Entries in home (4)


“Moving on up to the eastside!” What I learned about finding the right home


After nine years of working abroad, my brother is moving back to Canada. It seems strange that after living in places like Cambridge, Budapest and Majorca, he would settle back in Canada. Yet, the great white north seems to beckon back its ex-patriots.

He is now at a crossroad. With the possibility of this move being his last, he finally has the chance to settle in a home that meets his overall needs.

I have been in his situation, and I know the indecisions that can plague a search for a new home when you are fortunate enough to have the time, resources, and insight to pick a suitable long-term residence.

I believe I was successful because I was fortunate to find a balance between our needs and wants as a family.

My experience

My wife and I lived in a 600 square foot apartment for a year before we needed to move up to a new residence. The apartment was in a great location and only 40 minutes away from work, but Heather and I were crowding each other.

Click to read more ...


Organizing a utility room for functionality and storage space - Part One -

My profile Cartoon 2Whenever you designate a space in your home as a utility room, you run the risk of using the space for too many purposes. It becomes a storage space, a workshop, pantry, freezer space, wine cellar and laundry room.

And, as new items are brought into the home, older items are shuffled into these general use spaces and bury pre-existing items. It becomes a dark and dank corner of the home where objects go to be forgotten.

Even if the room was once functional, it soon becomes impossible to find or do anything in the space. The room becomes an unproductive and unappealing wasteland.

In the next 3 posts we will look at organizing a utility space so that it meets your storage needs and becomes a functional work space.


Part 1 Define the purpose of the room.

Part 2 Designing and organizing the space using online applications

Part 3 Practical practices when implementing your organization plans and goals.

Part 1: Defining the purpose of your utility space

It is easy to define most spaces in your home. That room is the den, that is the play room and that is the master bedroom.

It is critical to stamp a permanent purpose to a utility space. Defining a room will focus your organization assignment and your brain will automatically decide what should go into that room and what should not.

When you use general terms like “utility” room or “junk” drawer, you are inviting people to store any object into that space.

It is if you went into a kitchen and saw a dollhouse or a dishwasher in a bedroom.

Two problems arise with this scenario. First, it is impossible to know what is stored in that space and second, useless and surplus items fill up much needed storage space.

If you define it, you own it.

The process of defining a space:

For example, let us imagine that we are creating a laundry and storage space in a utility room.

After you define the room as a laundry and storage space you need to make sure that the area is going to meet your needs.

It is about optimization, so you do not want to undersell or oversell your definition of the space.

Click to read more ...



Picture by Kristopher VolkmanCombine career changes, complicated renovations to the house and sprinkle in a brother-in-law-turned-renter into the mix, and you have a recipe for chaos. My house was disorganized, and trying to get the family to organize it and keep it tidy was a losing battle.

Unable to come up with a solution to our problem, I turned to the well reviewed “Organizing from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern for advice.

The audio book was a quick listen but powerful in its message. Morgenstern bases her organizational system on one all Kindergarten classroom use. In the classroom, every activity has its defined place and all objects related to that activity have to be stored in that area. Her system worked to get my house organized, but I need a way to maintain the organization and get people to complete the chores needed to accomplish this goal.  Consequently, I came up with an activity inspired by the power and simplicity of Morgenstern’s system.

Like motivating a grade school class, I needed to break through the diversity of the personalities doing the work by integrating teamwork, fairness in the distribution of the chores and make the activity fun and interactive.

Click to read more ...


Lifestyles Changes - Food

My family has fallen into a dietary rut. We try our best to cook nutritious meals at home; but lately we are eating more and more processed meals and ordering fast food. We buy vegetables and fruits, but much of the time they go to waste. It is a cycle I have experienced before and promised myself to avoid.

I was overweight in my 20′s, I ate too much sugar, not enough vegetables, no whole grains and everything I ingested was processed. I did not want to pass on these lifestyle traits to my son.

With this in mind, my family is trying to institute some lifestyle changes to promote healthier eating.

1. Create a fixed food budget, and keep it on the low side.

Pay extra for quality ingredients and avoid the cheaper processed meals.

High budget shopping usually ends up with large amounts of groceries that are unhealthy and never get used. Pre-cooked foods and processed meals are convenient, unhealthy, and expensive.

Click to read more ...