More than 20 million Americans work at least part time at home. But home offices often can be fraught with time- wasting obstacles.
Get a handle on your home office by restoring order to your work space, say the experts at the Container Store.
They offered these tips:
Compartmentalize: Design your work area so there's a place for everything. Most likely next to your computer on your desk or work area, arrange telephone, notepads, pens, pencils and appointment book at your fingertips. Place other essential resources within easy reach without leaving your seat. This minimizes movement, allowing you to be more productive.
Get rid of clutter: Clutter wastes time. Limit the number of items on your desk. Enter deadlines and notes directly into your phone, calendar or personal planner. This prevents little scraps of paper from piling up.
Categorize: Files fall into two categories: active and inactive. Keep active files accessible (on your desk, in a filing cabinet, etc.) and store inactive files in a labeled storage box. This reduces time spent rummaging through huge stacks that may not be current.
Utilize: Use the often-wasted space available behind the door or on the wall over your desk. Wall-mounted grids or over-door hanging storage racks can hold desk accessories, magazines, CDs or DVDs and optimize limited workspace.
Minimize: Make a habit to cut down on the number of times you deal with any document. Read it once, then immediately file it, discard it or place it in your "to do" file. That reduces the amount of paperwork on your desk.
For more tips and organizational products, try www.containerstore.com.
Early March isn't quite spring, but it's getting close.
In the vegetable garden, plant seeds for beets, carrots, celeriac, celery, collards, endive, fennel, jicama, kale, leaf lettuce, mustard, peas, potatoes, radish, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.
In the greenhouse or indoors, start seed for summer and winter squash, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. They'll be ready to transplant in late April or May.
For spring and summer flowers, plant seed for aster, cornflower, cosmos, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana, periwinkle, portulaca, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragon, verbena and zinnia.
Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own, use 2 tablespoons liquid soap not detergent to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.
Pull weeds now! Don't let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.