6 Tips for Creating a Productive Home Office in a Small Space

Millions of Americans spend time working from home each week. And while some people have ample space in their homes for large, dedicated offices, others are limited in the space they have. Learning how to maximize these tiny spaces is critically important.

6 Tips for Small Home Offices

Countless research studies and a long list of anecdotal evidence suggests that the spaces in which we work have a direct and powerful impact on productivity, creativity, and output. This is true regardless of whether you’re working in a skyscraper downtown or a spare bedroom in your apartment. However, it’s noticeably more challenging to optimize a workspace when you have limited space on your hands.

Small spaces aren’t ideal, but you can’t let them negatively impact the work you produce. Here are a few tips you may find helpful:

 1.Use Dual-Purpose Items

Ask any interior designer about working in small spaces and they’ll mention the importance of using dual-purpose items. In a home office, this could look like a large filing cabinet that doubles as a work surface, or a sofa that can be used as a pullout bed when you have guests stay at your house over the weekend.

  1. Rent a Storage Unit

While most modern companies do a pretty decent job of digitizing processes, there’s still a lot of paperwork, equipment, and physical inventory involved in business operations. If you’re working within the constraints of a small office, how do you handle all of these physical items? One answer is self-storage.

“Instead of littering the rest of your house with extra equipment and inventory, you can simply store it at a secure facility,” KeepSafe Storage suggests. “This allows you to access your things whenever you need them. When they aren’t being used, they are out of your way.”

A storage unit also gives you a scalable solution that allows you to increase capacity as your business grows (without infringing upon your limited office space).

  1. Use Vertical Storage

In small rooms, you don’t always have floor space to waste on storage. But rather than installing bulky cabinets, you can always go up. Vertical storage solutions – like stacked drawers, shelving, and bulletin boards – give you functional areas to store items, while also providing sufficient space.

  1. Eliminate Clutter

Nothing stifles creativity and makes a small space feel even smaller quite like clutter. In a small office space, you have no room for knickknacks and unnecessary items. Get rid of them!

“Jot down a list of everything you use for at least one to two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, you’ll have a list of items that you actually use and likely should keep,” Wanda Thibodeaux writes for Inc.com. “Everything else, with the exception of occasionally used cables or files, is probably kept with a ‘just in case’ mentality and is a candidate for digitalization or donation.”

When you run across items you don’t need, they should be sorted into three piles: trash, donate, and sell. The more often you do this little exercise, the easier it gets.

  1. Manage Cables

Speaking of clutter, you need to do something with all of those unsightly cables that make your desk/workspace look like a mess.

There are a variety of cable management solutions on the market. You can use something as simple as a twist-tie or do something as complicated as add a concealed power outlet to the bottom of your desk.

  1. Set Boundaries

Whether you have a small office space or a large one, you need to set some very clear boundaries so that people living in your home – i.e. children, spouses, and roommates – aren’t constantly infringing on your space.

Ideally, you should have a door on your office. But if you’re working in a very small space where your desk is located in a common living area – such as a hallway nook – clear expectations will help you stay focused and free of distractions.

Make Do With What You Have

Space is definitely a relevant factor, but you can’t let it limit your productivity, creativity, and output. By proactively dealing with this constraint, you can optimize your workspace to ensure you have every chance to be successful. Which suggestions will you put into practice?

 

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The Healing Process: 5 Tips to Boost Your Postpartum Recovery

Congratulations on making it through the roller coaster that is pregnancy and the life changing event that is labour! As you may have guessed, the journey doesn’t stop once your baby is placed in your arms in the delivery room, you now have a lot of recovering to do as well as a bundle of joy to care for. The kind of recovery you’re going to have will ultimately depend on the kind of birth you had, if you had a natural birth with little or no intervention then you can usually self-care at home, however if your birth was little more complicated or involved a birthing injury – you can find out more about birth injury causes here – then your midwife or postnatal care team will advise you on your recovery.

Here you’ll find some simple, straightforward recovery tips that all new mums can benefit from.

Don’t be afraid to say no

Overbearing relatives, advice you don’t want or need, and hypercritical grandparents are all things that new mums probably have to deal with…It’s true that all these people mean well, however it isn’t always the best thing for your mental health. Remember, you’ve just gone through a huge physical and emotional ordeal, so don’t let anyone play that down. You need time to adjust, to find a routine that works for you and your newborn and of course, get to know you new addition. Don’t be afraid to say no or reject the advice of people who are making you feel inadequate or that you’re doing something wrong. If you’re unsure or do want advice, speak to your health visitor, midwife or someone you trust.

Get as much rest as you can

With a little one needing feeds every couple of hours, getting any sleep at all sounds like a minor miracle. However, rest is an important factor in your postpartum recovery, so put your feet up as much as you can, sleep when the baby sleeps and don’t worry about things like housework or menial tasks.

Eat for health

Most pregnant women like to indulge a little when they’re expecting. But now you’re on the other side of labour you need to start eating with health in mind. Plenty of fruit and veggies are an absolute must, as is drinking plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Remember, the better you eat the more energy you will have, and if you’re breast feeding then your baby will also benefit from your diet too!

Exercise

Take the baby for a light jog or walk around the block in the buggy, try a little yoga in the living room, or try swimming. Most midwives recommend exercise after a natural birth at around 6 weeks post-delivery. However, every pregnancy is different, and you should consult your midwife before exercising.

Feeling blue?

The baby blues are a completely normal part of motherhood. However, if you’re worrying about your mental health or experiencing emotions that don’t seem right or you’re concerned it might be something more serious, then speak with your GP or midwife. You’ll always receive good support and guidance after giving birth, so if you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out.

 

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5 Simple Steps to Dog Proofing Your Vehicle

We’ve talked about safe driving with your pets, but how do you actually dog proof your vehicle so it’s not a hot mess? Here’s 5 simple steps to dog proofing your vehicle.

                    This post is sponsored by Bedford Hills Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram

Get It Clean First

Getting your car cleaned out first is the first step to getting your  vehicle ready for your pup. Use a wet/dry vac to get all the ick and dirt out. Make sure that the vac is strong enough so it can pull moisture out of the fibers, and if it’s not, it will be worth it to take it to a professional and let them do it.

Seat Covers are Magic

A dog seat cover that is water and scratch proof can be the magical key to protecting your  car. These can help keep your seats and floor almost dog hair free. It’s worth the investment for easy clean up, let me tell you. Some dog hair just like magically attaches itself to your seats, and its nearly impossible to get off. Buy one that you can easily through in the wash for when it gets muddy, or too hairy. These are especially awesome if you take your dog hiking or mudding, and they protect not only the seat they are sitting in, but the back of your drivers seat at well!

Keep Your Windows Covered Too

Literally I have them on my window as we speak – nose prints and slobber streaks! But I found out a trick recently that I’m going to start using – cover your windows with a clear plastic wrap; it won’t impare your  vision, and you can legit just pull it off and throw it away once you’re done.  Press n’ seal actually works great.

Be Prepared for “Accidents”

Even the most well behaved and trained dog has accidents – especially if they get nervous. Make sure you keep a upholstery (or leather) cleaner and rag in the back to remove spots. (make sure you check your vehicles manual to see what they recommend) but this will help get the mess cleaned up before it ‘sets’ in.
You can also keep some essential oils on hand to keep your car smelling fresh after any incident. They don’t just cover odors, but they eliminate them completely.

Keep Them Secure and Safe

As I mentioned before, I wrote a whole post on driving safely with your pets, but again, please make sure you have a harness that attaches to a seat belt so that keeps them from moving around and being crazy when the car is moving. (plus, its also a law in most states). My pup has legit jumped up in my lap from the back seat while I was driving, and it made a turn nearly impossible. Even if they are used to roaming, they will get used to it – just make sure they can see out the window so they don’t get too anxious or car sick. You can get adjustable pet car seats that will hold them and keep them safe,  and still let them have a a view.

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Preparing Your Car for the Winter

See a  theme here?? Winter is here early, and it’s here to stay. So I guess we must embrace the cold temperatures, the ice, snow and slush that has already started. However, this doesn’t mean you have to face all this unprepared; take these simple steps to preparing your  car for the winter.

                          This post is sponsored by Reedman-Toll Subaru

Get a Tune Up 
You should keep your vehicle maintained no matter what, but with extreme cold temps, it can definitely affect your car. You want to make sure that you’ve done everything you can to make sure its ready. If you don’t take your car to the service department to get a tune up, at least make sure to check your wiper fluid level and make sure its full, and using a deicer windshield wiper fluid is the best idea.
You should also check your oil, and even switch to a winter-grade oil. The oil’s viscosity is affected by cold temps, and your engine’s oil becomes thinner as temperatures rises, so of course in warmer climates a thicker and higher viscosity oil will help keep your engine pretty lubricated – and for the same reason, the heavier oil isn’t as effective in the cold. So just check the owners manual and make sure you are using the right one.
Also be sure to check things like your cooling system, your battery is in good shape (test it) and check hoses to make sure the rubber is in good shape.

Check Your Tires 
When temperatures go down, usually so does the air pressure in your tires. Tires can lose pressure at a rate of about one pound per 10 degrees F ; and low tire pressure can be super dangerous , and affects how you handle your car. So make sure they are properly inflated.
If you are in an area with a ton of snow, I would probably recommend snow tires, which are made specifically for that type of weather.

Make  Check List of Other Important ‘Stuff’
There are still other things that you need to worry about, like making sure that your headlights are in working order (be sure to clean the lenses, and replace any burnt out bulbs), make sure you have good working windshield wipers since they ware and dry out pretty easily, and you need wipers in good shape to maintain good visibility especially if a storm is headed your way!

Make Sure You Have a ‘Winterized’ Emergency Kit 
Emergency kits are great to have, and you should already have one in your car (if you don’t, do it) you also want to add an extra ‘winter’ emergency kit, or add items to your kit once winter weather hits. You want to include things such as: a shovel, gloves, ice scraper, kitty litter (see my post on how to get your car unstuck from the snow) a emergency thermal blankets, some matches/a lighter, flares, etc. It’s one thing to break down in the summer, it is a whole other ball game to get stranded in the winter.

Even though winter presents a whole different set of problems when it comes to travel, with some preparation and proper maintenance, you should be ready to handle the  cold!

 

 

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Winter Weather Hacks for Drivers

So we talked about the best way to get the ice off your windshield – but there are other problems that  come with the cold weather, ice and snow. There are quite a few car problems that can be weather-related, so it’s  always good to be prepared ‘just in case’. So here’s a few cold weather tricks to help you stay UNstuck this Winter.

This post is sponsored by Columbiana Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram

De-ICE Your Door Locks with Hand Sanitizer
So if you don’t have a garage, like me, your car gets the brunt of the bad weather. You wake up with it covered in snow and ice, and to get it defrosted, you need to get in your car and start it up – but uh, oh, the door is frozen! Hand sanitizer could do the trick since it contains alcohol – an ingredient that is known to melt ice. To help de-ice the lock, cover the end of your key with the sanitizer, and put it in the key hole, trying to get as much of the hand sanitizer in as possible. This should help melt the ice and get you going. I usually suggest that you carry hand sanitizer on your key ring, so that way you have access to it at all times.

Get Your Car ‘UnStuck” with Kitty Litter
Seems odd, but if you have a lot of snow or ice on the ground, you could have some trouble gaining traction. Spread some litter in front of the tires that are stuck and it  can help your tires ‘grip’ and get out of the snow. Buy some cheap litter and just keep it in your truck for an emergency.

Use Socks to Keep Your Windshield Wipers from Freezing
This is an oldy but a classic. When you get home and know that cold/bad weather is coming, take a pair of socks (they can be old holey ones, or a pair of dollar store socks) and put them over your wiper blades and then lift the wiper blades up so they don’t get stuck to the windshield. Keep a few pairs in your emergency kit – for windshields, or as gloves, or even just to keep your toes warm!

Cover Side Mirrors with Bags to Prevent Frost
Take your grocery store plastic bags (keep a few in your emergency kit or in your glove box, because they make great trash bags for your car too) and cover each mirror with a bag to help keep the snow and ice off your mirrors. This can also save you time when it comes to scraping ice the next day! 

Using these hacks might help you deal with winter car challenges, but they’re no substitute for being prepared for seasonal weather. Consider some general winter car prep in addition to these hacks to help you stay safe on the road.

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