Tackling Your Mail

by Count On Me 4 All

mail pile_14868221_xsMy daughter arrives home from school and dumps the mail on the counter that she has just retrieved from the mailbox.  My husband arrives home a couple of hours later and quickly scans the day’s mail.  The scene is repeated each day and the pile of mail grows as the week progresses.

Our weekends are filled with a series of chores that need to be completed before the new week arrives on Monday. One chore that many of us face is sorting through the week’s accumulation of mail. Preventing the mail from piling up will decrease the time and energy it takes to clear out the mail each weekend. Setting up a system, and having the correct tools on hand, can help us achieve a better mail system. Elizabeth Larkin has written an article to help us attain a method to tackle our mail piles.

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Taking An Inventory of Your Belongings: An Important Task

by Count On Me 4 All

Clipboard with Inventory message and checkboxesLast week I was helping a couple create an inventory of their belongings in preparation for their move to Florida. They needed a precise inventory of what would be loaded on to the moving van for insurance purposes. I made an Excel sheet and recorded each item, when it was bought, and how much it cost. Taking an inventory of our belongings is an important task for all of us to complete, whether we are moving or not.

The sky grew with a yellow hue. James heard a noise similar to a train. He ran to the basement and ducked under the workbench. When all was quiet he came back upstairs and his house was gone. The tornado had picked up his home and all of his belongings and spread it all across the county. When the insurance agent arrived to estimate the damages, he asked James for a list of all that he had lost. Trying to list all he had lost, especially when in shock from all that had happened, became a daunting task.

Suzy Strutner wrote an article for the Huffington Post which explains why inventories are important and how to complete an inventory of your home.

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Winter – A Great Time to Work On Your Garden

by Count On Me 4 All

seedlings in winterWith Wisconsin winter upon us, it may be difficult to work IN your garden, but it is the perfect time to work ON your garden. The cold and snowy months of the year are just the right time for garden planning and reflecting.

Working ON your garden can be fun! Each growing season I keep a garden journal. In that journal I take note of which varieties of vegetables and flower do well, as well those that do poorly. I write down problems that I have with pests and diseases. I also record my ideas and inspirations concerning what I might do differently in the following gardening year. When the snow is drifting down, it becomes the optimal time for me to pull out my journal and reflect., and bring some warm thoughts into a cold winter day. Continue reading

Efficient Grocery Shopping

Shopping listby Count On Me 4 All

Grocery shopping can take a lot of time. Every week we go to the grocery store and fill our cart to the brim, hoping that we have not forgotten something. We spend a lot of time going up and down the aisles, locating what we need, while at the same time, trying to remember what we might still have in our cupboards at home. Nevertheless, later in the week, we often need to make a quick trip back to the store for the milk that ran out or the coffee beans we forgot to buy on our last grocery run.

Getting organized and planning ahead is the first step in saving time and money when shopping for food. A master grocery list is a good place to start. It not only organizes our thoughts, but it helps remind us what foods we may need to purchase. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has more grocery shopping ideas. In his blog he has included an extensive list of grocery tips, many of which will be of use to you and your family. Continue reading

Exercising Your Dog in the Winter

by Count On Me 4 All

Lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback dog running in winterIn the winter we love to go snowshoeing with our dogs. This helps our family to get exercise and gives our dogs a workout as well. Our big friendly golden retriever loves to play in the snow, but with long fur on his legs and paws, he tends to gets ice balls packed under his paws, which is uncomfortable for him. It is one of the many challenges in giving our dogs exercise during the winter months. Continue reading

Winter Survival Kit For Your Car

By Count On Me 4 All

Car riding on snowy road, front viewThis morning it was 5 ° F outside with a wind-chill of -10 ° F.   When my teenager was about to leave for school, I made her take cold weather items with her to keep in the car, just in case the car broke down on the way to school. Out the door she went, dumping in the backseat of the car a snow shovel, blanket, boots, a pocketful of granola bars and a warm hat and mittens. I also made sure she had her cellphone with her, fully charged. We live in the country, and I take this painfully cold weather very seriously.

Ready Wisconsin, a website of the Wisconsin State Emergency Management Team, has a video on how to make a winter survival kit for your car.   Their website also includes a printable Winter Survival Kit Checklist. Winter in Wisconsin can be very unpredictable. Planning ahead and being prepared with a Winter Survival Kit for your automobile is a smart and practical way to keep you and your family safe.

Cleaning Your House More Efficiently

by Count On Me 4 All

Composition of cleaning products with a bucket isolated on whiteMost people would rather be doing something other than cleaning their house.  Setting up a cleaning schedule and sticking to it, spreads the cleaning out over time, yet creates an efficient cleaning plan.
Kristi Corrigan has written a helpful blog post describing how to set up a schedule for you and your family so that you can get the cleaning done quickly yet thoroughly! Continue reading

Clean Out Your Closets For the New Year

By Count on Me 4 All

clothes in closetWith the New Year just around the corner, many of us are thinking about our New Year’s resolutions for 2015.  Clearing out the clutter in our lives is many times at the top of our list of resolutions.  Below is a great article from Good Housekeeping by Lauren Piro, to help in this process. Continue reading