Homemade mask!

Wearing a homemade mask may sound like a silly idea, but it isn’t! It could help stop the Covid-19 epidemic as shown in these graphs.

Watch the video at the bottom of this article to make your homemade mask from fabric you have at home, and without having to sew!

Researchers from the University of Cambridge tested homemade masks after the aftermath of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.They were made out of tshirts. Eventhough surgical masks stopped 15% more particles than DIY masks, scientists were surpises by how well coton masks performed. Wearing a mask is better than wearing no mask, they concluded.

Scientists from the Netherlands advise us to wear homemade masks made from dishcloth.

Here is a video to make your own homemade masks with a tea towel. No sewing needed!

Paperwork sorting in your Home Office!

 
Filing paperwork is one of the most boring and often stressful home organizing tasks. No wonder we put it off and see growing heaps of paper mixed with trash. The day we need a specific document among the mess, and it’s the worst feeling! Like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Let’s give a present to our future self and start sorting our paperwork now!

  1. Take a paper bin.
  2. Make a pile of your papers and go sit next to your filing cabinet. If you don’t have a filing system yet, read on!
  3. Start at the top, go through each paper.
  4. Purge the easy stuff like junk mail, old magazines, out-dated documents you don’t need to keep (if you don’t know what paperwork you can trash or should keep in France, read this).
  5. File directly in the appropriate folder, (or if you know many more papers e.g. bank slips, are coming make a specific pile for your bank slips you will later put in the bank folder in one go).
  6. Sort your remaining piles. Whether you already have a filing system yet or not, you will notice the following are categories you can file in. Add as many folders as needed:
  • income
  • medical
  • home
  • car
  • things I want to read later (you can put this on your nightstand or another place you like reading in).

7. Clearly label  ,you want to be able to find what you’re looking for immediately.

8. Shred sensitive information you need to get rid of.

9. For important and irreplaceable paperwork like birth and marraiage certificates, it might be worthwhile to buy a safe-deposit box for 25€.

After organizing your home office, you will see your stress go down, and your effeciency go up!

Fashion: green is the new black, and how to get there!

maximize your wardrobe
© Adrienne Leonard/Unsplash

Fast and cheaper fashion today means we are tempted to fill our closets with unnecessary items that are hardly worn. It’s hard to not feel a tinge of guilt when environmentalist Greta Thunberg is taking the world by storm with her call for environmental action. CEOs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are known for having worn the same thing every day. Marie Kondo is infiltrating homes and impacting people’s lives on Netflix encouraging them to de-clutter. Everywhere we turn we are being told to live more responsibly and make more sustainable choices.

“Did you know that fast fashion is now the second-largest polluter in the world?” 

The global apparel and footwear industry accounts for 8 percent of the world’s greenhouse emissions. Yet with a bit of effort, it’s possible to help the planet, and find joy in your wardrobe in the process!

Read these four smart and purse-friendly tips to revolutionize your wardrobe!

Reorganize

By going through what you own and putting them into categories, you might notice you have all you need to have fun! Did you forget you had that pretty outfit or those cool boots? The first thing to do is shop in your own wardrobe, and give a new life to some of your items by styling them up or styling them down. Wear that colorful summer dress with your leather jacket and boots to give it an edge. Dress down the party frock with flats, or add heels and a soft shirt to a pair of jeans. The girl in you is going to rock today!

Reuse

When you really need new pieces and want to go planet-friendly, buy second hand or have a clothes swap party with your girlfriends, and their girlfriends, so each of you finds something to love. Mend that cherished outfit where the zipper is broken so you can wear it again.

© WiIl Malott/Unsplash

Repurpose

Are you dying to wear that coat again, but just feel something is off? Maybe just changing the buttons will be what you needed to get rid of its strange dated look. Love that hairpin but don’t dare wear it in your hair? Bring it into your life by clipping it to your sweater, blazer, scarf or bag!

And what if you really don’t like or wear the item? The best solution is to offer it to someone you know will appreciate it, or donate it to a charity. In Paris, Emmaüs, a local woman’s shelter, or a local church will pass it on to someone who needs it and will use it! La Cravate Solidaire  collects office-appropriate clothes, shoes and accessories for men and women to help for job interviews to boost their confidence!

Rethink

When going through your wardrobe or out shopping, ask yourself these simple questions:
– Should I buy this item that I might already have somewhere in my wardrobe?
– Do I love this and will I still wear it for more than a season?
– Does this feel good? Or does it feel too tight, too short or too dull for me?

If you are in the store, and are very tempted to take something, but aren’t 100% sure, then buy it. Keep the price tags on, so you can see if you still like it after a few days. If you just aren’t that pleased with it, bring it back to the store and get your money back. Reclaim your precious closet space! It should be reserved for items you really wear and like!

“Call it eco-fashion if you like. I think it’s just common sense.”
– Livia Firth

We can have fun with our clothes without it being at the expense of the planet. Just tweak a few of your clothing habits and the coming generations will be thankful you did!

How to Get Everyone in the House to Clean Up the Mess!

clean up© Andrivy Popov/123RF

Struggling to have a clutter-free home on your own, with another adult, or with teens and young kids in your living space? Perhaps this is an impossible task because you think your family’s DNA isn’t capable of picking up, throwing out or straightening up? Think again with these fun, effective tips from a Parisian home organizer who finds joy every day to make life easier.

Do YOU have a hard time getting started tidying up or want new ways of doing it? Start small! A 10-minute project completed is better than a 3-hour project never started.

  • Turn on the music! Choose soothing music if you’re anxious, or upbeat music if you need to be energized to organize.
  • Use accessories, like an alarm clock that sets you free after 20 minutes of sorting.
  • Treat yourself to something you enjoy once the job is done; call your best friend or treat yourself to a little nap.
  • Create your ideal home on a vision board, bring it to the place you’re decluttering right now to help you work towards what you want.
  • Take before and after pictures. Keep them at hand, so you don’t fall back on your bad habits.
  • Put on the pressure: invite friends over. You don’t want them to see your mess, right? So you know this will motivate you to organize and tidy up! Plan ahead of time, and only take care of the places your friends will see. Keep all other room doors closed for now.
  • Show the world how well you’ve done! Send like-minded friends your (before and) after photos.

clean up© Elnur Amikishiyew/123RF

How to manage with ANOTHER ADULT who doesn’t have the same criteria as you:

  • Take a mental check of what he/she does.

Let’s say you’re thinking of your husband. What does he already do for the family? Take your kids to the park at the weekend, look after the kids so you can have a girlfriends’ evening out, take care of paying the bills? All of this is great! You can do a happy dance for what he already does.

  • Upgrade your equipment to make chores easier and faster

…because chores are a bore, right? For example, take a robot vacuum cleaner that cleans the whole apartment while you’re away doing something else. I can assure you it’s worth the expense!

  • If needed, start small, but do ask

If he’s resistant, be patient. First, pick 2 or 3 chores you really want him to do, and ask for him to do those. I hear a lot of men, once their partner is having a breakdown say “Why didn’t you just ask me?” Well, ladies, ask on! You’re a team. Happy wife, happy life – you’re doing him a favor by ensuring no cranky overworked wife lives in his home!

  • Don’t be bossy, criticize his work or play the martyr

This would push anyone away, right? Talk about this subject when he is relaxed and not distracted by something else. Going for a walk together, or sharing a bottle of wine, or beer can help create a relaxing atmosphere. And it will help him come into this with an open and positive mindset!

  • Make a list of tasks

You can list all the tasks that need to be done, and with your partner, each chooses what they prefer to tackle. When possible, delegate the rest to a housekeeper, your children (see advice below), or the nanny (when you hire your nanny, tell her that putting toys away will be part of her job assignment). And if they aren’t as organized in the house as you are, make them visual lists, like: “Empty and fill up the washing machine while you wait for your toast and coffee.”

  • Just don’t do it

Your kid is calling for you in the middle of the night, just don’t move, wait! If your spouse is now awake, he will get up if he thinks you’re sleeping. The same thing with the dishes, I just don’t do them, and never will. I already have so many things on my plate (pun intended!), I won’t budge, I know deep inside, the fact I don’t do it is right. If I take that extra task on, I won’t survive the week, which wouldn’t be of help to anyone, now would it?

  • Recognize and encourage your husband’s efforts

By telling him what a difference it makes (don’t hesitate to do this while you’re around other people, he will be very proud!), or by any other way you choose. And make the effort to put aside time for you as a couple, so he feels this new dynamic is good for him and worth the effort.

How to get your CHILDREN to do chores to lighten your load:

Don’t aim for perfection! Your child’s skills will improve over time. With little ones it’s best to do the work together; they’re keen on sharing activities with their parents. It will take more time, but their participation in the coming years will be precious!

2- 3 year olds

  • collect toys
  • help feed pets
  • put napkins on the table, spoons and tableware that doesn’t break
  • take dirty clothes to the laundry basket
  • wipe the ground or a low piece of furniture with a small cloth

4-5 year olds

  • help make beds
  • set the table
  • water the plants
  • help do the shopping and store groceries away

6-8 year olds

  • declutter toys, and keep their room or their playroom tidy
  • make their bed
  • sort the laundry
  • put clothes away
  • Fold trousers, socks and shirts
  • do simple cooking chores
  • help wash the car

9-10 year olds

  • wash the bathtub and sink
  • help prepare meals
  • wash the dishes
  • load the dishwasher
  • declutter their closet
  • clean the floor with a broom and a mop

11 and older

  • plan meals and prepare certain meals
  • wash the laundry by using the washing machine and the tumble-dryer
  • wash the car and vacuum the inside of the car
  • do the grocery shopping

clean up© Katarzyna Grabowska/Unsplash

How to help your TWEEN/TEENAGERS tidy their room

If you ask adolescents why they don’t sort their room their answer will generally be one or several of these: (Please don’t laugh!)

  • They are worried their room will be in the same state again within a month.
  • They are too tired, stressed from school, homework and sports and just want to relax and rest.
  • They don’t understand why parents care that much, they’re the ones living there.
  • They don’t have enough storage containers.
  • They need privacy.
  • They feel overwhelmed by all their stuff and don’t know where to start.
  • They have a hard time focusing or disciplining or motivating themselves to do it.
  • They don’t want to spend the time doing it.

This is why they need help and clear guidelines!

Declutter! Any teenager can understand that having less stuff means having less to manage. Here is how personal stylist Anélle Coetzee advises you and your child handle her/his wardrobe:

“Ask her/him: Does it fit? Is it in good condition? Have you worn it lately? If you saw it in a shop today would you buy it with your own money? Will you need it again (sportswear/ equipment) and will it then fit?

clean upAuthor’s son selects books to give away and declutter his room. © Laetitia Ronsin

Let them throw out any clothing they don’t like to wear, don’t need, or doesn’t fit as it will only take up space and not get worn!

Is it for this season (summer/winter)? Have storage space allocated for out of season clothing.

Is there anything you need such as your own laundry basket/ better lighting/access to a tall mirror, etc)? Make sure they have appropriate storage: containers/dividers.

Maybes or sentimentals get packed away to be relooked at in 6 months’ time.

How to get everyone involved and keep it up in the long run? Encourage them to determine their own tasks and set up their own timetables, provide storage space where needed and pat everyone on the back for making the effort. Bring in a professional organizer to help you get started if the task is so overwhelming.

A clean home greatly contributes to joy every day! What are you going to do for your Home Sweet Home today?

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

How decluttering can benefit your life

Have a hard time decluttering unopened mail, clothes and long-forgotten toys?

Here are reasons decluttering is good for you:

1.  You will be more efficient.

Effeciency comes with not having to try too hard to getting things done. Let’s take an example: keeping up with healthy habits. Decluttering your kitchen will often help you to make for enough counter space and well organised cooking wear which will help you prepare meals and eat at home, rather than choosing a processed meal.declutter

2. You will live in a healthier environment.

How can a cluttered surface possibly be wiped clean? In a decluttered home it is easier to remove dust and toxins from the air– which can improve allergy symptoms. It will also prevent you from twisting your ankle rolling on a screwdriver you left behind.

3. It will boost your confidence.

Dr. Robert London, a psychiatrist based in New York City, says decluttering may also help you feel better about yourself because it’s something of an accomplishment.

4. You will unwind and sleep more easily.

A Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study showed that people with a cluttered home felt increased exhaustion as a result of expanding mental energy on stress that’s caused by their messy environment. When you want to relax or sleep, clear your bedroom of projects you need getting done ( laundry that needs sorting, or a document you have to bring back to work tomorrow).

5. It will save you time.

Because you now have less things, and a place for each object in your home, you won’t repeatedly loose 5 minutes looking for your tax document, your child’s medical certificate, your keys, your wallet, your phone (you name it!), and you will be on time more often (your family will thank you for that!). You can then have time and space available for the things you like doing (like listening to a good oldy on the long forgotten disc player).

6. It will save you money.

Too much unopened mail might mean a lost or unpaid bill, which can cost you a lot in the end. And having too much stuff might lead you to buy duplicates, some unusible because past their due date, which adds to the clutter.

7. It will help your social life.

Are you reluctant to let the delivery man get a peep into your home, and don’t dare invite friends and familly over because of the stuff piled up everywhere? Sort and let go, so you can let people back into your life!

Going through your things a little bit at a time, and only keeping what you use and/ or love is well worth it! Write a list of a few things you would like getting done at home. And start with baby steps; every day or every other day tackle a 5 to 15 minute task, like a drawer, checking your first aid kit, or decluttering kitchen counters.

A little bit at a time brings results for joy every day! 😉

 

Organize working from home!

Working from home can be a challenge. Here are a few things to think about to help you organise your space:

Can I have an entire room,  just a desk area, or is there no place I can dedicate completely to working from home?

When will this space be used? Rather in the evenings or during the day? If it’s during the day, move closer to a window. For the evening choose the right lighting so as not to tire your eyes.

Who will be at home while I work? Can I work properly in the living room if my roommate or spouse, or children are there? Or do I need a fallback solution to concentrate and / or make phone calls?

Who will use this office?

Working from home, what material do I need? A computer, printer, filing room, supplies, electrical outlets, wifi connection, billboard, books?

What will my work schedules be?

What are my goals? Once I know what my goals are, I need to list what my tasks to do are this month, this week, and today.

Personally I adopt the solution of the flying office. That is, I only take the material I need (usually my computer, my diary with my to do list, and my phone), and I move to the best place;

  • when I need all my files, to sort mail for example, I settle in front of my bookshelf, where all my files are easily accessible.
  • if I need to isolate myself from the rest of the family I use a side table in my room,
  • during the day I sit at the dining room table bathed in natural light,
  • and in the evening I put my flying desk in my storage bookcase, out of site, out of mind in seconds!

So even with little space I can work efficiently from home, without cluttering my living space. And I can move on once I’m done! Come on, it’s time for apéro!

 

How to sell your house or apartment fast and at the best price!

Staging will help you make an excellent first impression! And that is essential to attracting buyers, whether it be when they search online and look at your photos, or actually visit your home. That’s why you need to read this article, to learn how to successfully home stage your home to sell it fast and at the best price!

Just because you’re leaving this home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be giving some money, time and effort to making it more appealing. Home staging is all about making the most of your particular space without spending a ton of money or making major changes, and can go a long way in getting offers rolling in! 

Having a home the way you like it, and staging to sell, can be very different and worth considering. Here are the three most important elements:

  1. Get rid of the problem spots:
  • Declutter, downsize and simplify! Bring each room down to its basic furniture. The 3 chairs, extra cupboard, big doll house, armchair, and dressing table in your daughter’s room just create confusion in the visitor’s mind. It is crammed, which gives the impression it is too small, even if it is a big room in m2! It could be the right time to get rid of things. It will also make your move that much easier.
  • Repair! Go around your home and make a list of what has to be repaired. Call in the professionals if needed. You don’t want potential buyers to think “trouble” when they see a leaking tap.
  • Paint to neutralize or refresh! Bold colours can be too much for some individuals, and a particular colour may repel them. It can also be too style-specific and inhibit their vision of the house. If there once was a water damage, now’s the time to repaint the wall or ceiling. Give these areas a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint.
  • Get rid of bath rugs, shower curtains, or drapes than have seen brighter days! You can get new ones you will then use in your new home.
  • Remove “you” from the home! Some people get stuck on the homeowner’s décor, and don’t go past it. Make room for a buyer to imagine themselves in the home. Remove family photos, children’s artwork, or any collections. (You can start packing them away, you’re leaving, right?)
  1. Know your buyer!

Who is the most likely buyer for your home? Stage accordingly! If it’s a family, turn your sports/computer room back into a bedroom, so parents will remember it as a room, and will add it to the number of rooms they have seen, and have the correct number in their mind when it’s time for them to make a decision concerning your home.

  1. Bring out the WOW!

Now you want to accentuate the positive to impress any potential buyer and have them eager to make your home their own!

  • Clean and tidy is how you need your home to be! Clean the windows to let all the light in!
  • Tend to, or add plants! They bring life and colour to your space.
  • Appeal to the senses and the aesthetics! The smell of a cake baking in the oven or of fresh flowers speaks of warmth and happiness. Add beautiful accessories such as soft cushions, lavish throws, matching towels, pretty candles and luxury bed linen.

This will attract a potential buyer to the vision you have created – situated between our real lives and our aspirational ones – that’s what sells!

If I can assist you in homestaging your property for a quick sale at the best price, please feel free to get in touch: Laetitia Ronsin 06 62 33 65 05, or write me an email.