakes. January has two faces --- and both will help you Get Organized for the New Year!
Cleaning Idea of the Month
To clean around this time of the year is common, the taking down of Christmas decorations and re-organizing for the coming year, this can be very tedious and stressful. So let’s try to put a spin on it and make a game! Here are two different games you can play to help clean your home!
Santa's Rule: Get One, Toss Two
Try this simple idea to pack a powerful clutter-cutting punch as you put away new holiday gifts: for each gift received, toss two counterparts. Whether you recycle, donate or sell the tossers, each gift will reduce clutter in your organized home--and the excitement of new possessions helps cut the ties to old, outworn items. Get One, Toss Two: short, sweet and painless way to declutter for the New Year.
Take The Holiday Mailing Box Challenge
Have mailing boxes piled up as holiday gifts arrived? Sure, you could recycle or reuse them, but for maximum end-of-year clutter-cutting, take the Holiday Mailing Box Challenge! Your goal: to fill every seasonal mailing box with items suitable for donation to Goodwill or a similar recycler for used household items, and deliver them to charity before month's end. Donating mailing boxes filled with no-longer-needed household linens, books, VHS tapes, crafts supplies or toys gets surplus items into the hands of those in need, what better way to start off the new year!
Craft of the Month
Simple and fun craft with the left over bubble wrap from all your gifts is to take the bubble wrap and let your children dip it into paint and “sponge” it onto paper! Different colors and angles make a beautiful piece of art! For an idea of what it looks like I have attached an image.
Healthy Idea of the Month
With the children back to school and holiday decorations back in their attic boxes, our resolve for a better, thinner, healthier and wealthier year has once more washed up against the hard and niggling realities of daily life. Be of good cheer! There's a tried-and-true boost for just about anybody's New Year's resolutions. I'm talking about cleaning the refrigerator. Spearing the Great White Whale.
Think about it! The refrigerator holds it all: food and finance, weight and well-being, organization and chaos, all rolled into one big cold box. Dive into that baby with a detached eye, a hardened heart and one small hour of time and you're on the road to weight loss, better household management, and a healthier budget.
Think tough. Firm. Resolved. Then gather your tools: a large, lined garbage can, a sink-ful of soapy water, spray bottles of degreaser and window cleaner, lots of cleaning cloths and a pen and notepad. Clear the kitchen counters so you can sort and spread out with impunity, and an empty dishwasher should await your container collection.
Start at the top. Remove everything from the top refrigerator shelf. Holiday leftovers go directly into the garbage can. Show no pity or mercy! If it hasn't been eaten by now, it's because the family will scream if presented with ham in one more disguise. Open everything, and when it doubt, toss it out!
Plastic food storage containers are consigned to the dishwasher after a brief rinse. The shelf goes directly to the sink's soapy water. While it soaks off the grime of Christmas past, use your degreaser spray to clean the refrigerator's ceiling and walls down to the next shelf. Wash the shelf, dry and replace it--but don't put any food back, not yet!
When every shelf, wall and crisper is sparkling, pay attention to the dreaded door shelves. Use window cleaner to kill the greasy fingerprints on the chrome and see-through plastic.
"But Rebekah!", I hear you cry, "what does cleaning the refrigerator have to do with New Year's resolutions?" Bear with me. We've now reached the part where we see it’s not just cleaning, it’s revitalizing your lives.
Lean back against the kitchen counter. Take a hard look at what that whale has been hiding in its dark little innards. The implications will hit you in the face!
For example, when I tossed out four, count 'em, four jars of dried-out jelly and a jar of peanut butter manufactured in the last decade, it was clear that my children had turned a culinary corner, and the days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were no more.
You'll wring a few unpleasant admissions from yourself, too. Look carefully at what foods are wasted, especially from the drawers. Did you toss out as much bruised fruit as I did? Are you buying too much--or not eating what you buy?
Use pen and notepad to jot down your discoveries and track your new resolves. Match them to your New Year's resolutions. Is lower-fat eating on your resolution list? Then you'll want to toss the remnants of the Christmas dinner butter and margarine and replace them with low-fat spreads, apple butter and all-fruit jellies.
Do you want to tighten the budget? Focus on the waste you've discovered. Do you buy grapefruit only to toss the shriveled husks, months later? Are you overbuying milk, or cheese, or meat? If you've tossed it out today, make a note to yourself to buy less--if any--on your next shopping trip.
Is more efficient meal planning and home organization on your list of resolutions? Well, you've taken a giant step forward today.
Follow up on your success by printing a free menu planner, saving money at the supermarket using the pantry principle, or learning more about menu and meal planning.
Done correctly, the New Year's Spearing of the Great White Whale should all but empty the refrigerator. Don't be afraid of that stark look! A refrigerator (unlike a freezer) is most energy-efficient when it has adequate air flow.
Gather or purchase a few little presents for your new, gleaming food storage space. Consider small-to-medium plastic baskets (with flat bottoms) to corral loose margarine sticks, and support and organize floppy packs of lunch meat and sliced cheese.
Finally, arrange your storage space to promote good eating habits. Pile apples and oranges in an open basket on an open shelf--if they're seen, they're more likely to be eaten! Stick the big, bad, greasy cooking margarine in the far reaches of the meat drawer, so you won't be tempted to bypass your low-fat spread. Use zipper bags to hold washed vegetable snacks, and put them in a special basket in the drawer, easy to see and to reach.
If you're like me, you'll spend the next two days sneaking admiring looks at your gleaming, well-organized refrigerator. It may not be glamour, but its life!