Good thing when busy

We are asked almost daily if it is a bad thing that we are busy. The answer to the question is easy.

When we are busy it means that people found us! Which are a good thing. Imagine families or employees being traumatised by dealing with the aftermath themselves. When they find us, we help them. All cleanups are not crime related. Trauma is part of our societies daily life. Accidents happen, people die from illness, and someone has to deal with it. This is where we come in. Helping people are our passion and we would rather deal with the trauma ourselves than let someone’s family deal with it. So in other words! Yes, it is a good thing when we are busy, because we cannot help the whole world but we can help someone not having to deal with trauma every day.

Think about it…it just makes sense.

Declutter your home guide

Everyone has a little ‘junk’ lying around the house. OK, some of us may have more than a little. Regardless of how much stuff we have, we can all benefit from getting rid of clutter and excess things we don’t need any more, or things we haven’t even seen in a while. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) conducted a poll that suggests nearly 65% of Americans feel their home is at least somewhat disorganized.

Clutter, however you define it, can be bad for your health. According to Psychology Today, people tend to feel like life is out of control when they surround themselves with more things than they can manage. The mess causes stress. If you’re not taking care of the clutter in your home, you may not be taking care of yourself either.

When is clutter a problem? For many people clutter can be an energy zapper or they waste inordinate amounts of time looking for things they can’t find. In extreme cases, people may suffer from obesity or depression when a life of consumption extends beyond ‘stuff.’ In hoarding situations, a house full of clutter can cause fire hazards and other health complications when mold and dust are present. But extreme cases are not common.

What is clutter? Clutter is anything you’re keeping around your house that doesn’t add value to your life. Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter.

Why should you declutter? Many people enjoy decluttering because it relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment. For others, getting rid of the junk frees up a little extra space in the house that wasn’t there before. Some people may just need to purge before they move to a new house. Whatever your reason for decluttering your home, this ridiculously thorough guide will help you through the process.

Because our guide is ridiculously thorough, we’ve broken it up into three parts. The first part will explain how to declutter any space in your home, giving you the tools you’ll need to be successful at removing the clutter. Part two will walk through decluttering tips room-by-room. With these detailed instructions, clutter will no longer have a place to hide in any room in your home! And the third section will help you keep the clutter away in the future. We recommend bookmarking this page, since you may want to come back to it as you work through decluttering your house (or you can print this page, but we prefer to save trees).

PART 1: How to Declutter Your Home

  1. Set Goals

Before you get started, make a plan. No matter how many rooms or how much clutter you have to get through, starting with specific goals will help you create a plan that will reduce any frustration as you go. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get started decluttering your home:

  • Write down or make a map of all the rooms and ‘clutter hot-spots’ you want to tackle.
  • Give each space a grade based on the severity of the clutter. For example, on a scale of 1 – 3 (3 being the most cluttered), a particularly messy room or closet would get a 3. This will help you prioritize your time.
  • Do one room or one space at a time.
  • Set completion dates for each phase of your cleanup. Be sure to pick dates that are attainable so you don’t get frustrated. If you make it into a declutter challenge for yourself, it may feel a bit more like a game!
  • In addition to completion dates, you should plan time to work on specific areas when you expect decluttering those spaces to take longer than a few hours, such as a basement or a garage.
  1. Create a Sorting System

As you go through the rooms and spaces in your house, you will need a system for sorting the items you find. You can create your own method, or you can use the popular Three-Box Method of sorting clutter. This method forces you to make a decision item by item, so you don’t end up with a bigger mess than the one you started with.

Gather three boxes or storage bins, label them as follows and follow our tips below:

The Three Box Method:

Empty after you complete a space. Items you keep should go in their newly designated home. Optimally these things should be stored neatly in a container or drawer. Label if desired.

Empty after you complete a space. Store any items you want to give away or sell outside your home – either put them in the vehicle you plan to transport them in or store them temporarily in a garage or on a patio.

Empty into storage containers after you complete a space. As you fill your containers, label them or drop an inventory sheet on top and neatly put them in your storage area.

You have a few options for disposing of items that make their way into the “Get Rid of It” box.

  • Recycle: Recyclable glass, plastics and paper can go straight into your recycling bin if you have curbside pickup. Otherwise put your recyclables in bags so you can transport the waste to the nearest recycling drop off location.
  • Donate or Freecycle: You can rest easy knowing that something you no longer need is going to a good home. Clothes, shoes and other household items in good condition can be donated to a number of local charities. Or try posting to org: You post what you want to get rid of and people come get it. Your trash is truly another man’s, or woman’s, treasure.
  • Have a Garage Sale: If you’re up to the task, you may be able to make a little money off your clutter by having a garage sale. Check to see if your neighborhood or homeowner’s association has a designated garage sale date. Just make sure you begin your declutter process early enough so you can participate – you’ll get more foot traffic that way.
  • Rent a Dumpster: This is an affordable, stress-free option, especially if you have a lot to get rid of or larger household items you’re throwing away. We happen to be able to help with this one – we’ll deliver the dumpster to your house, you fill it up and we haul it away. It’s that simple. Thought renting a dumpster is cheaper than you might expect, the cost may be more than you’re willing to spend. See if you have a neighbor or two who will split the dumpster rental with you to lower the cost. Just make sure everyone follows the terms and conditions.
  1. Commit to Get Rid of the Junk

If you’ve got clutter, we’re certain you have some ‘junk’ you can toss. And while it may not be junk per se, it may no longer be useful. Making the decision to get rid of your old things may actually be the hardest part of decluttering. If you’re like most people, you have trouble getting rid of something that you spent your hard-earned money on, which you once used or loved. Many items you find will have more than just a monetary value –they will stir up memories and have sentimental value. These are real and valid feelings that make it challenging to part with our stuff.

Remember, you have options when it comes to getting rid of clutter, so you don’t have to feel guilty about putting everything in the trash. Mentally prepare yourself for decluttering and keep the following concepts in mind when you are struggling to part with something you haven’t used in a while.

The 80/20 Rule: When it comes to clothing, we generally only wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time. This rule tends to hold true for other things as well, such as video games, computer parts, books, DVDs, toys and more. Your mission is to get rid of the things you don’t use 80% of the time.

Getting Over Sunk Costs. In the world of economics, costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered are referred to as sunk costs. As you go through the items in your house, most things should be considered sunk costs (except for rare situations where an item may have increased in value). Since you cannot get the money back that you spent on that item, you should only think about the value that thing can add to your life in the future. Understanding this concept of sunk costs can help you make more rational decisions about what to keep and what you should toss.

Here are more declutter tips to help you decide what to keep and what to throw away:

See if it works. If whatever treasure you found stashed away in your house doesn’t work, get rid of it. If you want to fix it, then fix it, but don’t let it sit in your house for another month collecting dust.

Think of the last time you used it. If you haven’t used something you come across in the last 6 months, you should probably get rid of it. If you pulled the item out and said, “I’ve been wondering where this was!” you should probably get rid of it. And if you didn’t even know you still had the item in question, you should definitely get rid of it –you didn’t miss it enough to warrant keeping it.

There’s a neat trick you can use with clothing, books and DVDs (pictured below). Over the course of the year, when you use or wear an item put it back facing the opposite direction of the others. This allows you to see what you’ve used and what you haven’t. If you haven’t used or worn something in a year, get rid of it.

Ask yourself if you love it. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we keep things we aren’t completely crazy about. Yes, sometimes we spend money on things we don’t love, and sometimes we don’t return them. But if you don’t love it, and you haven’t used it in more than 6 months, add it to the “Get Rid of It” bin.

Sleep on it. After you’ve made the decision to get rid of some of the clutter in your home, sleep on it. If there’s something you can’t live without, you’ll know in the morning. You can pull it out of the junk bin and put it away.

  1. Start with Small Decluttering Projects That Feel Big

Before you commit to an entire room, start with a few small projects that will give you a sense of accomplishment when you’re done.

 

10 Things you didn’t know about Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is winter yet again. The beautiful colors of the autumn leaves have disappeared and have been replaced by barren tree limbs and icicles sharp and brittle. The harsh winds rattle the window frames and the cold air seems to sing a cruel song that frightens away birds to warmer climates. The daytime gives way to the moon, and darkness sets in way before supper. So, you see, while some perceive winter as a festive time when their worlds are blanketed by cozy comforts, others feel that they are being suffocated by a literally colorless existence.

It is estimated that half of our nation are negatively affected by the changing seasons and darkening of the summer light. They feel depressed, irritable, and tired. Their activity levels decrease, and they find themselves in bed more often. This depression disorder not only affects their health, but it also affects their everyday life, including their job performance and friendships. This disorder is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, appropriately acronym-ed, SAD.

What is SAD Exactly?

SAD is a mood disorder that affects an individual the same time each year, usually starting when the weather becomes colder and ends when the weather becomes warmer. People with SAD feel depressed during the shorter days of winter, and more cheerful and energetic during the brightness of spring and summer.

10 Things You May Not Have Known About SAD

  1. Did you know that between 60% and 90% of people with SAD are women? It’s true. If you are a female between 15 and 55, you are more likely to develop SAD. Great, so not only do women have PMS, Menopause, and child labor to worry about, add SAD to the list, too.
  2. Even though the harsh chill in the air might bring you down, SAD is believed to relate more to daylight, not the temperature. Some experts believe that a lack of sunlight increases the body’s production of a body chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is what helps regulate sleep and can cause symptoms of depression.
  3. SAD can be treated. If your symptoms are mild, meaning, if they do not interfere in and completely ruin your daily life, light therapy may help you beat SAD. Using light therapy has shown highly effective. Studies prove that between 50% and 80% of light therapy users have complete remissions of symptoms. However, light therapy must be used for a certain amount of time daily and continue throughout the dark, winter months.
  4. Some say that light therapy has no side effects, but others disagree. We think it simply depends on the person. Some people experience mild side effects, such as headaches, eyestrain, or nausea. However, these light therapy users say that the side effects are temporary and subside with time or reduced light exposure. Most scientists agree that there are no long-term side effects, but remember to consult your physician before any treatment decisions are made.
  5. There are some things to consider if you want to try light therapy in your home, otherwise you will not receive all the benefits that this type of therapy offers.
  • When purchasing a light box, do not skimp as far as money is concerned. Buy a larger one so that you will receive enough light to be beneficial.
  • The best time for light therapy is in the early morning. (If used late at night, it could cause insomnia.) So, even if it means waking up earlier, set aside some morning time to relax and use your light box.
  • Many people are not aware of this, but you must have your eyes open and face the light during therapy. Do not stare at the light. That would be silly. Simply face the light, eyes open.
  1. It takes more than just one winter depression to be diagnosed with SAD. Individuals must meet certain criteria:
  • The symptoms and remission of the systems must have occurred during the last two consecutive years.
  • The seasonal depressive episodes must outnumber the non-seasonal depressive episodes in one’s lifetime.
  1. SAD can be treated with certain medications that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Such medications include antidepressants, such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.

8. There is actually a device that conducts light therapy and allows you to walk around while treated. The device is called a light visor. Just wear the light visor around your head and complete your daily

Recovery after a robbery – an employers guide.

robbery prent

A GUIDE TO HELP OWNERS AND MANAGERS SUPPORT THEIR EMPLOYEES

If your store, business, or office has experienced an armed robbery, your employees may suffer from trauma symptoms. In addition, staff not present during the robbery may also have emotional reactions.

In order to effectively support your employees in recovering from the traumatic experience and returning to normal, a business owner or manager needs to know what to say or do to promote healing. As South Africans, we are preprogrammed to believe that a bank or store robbery means someone is going to get hurt. We’ve watched movies or television shows where a robbery takes place and (almost always) someone is shot and often killed. The evening news only reports a robbery when it’s a large or unusual heist OR when someone is hurt or killed. Most other robberies that took place in the city that day are not even mentioned. Even though the vast majority of robberies do not result in injuries, much less death, employees in a robbery often think: “I’m going to get killed.” “I’m going to die.” “He’s going to hurt me.” “He’s going to hurt us.” “My friends/co-workers/customers may get hurt.” “They’re going to kill us.”

Humans have a primitive bio-chemical response for dealing with dangerous situations. This automatic response prepares the body to fight or flee from a real or perceived threat. The fear causes a chain reaction in the brain, releasing chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing, energized muscles, and other physical reactions. In addition, the part of the brain that controls rational thoughts is bypassed. The more an employee thinks he will suffer injury or death, the greater his traumatization. It’s important to remember that everyone responds differently to a traumatic event based on each individual’s coping ability, values, life experiences, personality, support systems, fears, expectations, and beliefs.

Your employees may experience the same feelings at the same times, or one person’s feelings may be different from the others. Ideally, your company should provide the opportunity to meet with a crisis counselor who specializes in trauma recovery. Crisis counseling within 12 to 48 hours after the incident will help the impacted employees to normalize their feelings, educated them about their feelings and other symptoms, and help in lessening (or avoiding altogether) subsequent trauma symptoms. This will cut down on employee absenteeism, lost productivity, attrition, and workman’s compensation claims.

Even if you don’t have access to a crisis counselor, as an owner or manager, there are things you can do to aid your employees’ emotional recovery.

 

AFTER THE ROBBERY

  1. Make sure managers, including upper management or the owners of the business, check in with the affected employees.

An important part of recovery for impacted employees is the perception that management cares and supports them through the healing process. Therefore management needs to make their communications to the employee in an empathetic manner. The day of the robbery, managers should call or visit the business to enquire about the well-being of their employees and help put the business back in order. (You may not be able to speak with the employees until after law enforcement is finished with their interviews.)

Your conversation should express dismay that the employee was affected, allow him/her to talk about her experience if he/she wants to (sometimes employees feel “talked out”), encourage her to take care of herself, and offer to be of assistance if the employee needs to talk in the future. Although you might need to discuss time off, in this conversation do not discuss other business. This isn’t the time to ask the employee if he’ll still be able to meet his sales goals. That kind of discussion will only give the impression that you value money over the well-being of the employee.

  1. Give the affected employees the option to go home or return to work the next day.

Some employees want to return to work right away because that helps them feel more in control. Others may need a few days away from work. Many businesses close for the rest of the day because interviews with law enforcement and their investigation, plus returning the store to order, may take hours. Also the employees may be too exhausted or upset to continue working. Be aware that hurrying employees to reopen the store within a few hours of the robbery may send the message that money is more important than their well-being. Some companies have policies that cover employees in case of a robbery. For example, the company can offer affected employees three paid days off. These days may be taken right away or at a later time if symptoms arise sometime after the event.

  1. Educate employees about how they might be affected. A robbery may cause emotional injuries to all who experience the incident.

The victim of a robbery may initially experience any or all of the following thoughts and emotions:

  • Denial • Disbelief • Shock                  • Fear                     • Anxiety               • Guilt
  • Hopelessness • Helplessness • Anger                  • Agitation

For the complete guide please leave your email address below and we will forward you the printable document free of charge.

Tiener selfdood

Een uit vyf Suid-Afrikaanse tieners probeer selfdood pleeg. Let op hierdie waarskuwingstekens:

Dit is tienerselfdoodvoorkomingsweek en die Suid-Afrikaanse Depressie-en-Angsgroep (Sadag) het kommerwekkende statistiek bekend gemaak oor selfdood onder tieners.

* Een uit vyf jongmense probeer hul eie lewe neem
* Die ouderdomsgroep 10 tot 19 is een van die hoogste risikogroepe vir selfdood
* Meer as ’n derde 38,3 persent het so wanhopig gevoel dat hulle ’n dokter moes besoek
* Amper ’n derde 29,1 persent het mediese behandeling benodig nadat hulle probeer selfdood pleeg het
* Amper ’n tiende 9,5 persent van alle onnatuurlike tienersterftes is weens selfdood
* Minder as een persent van die beddens in hospitale vir geestessiekes word aan kinders en adolessente toegeken

As jy oor jou eie of iemand anders se kind besorg is, wees op die uitkyk vir hierdie waarskuwingstekens. Die tekens kan beteken iemand loop die gevaar om selfdood te pleeg. Die risiko is groter as ’n gedrag nuut is of toegeneem het en as dit lyk of dit met ’n pynlike voorval, verlies of verandering verband hou.

* Praat oor wil doodgaan of jouself doodmaak.
* Praat van wanhopig voel of geen rede hê om te leef nie.
* Praat oor ’n las wees vir ander.
* Te veel of te min slaap.
* Afgetrokke wees of afgesonderd voel.
* ’n Beheptheid met die dood.
* ’n Verlies aan belangstelling in goed waarvoor ’n mens omgee.
* Mense besoek of bel om te groet.
* Reëlings tref; jou sake agtermekaar kry.
* Goed weggee, soos kosbare besittings.
* Ek sal nie meer in jou pad wees nie.
* Ek kan nie alles hanteer nie; die lewe is te moeilik.
* Niemand verstaan my nie; niemand voel soos ek voel nie.

Wat jy kan doen om te help:

* Jy is nie alleen hierin nie. Ek is hier vir jou.
* Ek verstaan jy het ’n ware siekte en dis wat die gedagtes en gevoelens veroorsaak.
* Jy glo dit dalk nie nou nie, maar jy sal weer anders voel.
* Ek kan dalk nie verstaan presies hoe jy voel nie, maar ek gee vir jou om en wil help.
* Wanneer jy wil opgee, sê vir jouself om net nog ’n dag, uur of minuut aan te hou –wat jy ook al kan baasraak.
* Jy is vir my belangrik. Jou lewe is vir my belangrik.

Alle dreigemente oor selfdood moet ernstig opgeneem word. As jy oor ’n tiener of jouself besorg is, bel Sadag by 0800 567 567, stuur ’n SMS na 31393 of besoek www.sadag.org

Clean house, safe house?

Be smart about using household products!

Be smart when you use, store, and dispose of household products.

Did you know that the products you use for cleaning, carpentry, auto repair and gardening can contain ingredients that can harm you, your family and your environment?

These products may harm your children and pets, cause physical injury to sanitation workers if put out for regular trash pick-up, and contaminate septic tanks or pollute the ground water if poured down drains and toilets.

Here’s what you can do to safeguard your family, your home and your community…

Always…

READ the Label
Before you buy, always check the product labels. Look for labeling that reads “DANGER,” “WARNING,” “CAUTION,” “TOXIC,” “CORROSIVE,” “FLAMMABLE,” or “POISON.” These warnings tell you if the product is harmful to you, your family and the environment, and how to use, store and dispose of it safely.

Never…

  • Pour harmful household products down a sink, toilet or bathtub drain unless the products are made for that purpose
  • Pour products like used oil or bug killer on the ground or into storm drains
  • Store leftover products in food or beverage containers

Pay close attention to the labels on:

  • Drain Openers
  • Oven Cleaners
  • Automotive Oil and Fuel Additives
  • Paint Thinners, Strippers and Removers
  • Grease and Rust Removers
  • Glues
  • Bug and Weed Killers
  • Mold and Mildew Removers

KEEP products in their original containers and store them safely away from children and pets

earthTRY alternative products when available

For everyday tasks, try household products that are less harmful. Remember to follow the same rules about storing these products and never mix these products together.

  • Glass Cleaner: Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in 1 quart of water.
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Use a toilet brush and baking soda or vinegar. Note:these clean but do not disinfect.
  • Furniture Polish: Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 pint of vegetable oil.
  • Rug Deodorizer: Sprinkle liberally with baking soda and vacuum after 15 minutes.
  • Plant Spray: Wipe leaves with mild soap and water and rinse.
  • Mothballs: Use cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mint, or white peppercorns.