Why spring clean?

Spring cleaning is an age-old tradition steming from cultural and religious traditions, and linked to human nature.

  • Tradition

Before heating appeared, homes needed to be rid of the layer of grime and soot that had accumulated during the cold winter months, when people used fires in chimneys to keep warm, and oil lamps to light their houses. Proper cleaning required getting rid of the soot, once the warmer weather had come.

In Iran, the Persian New Year coincides with the first day of spring.This holiday consists of buying new clothes and cleaning (or “shaking the house”).

Around the same period, in Jewish custom, spring cleaning is linked to Passover, which marks the liberation of Jews from slavery in Egypt. And in Christian custom, the Catholics clean the church altar the day before Good Friday, also normally in March or April.

  • Our biology

We don’t hibernate like bears, but winter makes humans sleepier and sluggish, too. As fewer hours in the day trigger the release of melatonin (the hormon that causes sleepiness) in our brains, we literally don’t have the energy to deep clean during colder months. But once the days start getting longer, we’re energized by more sunlight. Not to mention that all that sunlight streaming through the windows probably makes the dust we’d forgotten about highly visible!

Join in to the tradition this new season!

If you need even more motivation read this !

 

How long should you keep your papers and documents in France?

home and office organiser

Despite technology leaps, worries about deforestation, and the space it takes in your home or office, business and every day activities in France still generate an enormous stack of papers and documents!

This list is by no means exhaustive, but the rule is: if in any doubt, keep it.

Why not print this article and keep it visible in the front of your files? That way, you’ll remember to have an annual clear-out.

WHILE GUARANTEE IS VALID AND BEYOND

  •   Bank statements and pay-in slips
  •  Car purchase papers
  •  House and vehicle insurance contracts
  •  Invoices and receipts for repairs or services
  •  Receipts for work or repairs to property
  •  Invoices for household goods with guarantee
  •  Estate agents’ fees and commissions
  •  Insurance compensation claims (longer for medical compensation)

1 YEAR

  •  Loan repayments (30 yrs from final payment)
  •  Phone bills
  •  Car repairs
  •  Chimney sweeping certificate (needed for fire insurance)
  •  Construction and building work
  •  Local taxes (foncières and habitation)

2 YEARS

  • Medical records
  • Xrays
  • Water bills

4 YEARS

  • Divorce papers proof of payment of taxes
  • Passports and identity documents income Tax returns
  •  House and property deeds tax rebates
  •  Salary, pay and social security payments slips (at least until you retire) 3 YEARS
  •  Life insurance policies television licence
  •  Inheritance documents

5 YEARS

  • Wills and testaments rent receipts and contracts
  • Birth and marriage, death certificates (not just your own – parent’s certificates too) electricity and gas bils
  • Diplomas and qualifications life insurance premiums
  • Military service papers

10 YEARS

  • Cheques to pay in (maximum before paying in)
  • Mortgage papers (10 yrs after final payment)

30 YEARS

  • Insurance cancellation papers
  • Employment contracts (until you retire) insurance premiums other than life insurance
  • Cheque stubs doctors’, dentists’, and chemists’ bills
  •  All pension papers, medical prescriptions
  •  Receipts for payment of: motoring fines
  •  Hospital bills, social security payments
  • Notaire fees

 

The information in this article is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, professional or financial advice. For the French government’s official document go to (in French):   https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F19134

10 smart and easy cleaning tips for a healthier home

© Lisa870/123RF

Contrary to popular belief, the air you breathe in your home can be more polluted than outside air. Nasty stuff can be found in furniture coverings, insulation, dust mites, household products and the CO2 we breathe. The air we inhale irritates our organs like our lungs and blood, which circulates in our brain and our muscles. The French Ministry of Health and Environment* lists symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, dizziness, allergic manifestations and asthma from living daily in a polluted environment.

For a clean and healthier home, air out rooms regularly and use natural products without pollutants! It is very easy and very cheap.

Three best eco-friendly cleaning products: lemon, baking soda and white vinegar. © Georgrafika/123RF

10 environmentally-friendly cleaning tips to help you have a healthier home:

1. The winning trio

  • white vinegar (vinaigre blanc, you can buy at the supermarket)
  • lemon juice
  • baking soda (bicarbonate de soude, you can also buy at the supermarket, pharmacy or at your local organic store in the food section)

2. Have a blast cleaning your toilets

Sprinkle some baking soda and white vinegar in your toilet, and get ready to be surprised by your first chemical experiment since high school! The slightly abrasive action of baking soda and its deodorizing qualities will give a shot of clean to your toilet!

3. Beauty treatment for the showerhead

Immerse your showerhead in white vinegar inside a plastic bag and fix it with an elastic band. Leave it to soak all night.

Use vinegar for eco-friendly cleaning. © CCO Creative Commons/Pixabay

4. Could your oven need more love?

For conventional ovens, sprinkle vinegar and baking soda inside. Leave for a few hours. Scrape if necessary with a spatula, and wipe with a damp sponge or cloth. For your microwave, put a bowl containing water, a teaspoon of vinegar, and a toothpick inside, close the door and zap it on high for 5 minutes. Leave the door shut for 2 to 3 more minutes to let the steam continue to loosen caked-on bits of food. When you open the door, be careful, the bowl and tray will be hot. Take them out, wipe down the inside of the microwave with a sponge, and wash the tray in the sink. It’s easy, works great and only takes a few minutes!

5. Decalcify your coffee maker

To clean your coffee maker of the buildup inside, fill the tank with 4 tablespoons of vinegar, pass through the machine, empty the carafe and rinse! If you want to get rid of tea or coffee stains on your mugs, let them soak in white vinegar for a few hours. If that’s not enough, rub with baking soda. Vinegar can also replace the softener in your washing machine and the rinsing liquid in your dishwasher!

6. Eliminate an unpleasant smell

Need to eliminate a lingering bad smell, but don’t want to buy a toxic air freshener? To eliminate the smell of vomit, put a bowl of vinegar in the room. It works also for other smells like paint. To eliminate tobacco odors, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 3 glasses of warm water and the juice from the equivalent of 1/4 lemon. Put this mixture in a vaporizer and spray on all your fabrics.

7. Clean the surfaces of the kitchen and the bathroom

Find a sprayer. Try not to buy one — use the empty window washing product you just finished rather than tossing it away. Mix four tablespoons of white vinegar and a glass of water and place in the sprayer. Vinegar will not smell once it’s dry.

When I use lemon juice in a drink or for cooking, I always save the rind with the pulp to spread around the sink like a sponge, then rinse. The sink suddenly shines and is rid of any tartar.

With its slightly abrasive action and its natural deodorizing qualities, baking soda can replace your potentially toxic scouring powder or cream. Use it on a sponge or as a paste (a mixture of water and baking soda). When the dirt is more tenacious, leave the paste for 15 minutes in the bath or shower. For very scaled shower walls, heat the vinegar before you spray it on. Rub and rinse after 10 minutes

8. How to easily clean windows 

Use a microfiber cloth and water to wipe dirty surface or spray the mix of white vinegar and water (see the paragraph above) and wipe the window clean.

9. Maintenance of the pipes

Dirt, soapsuds, and limestone are regularly deposited in our pipes. To avoid clogging and bad odors, pour 20g to 40g of baking soda and hot water down the drain. Leave for two hours or overnight to allow the product to pass through the pipes, then rinse with very hot water.

Give your dishwasher a facelift: place a bowl of vinegar in the top drawer of your empty machine and launch the cycle!

10. Keep le bouquet beautiful

To keep your cut flowers beautiful longer, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Now relax and enjoy your fresh, clean home!

How to find the perfect present !

Have you ever noticed that your loved one (be it your spouse, a family member, or a friend) just doesn’t seem to appreciate your presents that much?

Maybe it’s time you got better at speaking … your love languages!

Inspired by Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

For you to feel your love tank is full, what is it you, or your loved one needs the most?

You can each get acquainted with the 5 love languages below and share your results.

  • Words of affirmation

Does the person you want to show your love to feel more loved mostly after hearing a compliment or thankfull or encouraging words? Bring him or her to a magical place like down the Pont Neuf, at the very front of the island, on the edge of the Seine at sunset. Sit him or her down, and say everything you appreciate in your loved one, or read it out loud if you prefer using a special card!

  • Quality time

If you are longing for an uninterrupted conversation where you can both connect, you can have a meal together in a special place of grandeur. The time span is perfect and the new context will highten your spirits and help you connect. The idea here is listening to each other. Ask questions in a real desire to listen to your partner’s feelings, thoughts and desires. And let your souls converse. My father took me to Café Le Zimmer a few years ago, and I still keep that out of the ordinary memory close to my heart!

If doing something fun is what you are looking for, suggest going to an event; a burlesque dancing show or class with your girlfriends  at www.tasselteasecompany.com. Get your partner to invite you to a fun evening to watch the “How to become a Parisian in one hour” show! Or share a part of French history by taking your collegues, or older children to participate in the escape game called “le cachot de la Bastille” with Gamescape Paris.

  • Receiving gifts

If someone is excited by gifts, whether they be expensive or not, or even made or found, it’s that they probably see them as a visual symbol of love, the fact you have been thinking of them.  If you find it difficult choosing a gift, ask family and friends if they have an idea of what kind of presents that person usually likes, and what are his or her passions at the moment. I have a friend who loves Le Creuset cookware above all! Because she says all their items are so pretty, whatever you bring to the table in them looks delicious and perfect! Her husband remembers this, and she is overjoyed each time she gets something new from their catalogue! Her main love language clearly is receiving gifts!

But someone who is usually critical or uninterested by presents, might just have another primary love language. Read on to find out what it is!

  • Acts of service

If someone is performing an act of service for you, they are taking action to getting things done and weight off your shoulders. This can go from chores to solving one’s most demanding problems. If you don’t have time or the ability to help someone get untangled with what they are struggling with or need assistance with, but know it would bring them joy, why not get them a gift certificate to start them off in the direction they want to go? Are you at a turning point in your life, but feel the clutter in your home is pulling you back? Want your family or friends to treat you to a session with a home organizer, they can go to www.joyeveryday.fr/en. You could give a good friend the luxury of a session with friendly Personal Stylist Anelle Coetzee to learn to mix and match what he or she have in their wardrobe to feel more energized.Or do you want help getting your goals met in 2018? Those dearest to you will be happy to help you get there by getting you to meet personal and professional coach Marianela Gonzales.

  • Physical touch

In the middle of all the hustle and bustle of your busy life, do you need to unwind physically?  If you are looking to treat yourself, get a massage in the intimacy of Sandrine Nicolas’s parisian apartment. On leaving her rooftop view apartment, in her street, grab some warm gluten free bread or croissant at Bakery and Patisseries Chambellan, they are so good, famous French chefs Joël Robuchon et Alain Ducasse order for their restaurants there! Or if you want to bring a friend or your partner to a divine spa that is so exclusive you will have the impression you have privatised it, go to l’Echapée in Paris! They offer a big warm 35°C pool and whirlpool in a beautiful and cosy space under a glass roof, hammam and massages.  You can also have lunch there, and they give you a bathrobe, extra towel and flip flops. Wednesdays and Thursdays are for women only.

Found your love language(s)? Happy Valentine’s!

Organize your way to giving a great speech !

organizing

  1. Dress the part! Choose in advance the outfit you will wear, adapted to the venue.
  2. Train, and if you can, get feedback from someone you trust can help you.
  3. Stress isn’t always visible. Even if it’s to varying degrees, most people are stressing out, and we don’t notice it. It’s the same for you. Even if people did notice, they wouldn’t blame you!!
  4. You don’t need to look straight into people’s eyes. Look at their eyebrows , their nose, their hair, or shoulders, you’ll see, no one will notice. And it will allow you to focus your energy on your emotions and what you have to say.
  5. And precisely, talking about the content, organizing your main ideas and keeping them on a sheet of paper, will help you in case you forget what you wanted to say.
  6. One more thing: you might have liked the experience, and want to start again soon!

If you are looking for more help towards success, read this!

 

My new room !!!

From baby boy to toddler
First we sorted toys. This enabled us to put a lot of baby items (rattles, teething ring, activity mat) into boxes, to be sold or given away.. So the ground was finally rid of stuff, and we put a desk and chair for the little two and a half year old going to school soon!

home organizer Laetitia Ronsin
organise children's room