All posts by Ian McKenzie

5 Effective Ways to Declutter Your Home and Reclaim Your Space

Introduction: Living in a cluttered home can lead to feelings of stress, overwhelm, and a lack of productivity. However, with the right approach and a little determination, you can transform your living space into a peaceful and organized haven. In this blog post, we will explore five effective ways to declutter your home and regain control over your surroundings. Let’s dive in!

  1. Start with a Clear Plan: Decluttering an entire home can feel like an overwhelming task, but having a clear plan in place can make it more manageable. Begin by identifying the areas that need the most attention. Create a checklist or a schedule to tackle one room or section at a time. Breaking down the process into smaller, achievable tasks will help you stay focused and motivated.
  2. Embrace the Power of Sorting: Sorting is a crucial step in decluttering. Allocate dedicated spaces or bins for items that you want to keep, donate, sell, or discard. As you go through your belongings, ask yourself whether each item serves a purpose or brings you joy. If an item no longer serves you or holds sentimental value, consider letting it go. Remember, the goal is to create a space that reflects your current lifestyle and brings you happiness.
  3. Adopt the “One In, One Out” Rule: To maintain a clutter-free home in the long run, practice the “One In, One Out” rule. For every new item you bring into your home, make it a habit to remove one existing item. This approach ensures that your belongings do not accumulate unchecked. Before making a new purchase, evaluate whether you truly need the item and if it aligns with your decluttering goals.
  4. Maximize Storage Solutions: Investing in smart storage solutions is a game-changer when it comes to decluttering. Make the most of the available space in your home by utilizing storage bins, shelves, baskets, and hooks. Optimize vertical space by using wall-mounted organizers and stackable storage containers. Group similar items together to streamline organization and make it easier to find what you need. Utilizing storage solutions effectively will help you maintain a clutter-free environment.
  5. Establish Daily Decluttering Habits: Once you’ve decluttered your home, it’s important to establish daily habits to maintain a clutter-free lifestyle. Spend a few minutes each day tidying up and returning items to their designated places. Make your bed every morning, do a quick sweep of countertops, and tidy up before going to bed. By integrating these habits into your routine, you can prevent clutter from piling up again, saving you time and effort in the long run.

Conclusion: Decluttering your home is a liberating process that not only creates a harmonious living environment but also improves your overall well-being. Remember, decluttering is an ongoing journey, so be patient with yourself and celebrate each small victory. By following these five effective strategies—starting with a clear plan, embracing sorting, adopting the “One In, One Out” rule, maximizing storage solutions, and establishing daily decluttering habits—you can transform your home into a serene and organized space that truly reflects who you are. Happy decluttering!

10 Tips for Embracing Simple Living

In a world filled with constant distraction and a never-ending pursuit of more, living simply has become a powerful antidote. Simplifying our lives can bring us a sense of clarity, contentment, and a renewed focus on what truly matters. Whether you’re seeking a more minimalist lifestyle or looking to declutter your mind and surroundings, here are ten practical tips to help you embrace simplicity and find greater joy in the process.

  1. Define Your Priorities: Take a step back and reflect on what truly matters to you. Determine your core values and identify what brings you joy and fulfillment. By understanding your priorities, you can align your actions with what matters most and eliminate unnecessary distractions from your life.
  2. Declutter Mindfully: Begin by decluttering your physical space. Sort through your belongings and let go of items that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy. Practice mindfulness during this process, reflecting on the value each possession adds to your life. Embrace the mantra of “less is more” and create a living environment that promotes peace and simplicity.
  3. Simplify Your Commitments: In a world filled with endless obligations, it’s crucial to evaluate your commitments and learn to say no. Prioritize activities that align with your passions and contribute to your personal growth. By simplifying your commitments, you free up time and energy to focus on what truly matters.
  4. Embrace Mindful Consumption: Adopt a mindful approach to your consumption habits. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if the item is necessary or if it aligns with your values. Practice gratitude for what you already have, and consider borrowing, renting, or buying second-hand whenever possible. By consuming consciously, you reduce clutter and make choices that align with your simple living goals.
  5. Cultivate Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Take moments throughout the day to pause, breathe, and fully engage with the present moment. Mindfulness helps you appreciate the beauty of simplicity and cultivates a sense of gratitude for the little things in life.
  6. Limit Digital Distractions: Technology can often be a significant source of complexity and distraction. Set boundaries for your screen time, establish technology-free zones, and engage in activities that promote real-world connections and personal growth. Disconnecting from the digital world allows you to reconnect with yourself and others on a deeper level.
  7. Nurture Relationships: Simplify your social circle by nurturing meaningful relationships. Surround yourself with individuals who inspire and support you, and let go of toxic or energy-draining connections. Focus on quality over quantity, investing your time in building strong bonds that bring joy and fulfillment to your life.
  8. Practice Self-Care: Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Prioritize activities that promote self-care, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending time in nature. By nurturing yourself, you cultivate a sense of balance and inner peace that allows you to navigate life’s challenges with clarity and simplicity.
  9. Focus on Experiences: Shift your focus from accumulating material possessions to collecting meaningful experiences. Invest in activities that create lasting memories, such as traveling, exploring nature, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy. By valuing experiences over things, you enrich your life and create a sense of fulfillment that possessions cannot provide.
  10. Embrace Gratitude: Cultivate a grateful mindset by focusing on what you have rather than what you lack. Each day, take a moment to express gratitude for the simple pleasures and blessings in your life. Gratitude shifts your perspective, helping you appreciate the beauty of simplicity and find contentment in the present moment.

Living simply is a transformative journey that allows you to focus on those things that are most important to you.

10 Steps to Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

Christmas should be a time of peace, love, and goodwill. However, the stress and commotion of the season leaves many of us feeling more like the Grinch than Santa Claus. If you find it difficult to get into the holiday spirit, here are some ideas that can help:

  1. Shop early: Fighting for parking and struggling through crowds really saps your Christmas spirit.
  2. Share the spirit: Wish people a happy holiday. Say it with a smile.
  3. Give: Place money in a Salvation Army kettle or donate to some other Christmas service.
  4. Do something nice: Offer to baby-sit so a friend can Christmas shop; bake cookies for neighbours or co-workers; shovel an elderly neighbour’s walk.
  5. Volunteer: Even if you are busy, you can spare an hour or two to help people less fortunate than yourself.
  6. Organize a food or gift drive: Collect food and personal items and donate them to a local shelter for the homeless or for battered women.
  7. Play Christmas music: Break out the Boney M.
  8. Watch Christmas movies: The oldies, “A Christmas Carol”, “White Christmas”, etc. and newer efforts, “Elf”, “The Santa Clause”, “Love Actually”, etc.
  9. Read: “A Christmas Carol”
  10. Decorate: Your home, your office, even your car.

Holiday Time Tips

  • Get together and write a list of what everyone wants to do – decide what is really important, and if possible prioritise
  • Make a list of who needs to see who – particularly important with extended stepfamilies.
  • Use a calendar – make a note of which family members are doing what and when.
  • Schedule in some time to recharge your own batteries – if you’re well rested you’ll be able to enjoy your family more.
  • Don’t try and do everything yourself – make a list of jobs which need to be done and allocate them between the whole family.
  • Don’t try and keep everyone happy all the time – you’ll collapse under the pressure.
  • If this is your first Christmas as a stepfamily your child may feel confused and maybe even angry – try to allocate some time that you can spend alone together to reassure them that your love for them has not changed.
  • Adults don’t have to enjoy being with children all the time – allow some time for you to be alone with your partner, other family members or friends.
  • Don’t assume that everyone else is having a wonderful time – everyone else is muddling through just like you, so try not to put pressure on yourself.

Civility At Work: 20 Ways to Build a Kinder Workplace

by Tom Terez

It’s not always easy being nice. There are deadlines to meet, conflicts to settle, resources to share, promotions to go for — all of which can pit people against each other. What to do? Here are 20 practical ideas. If you believe that workplaces work better when people get along, scan this list and start living it.

1. Say what you mean and mean what you say. There’s no substitute for authentic communication.

2. Be less inclined to give advice — and more inclined to seek it.

3. Resist the urge to jump to conclusions about people and their motives. Go to the source, get the facts, and then decide.

4. Identify the biggest redeeming quality of that person who’s always driving you crazy. Keep it in mind the next time the two of you interact.

5. When greeting a colleague, skip the mindless “How are you?” Ask a question that shows genuine interest.

6. Go out of your way to say thank you. Sincere appreciation is powerful stuff — it’s feedback, recognition, and respect all wrapped in one.

7. If you’re overdue in showing gratitude, make up for lost time. Contact everyone who’s owed thanks from you and let them know how much you appreciate their help.

8. When credit and compliments come your way, spread them around to all who helped. And if you think you’re solely responsible for that honoured achievement, think again.

9. Promise only what you can deliver. If what you deliver falls short, explain why.

10. When things go wrong, resist the urge to assign blame. It’s the system that usually fails, so fix the system, not the people.

11. Widen your social circle. If you always go to lunch with the same group, invite someone new.

12. Give a gift for no reason. If you work with nature lovers, order some plants or flowers. If the group has a chronic sweet tooth, get some sweet dishes and keep them full.

13. When a rumour reaches your ear, let it go out the other.

14. Step down from the treadmill of daily tasks and have an inefficient chat with a colleague. If it’s someone you rarely engage in conversation, all the better.

15. Show interest in someone else’s interests. You may not be dying to hear about Pat’s passion for stamp collecting, but Pat will be thrilled you asked.

16. When you take a stand and later realize it’s the wrong stand, be honest enough to say so.

17. Involve more people in weighing options and making decisions. There’s incredible brainpower all around you, so why not put it to work?

18. If you tend to send e-mails to colleagues who are an easy walk away, give the computer a rest. Get up, walk over, and talk to them.

19. Try going an entire day without making judgments about people. Good luck — it’s tough!

20. Don’t wait for kindness to come your way. Gandhi had it right: We must be the change we wish to see in the world.


Tom Terez is a speaker, workshop leader, and author of 22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplace. His Web site,, is filled with tools for building a great work environment. Write to or call 614-571-9529.

Copyright 2002 by Tom Terez Workplace Solutions Inc.

How to Plan Ahead for Christmas

It’s early October. You barely have the children back at school; Halloween stuff is all over the place and I’m already writing about Christmas.

If you want to reduce the stress associated with the holiday season, get an early start on holiday planning. Christmas is associated with love, joy and goodwill toward men. Then December comes along, and your stress level is higher than a mountain climber hanging off a cliff by his fingertips. To reduce holiday stress this year, create a holiday checklist to make the season go smoothly.

Shop for Christmas Year Round

Anytime you are out shopping keep an eye open for Christmas gifts. You may be able to take advantage of sales or clearance items at off-peak times. At the least, you spread the cost of buying gifts over twelve months rather than breaking the bank at the end of the year.

Other shopping ideas:

  1. Store all the items in a specific place so that you don’t forget you have them.
  2. Keep a written inventory of what you buy throughout the year, so you know what you have and what you might still need to buy.
  3. Order Christmas gifts online to save time and avoid the local shopping crowds.
  4. If ordering online, order in advance to ensure delivery before Christmas.

Organize Your Gift List

Sit down and review your gift list at the beginning of November. Figure out which gifts you will send through the mail and put those at the top of the list. Once your list is complete, match the gifts you bought throughout the year to the appropriate people on your list.

If you bought some of your gifts “on spec”, don’t worry. Put them aside for last minute gift needs: office party, school event, etc. Worse case, you can carry them over until next year.

Organize Your Christmas Card List

The Christmas gift list will be like the Christmas card list. In late November, you should take the first list and add the names that need Christmas cards. Take your list and divide it by five 5. Spend five days preparing the assigned number of Christmas cards until the list is complete.

Get Them Wrapped

Buy your Christmas wrap early and keep it accessible. Every time you return from Christmas shopping, wrap the gifts immediately. Tag them, so you know who gets what and put them away. It will save time in the long run and you won’t have to devote a day to completing this task.

Organize Your Food

If you plan on entertaining during the holiday season, plan your meals and every time you go shopping, stock up on any non-perishable items or frozen items you will need. Take stock of your pantry and fill it up with necessary items.

Before shopping, plan the quantities of food you will need based on the number of people you are expecting to come over. Even if you over-buy, you can add the extras to your leftovers inventory.

Prepare Your Home

Take a tour of your home and note things to be fixed or added. Figure out how you want to decorate for the season. Check the condition or number of your decorations: replace or add as needed. Check electrical decorations: lights, ornaments, etc. Make sure they are working and repair or replace, if desired.

Now is the time to check any household equipment that will get used and overused during the holidays. Make sure that nothing will break down at a critical moment in your celebration.

These ideas are simple, but they can free up extra time and help you to enjoy a smooth holiday season. With fewer tasks to be accomplished in such a short amount of time, you can focus on the important aspects of your holiday celebration.