New Northern Office

Working from home isn’t new for me but staying home for meetings is. Many of those meetings are held using “ZOOM”.  My home office isn’t an ideal place for a meeting. For one thing, the cat keeps photobombing and my husband sometimes shows up in the video.

The lighting in my office is fine for most everything but it is behind me which doesn’t work well for video.

Over the weekend I rearranged some of the furniture in a bedroom that is used as a guest room. I don’t anticipate hosting any overnight guests for the rest of the year.  The room has a small desk.

I made a “green screen” out of green tissue paper leftover from the holidays and I set up a light stand that I use for photography to optimize the lighting for video. With the shades and curtains open the lighting is good.

The green screen allows me to use a photo as a background when I am on camera. I have some photographs of the St. Paul skyline and a few of the Coworking space I use.

My laptop hasn’t gotten much use since March. I put it on a book to raise it up and connected a wireless keyboard and mouse. I have some old school wired headphones that I can use too.

I can’t wait to use my second workspace. I call it my northern office because it is on the north side of the house, as opposed to my regular office which is in the South-West corner of the house.

Meeting in Progress

Home repairs

Last winter I started repairing some of the old windows in my house. A little scraping and painting here and there and some caulk and window glaze. Some elbow grease and a good putty knife and they all open and close now. It has been at least a decade since we have been able to open and close all of our windows.

The window in the picture is well over 100 years old. What looks like leaded glass is an inexpensive plastic window cling.

window

If we have to stay home for another month I might it is possible that I’ll have time to fix things. I do have my eye on a closet that I would love to clean out and paint.

 

Getting organized

icicles

January is the month for self-improvement and for getting organized.

Last January I  watched the Netflix series called “Tidying Up,” and learned all about tidying up and getting rid of items that don’t spark joy. The series was very popular last year and if you haven’t watched it you should.

On the show, Marie Kondo, who is also the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“, teaches us how to use the “KonMari” method of folding clothes and organizing our homes.

She teaches people to touch their belongings and decide if they spark joy. If they don’t spark joy we are encouraged to thank the item and add it to the pile of the donate or discard pile.

After watching the show I reorganized my dresser and clothes closet. I have to say I was pleased with the results and it is so easy to maintain that it is still organized.

This fall I reorganized the bathroom closet and the junk under the bathroom sink. It looks amazing and was worth the effort.

Over the past five years or so I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff I was storing and because I have less stuff and I buy less stuff I know what I have more storage space.

For people who plan on moving or who want to downsize these cold winter months are the perfect time to get started. Choose a closet or a set of drawers. having less and having it organized makes moving much easier.

Get your snow rake today

The first snow will mark the beginning of ice dam season. One of the best ways to prevent ice dams on roofs is to remove the snow before it has a chance to melt and freeze and turn into ice. You do not have to clear the whole roof, even getting a few feet along the edge will male a big difference.

You can shovel your roof with a roof rake. They can be purchased at most building materials stores and they are not very expensive especially as compared to repairing water damage caused by water pooling on the roof because of the ice dams.

We are still looking for someone to repair some drywall that was ruined by a roof leak caused by an ice dam.

For those who like to shop online, it looks like Amazon had roof rakes too. The reason I am writing this now is because roof rakes are seasonal items and the stores seem to run out of them as soon as there is a major snowstorm.

To learn about snow and ice dams go to the University of Minnesota Extension web site and read up. Knowledge is power.

Related article Damn Ice Dams

Ice rake
roof rake

Closets can be improved

When making home improvements or when getting a house ready for sale don’t forget the closets!  If you have an old house in St. Paul your closets are

paperwhites

probably fairly small.

There is one closet in my house that had not been touched in 30 years. Over the weekend I emptied it out and painted the inside white, added some small wire wall mounted baskets and put shelf liner on the shelves.

As I went through everything I had in the closet I was able to move some of it to other storage areas in the house and eliminate about 25% of it. I have to say I love the end result. I borrowed some ideas from Marie Kondo.  Also, look for ideas on Pinterest and YouTube.

The closet was packed to the point where I couldn’t really see what was in it. Now it has plenty of space and the white walls make it look larger and more appealing.

Local home improvement stores offer many affordable shelving options, storage containers, paint and shelf paper.

White is the perfect color for closets unless they are lined with cedar and there are a zillion shades to choose from.