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Straight talk

Organizational advice from locals

A positive outlook

One of the best things I was ever exposed to was the Franklin Covey planner. Years ago it taught me how to prioritize and manage my time in order to get things done. Of course, now everything is digital so I’ve converted the techniques I learned to a cloud-based calendar that syncs my laptop with my phone. I use Outlook to manage my notes, tasks, contacts, email and calendar. I use it to update my daily things to do list and I use it to capture ideas and tasks for the future. Everything is organized in categories within folders so I can (usually) find what I need pretty quickly.

— Patricia Owen, FACES DaySpa

Organize your mail

When you get your mail, open it in the same spot. See that spot has three baskets for filing and a trashcan nearby. Every piece you open (or not open), goes either:

1. Straight into the trash.

2. “To File” basket. Nothing else needs to be done.

3. “To Read” basket. This you want to look at, read or just browse a bit closer.

4. “To Do” basket. This is your action basket you wish to look at a few times a week and DO IT.

— Susan Ochsner, Sea Pines Real Estate at the Beach Club

Keep your health records

In the future, your health information will be available on a chip to carry with you at all times in your purse or wallet. Until then, you are the best repository of your own information. Do not count on your physician’s office to quickly and accurately forward your records in an emergency or when referred for specialty care. Always ask for copies of laboratory tests and procedural results including MRIs, CT scans, scopes, and x-rays. If you require surgery, ask for a copy of the operation report. Keep all recent records (last five years) in a file you can easily locate along with a complete, updated list of medications. Remember to take your records when you travel. If you are aiming for a more healthful 2019, schedule an annual physical with an immunization review as well as a vision and dental checkup. Ask what screenings you need based on your age and gender. Know and keep track of your numbers — weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol. Be aware of your values and have them checked regularly, at a minimum once a year. Discuss any changes with your physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant.

— Susan Williams, USCB professor

Code your wardrobe

I color code my closet! It makes it so much easier to put an outfit together rather than spending time looking for what might match.

This works well in your sock drawer, also. Shoes are in boxes, marked with color and style. I even separate them in the closet according to season.

— Barbara K. Clark, Ad-Vise Inc.

Make three piles

Separate your “stuff” into piles — keep, donate or throw out. This can be applied to a garage, clothes, food, storage units and the workplace. Labeling and stacking also comes in handy.

— Michelle Spadafora, Buona Terra Woodworks

Reduce your risk for loss

At this time of the year we all begin thinking of plans for 2019 and what we can do bigger and better. As a business owner, I look at sales and service goals, but as a homeowner I also need to have “My House in Order.” Here are a few things that you may want to consider that will reduce the likelihood of a loss as well as prepare for a loss if it should occur.

1. Make sure all HVAC filters are cleaned and/or replaced at least twice a year. I am a big fan of having a maintenance agreement with a local HVAC company that will schedule these automatically for you.

2. Clean all gutters on a regular basis. We recommend at least three times a year if you live in an area that has pine trees. During the rainy season that pesky pine straw clogs gutters and causes water to back up. This pressure can lead to water damage claims to the interior of your home if left unattended.

3. Clean the filters on your clothes dryer. This is one of the leading causes for house fires. This should be done at least three times a year. Make sure the ventilation is working properly.

4. Make sure all Christmas decorations are properly connected and unplugged when you are not at home. It is safer to unplug rather than just turn them off. Every year we read about tragedies due to overloads of electrical outlets.

5. Be aware that thefts increase around the holidays. Make sure you keep windows and doors locked. Make sure if you are leaving town to have a friendly neighbor check on your home. And yes, make your Facebook posts when you return. Thieves will monitor Facebook to determine when people are out of town, making them an easy victim.

— Terry Tadlock, Coastal Plains Insurance