Monday, April 18, 2016

Designing A Boot Room Fit For A Country House

Designing A Boot Room Fit For A Country House
Muddy shoes image courtesy of Pixabay

Boot rooms, which were traditional in grand English country houses during the 19th century, are practical, transitional spaces between the main house and garden, helping to keep the outside firmly out of doors.  They provide places where you can store warm winter layers, children's sports equipment and wicker baskets full of umbrellas and gloves, ready for every eventuality. They are perhaps at their most functional when used as a place to wrap up before bracing the outside elements, shed wet overcoats and muddy boots after a downpour or towel down the dog after a long country walk.

Preferably, the position of a boot room should be somewhere immediately next to an entrance of the house, to avoid getting mud on any carpeted areas, however not every house has the space for such a dedicated room. Multifunctional areas can be created to incorporate laundry and utility facilities and if space is limited, an entrance hall with hanging rails and a boot rack will provide valuable storage areas for outdoor wear. If you do have to combine utility and boot room areas, try to ensure that the washing machine is as far away from the back door as possible. This makes it more unlikely for clean dropped items to meet with muddy floors and footprints.

Like any other part of the house, the boot room should reflect your own personal taste. If it's an extension of another room, for example a traditional kitchen, maintaining the colour schemes and ironmongery on the cupboards throughout and matching the fabric of the curtains and the bench cushions can help to move away from a utilitarian feel. At Plain English, our style is very much a simple one, with long open shelving and cubby holes to hold all your important possessions, preferring the earthy neutral colours of the countryside as a colour palette.

A seating area placed near the door for the removal of dirty shoes is vital; the choice of a bespoke handmade bench can also offer extra storage space underneath. Hanging rails of various heights, catering to both adults and children, encourage tidy living and also offer a place to hang walking sticks and dog leads, as well as the usual jackets, coats and scarves.

Hardwearing and durable worktops made from stone or granite provide functional, multi-purpose areas that are easy to clean and maintain. For the green-fingered, these surfaces provide a place to store gardeners trugs and prepare freshly grown vegetables or plants, especially if there isn't enough room to include a preparation table.

Floor materials should always be easy to clean and hardwearing, to cope with the purpose of the room and the amount of traffic that moves through it. Stone, slate or tiles usually make the most practical flooring, especially in a country setting. In the ‘Flower Room' at our Plain English Suffolk kitchen showroom, we have traditional Suffolk pamments which are a perfect choice for a traditionalcountry house kitchen.

Painted walls are a more practical choice over wallpaper, given the use of the room, and choosing a waterproof finish will make it easier to wipe down the walls, should any wet coats leave muddy residues. Boot rooms should be well illuminated with good, direct light, to help when doing tricky odd jobs. Large hanging glass lanterns emit plenty of light whilst maintaining a sense of country character if general light is lacking.

Decorating your boot room is the fun part: Adorn the walls with hooks that hang secateurs or other garden tools and add shelves to store plant pots, flower labels and seed catalogues. Old vintage linen flour sacks are perfect for cushions, bench seating and blinds, given the material's resilience and natural, aged appearance; blue or red striped sacking can add extra, subtle pattern and colour. And if your family are a particularly messy and muddy one, you could simply have lovely hand painted wooden benches.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Tips For Organizing Your Lawn Care Equipment & Materials

Tips For Organizing Your Lawn Care Equipment & Materials

Gardening tool image courtesy of Pixabay

Is your garage or shed a jumble of rakes, hoses, and other lawn care equipment? Getting these tools organized is the first part of making your lawn care routine much easier. Instead of spending additional time looking for the right tool, you could be getting the chore of lawn care over with and enjoying yourself afterwards. Here are a few simple tips to help you find a place for your lawn and garden care equipment and keep it there.

1. Big things need organization, too. Many people think that there's no need to organize their lawn care equipment, since most of it's so big. After all, it's pretty hard to lose a riding mower. However, when that mower is buried under a pile of rakes and other tools, unearthing it can be a bigger task than mowing the lawn.

2. Categorize your equipment by type and shape. Also, consider the season in which you use it. You don't want to be tripping over the snow shovel when you're trying to find the grass seed.

3. Hang hand tools on the wall. A few nails and a long board can create an effective rack on which to hang rakes, shovels, and other bulky tools that you want easy access to without their being in the way.

4. If you have garden hoses to store, always keep them neatly rolled and fastened. Large cable ties and bungee cords are great for this. An unrolled hose slithering all over the place can quickly make finding what you're looking for a lot more difficult.

5. Keep extension cords under control. These can quickly tangle if you don't roll or knot them in a way that keeps them tidy. Cable ties can help here, too, and you can hang them on hooks with your rakes and other tools.

6. Shelving gets things off the floor. However, you should be certain to designate particular uses for each shelf and shelving unit. Cluttered shelves are only a little better than a cluttered floor. Put fertilizer and grass seed on one shelf, fuel for your equipment on another.

7. Don't forget the small stuff. Little objects, like hose nozzles, garbage bags, and small tools can easily get lost in the jumble of a shed. Keep them in their own containers. You can use multi-drawer cabinets for this, or plastic kitchen containers. Remember to label your drawers or containers, though, or you'll be no better off than you were when you started.

8. Make a place for trash. Many garages and sheds don't have a trash can readily available, so the clutter mounts up. Keep a large trash can on hand, as well as a stock of bags, so you can throw away anything that needs to go.

Organizing your garage and lawn care tools makes the job of keeping your lawn and garden beautiful a lot easier. When you can find the perfect tool for the job, you won't spend as much frustrating time searching. Take the hassle out of caring for your lawn by making sure your tools and equipment are all well organized.
About the Author
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Friday, April 15, 2016

Spring Cleaning After Divorce

Spring Cleaning After Divorce
By Catherine Shanahan

It's that time of year when we open the windows and enjoy the fresh air! It always made me feel better hearing the birds chirp, smelling the fresh air and cleaning as if it were a new beginning. Well, on a positive note, divorce is a new beginning! Put aside all the emotional feelings like sadness, anxiety and doubt about what you are supposed to next, and consider some of the following tips for your financial spring cleaning!

1. Get your financial house in order. Update your will. Check that you have the proper beneficiaries listed on your life insurance policies. Review your retirement plans and get rid of non-performing investments (contact your CDFA or financial advisor if you need help). Get a file box or use a file drawer and label your files. Doing this will it easy to find any important financial papers.

2. If you aren't doing what you love or loving what you do, then prepare to make a change! Update or write your resume. Take some courses and explore new opportunities in your area or an area that you would like to be in. Expect more from yourself. I'm sure you will be amazed what you're capable of achieving.

3. Review your credit report!! Not only is identity theft a concern today, but so is human error. I recently found that there was a major mistake on my credit report and it took me a lot of time to have it corrected. It is also a good place to see if you or your spouse have any accounts that you were unaware of. If you haven't already, make sure to establish credit in your name. Open a credit card, or the next time you purchase a car, register it in your name only.

4. This is also a great time to review your benefits at work. If you aren't involved in a retirement plan, and one is offered, enroll!! If you are already active in a plan, review it!! It may seem overwhelming and out of your comfort zone so consult a financial advisor. Most advisors are happy to review your statements and offer you some advice.

5. I am sure that you just got your taxes done and you are saying, "Next year I will be more organized!" That's what I said! So go buy a file for tax receipts only! Ask your accountant if s/he can provide you with some areas that may save you money on next year's tax return.

6. Divorce is a big change and a new beginning. You will want to update your wardrobe, and feel pretty!! I am a big supporter of dressing the way you want to feel!! This can be costly, so make a plan. First, clean out your current wardrobe. There are consignment shops, example: Plato's Closet, where you can sell your clothes and use that money to purchase new clothes for yourself. If you already have a budget, donate your clothes to women's shelters. You will feel great about helping other women and they will greatly appreciate it!! It's a win-win!!

7. Divorce is draining, I know. Emotionally and financially, you feel exhausted. You will need time to rebuild yourself and your finances; start by setting long- and short-term goals (write them on paper). Prepare your new budget and then meet with a financial advisor. You work hard for your money and your advisor can help ensure that your money is working hard for you.

Accept what your financial situation is now, make the changes that you can, and live accordingly. Focus on implementing the above suggestions and you will be able to move forward confidently rather than living in the past.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Easy Ways To Organize Your Workplace

Easy Ways To Organize Your Workplace
By Adams Smith Thompson

By Bell Telecom (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

An organized workplace is the key, to an effective business. It seems to be a very small thing, but the fact is that when we organize our office we become more efficient and productive in work. One reason is that it increases the efficiency and decreases the "search time" and increases the productivity. For anyone who thinks that search time is not essential then give, a thought to how much time is consumed while looking for something. Whether it's working equipment some document, file or even a small pen we spent considerable time in searching for these things.

A few years ago Toyota showed five basic principles for making sure that offices can be organized. These five principles are good for housekeeping, but they can have a huge impact on any organization. Those principles began using Japanese words that all begin with the letter "s". Therefore, these principles are known as "The Five S" in order to make them clear and understandable to those who speak English, they were renamed as the following.


Sort out your work area remove all the items from your work desk that are not required immediately. This includes containers, documents, tools and other equipment.


Clean your work desk and it make it look neat and clean. Everything you need to work with should be in its best condition so that you feel like using it. Make sure that the lights are working fine and there is plenty of sunlight, the air is fresh in the room and the walls are painted. Everyone likes to work in a clean environment as it increases productivity.

Set In Order

Everything that is at work should have an appropriate place for it. There are many ways through which you can allot locations including signs hung above from devices and labels. In an organized professional environment, everything belongs to its specific location so that it can be returned when not used.


Develop procedures that will help in keeping things like new. Organize procedures for maintenance and housekeeping it's the essential features of this principle. Responsibility must be given to people to follow and develop these rules.


Follow these procedures as they are the key in maintaining an orderly workplace. This will require discipline and not cutting corners; if the practices will not be followed the old habits will return and benefits that were gained from an orderly workplace will be lost.

Adams Smith Thompson is a technology adviser. Buy an assortment of inexpensive products for your business and organised your workplace. Buy IT products from at reasonable prices.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stop Household Clutter: 10 Things to Get Rid of Right Now Stop Household Clutter: 10 Things to Get Rid of Right Now
By Dhiman Bose

If you want to stop household clutter, don't wait, just start right away. Do the same in some simple manner. Just follow the list of 10 things to get rid of as soon as possible as given below.

1. Trash
Make your home absolutely free from trash and garbage.

2. Broken or Damaged Items
You should get rid of the items which are stained, broken, missing a part or otherwise damaged. This is applicable if you keep the items for a longer time even it is repairable. Because, that does mean you don't want to use the thing anymore.

3. Duplicates
You'll find duplicates of many things that you've added when you were not able to find the original one. In very few cases, it's required to keep a duplicate one in case the other one breaks. But, generally you should get rid of the duplicate ones.

4. Practical Item Hardly Used In a Year
You'll find some items those have hardly been used in a year or so. Simply get rid of them fast. You'll be able to use the valuable space occupied by them in a better way.

5. Decorative Item Not Cherished
If you've got some decorative item that you never liked, just get rid of it or donate or sell it to someone who will enjoy it. By that way you will be able to arrange some space for your favored and earn some cash as well.

6. No Legal or Financial Reason to Keep It
You sometimes keep some documents for legal or financial reasons. When these reasons are go away past the stipulated time, you should get rid of the documents after shredding.

7. Clothing that Doesn't Fit
You should get rid of the clothes those don't fit properly and comfortably. This just occupies space in your drawer or closet without benefitting you in any manner.

8. Expired Food
If your refrigerator contains any expired canned goods, get rid of those immediately. Or if you find any good packaged food that you won't eat or don't like donate to a local food counter.

9. Last Year's Holiday Cards
It's time to get rid of the last year's holiday cards. Before putting those in recycling bin record any required addresses to your computer or phone.

10. Old shoes
You should get rid of the shoes that are broken and beyond repair. Donating to a thrift store is a good option.

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