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How to get rid of clutter and organize your home

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A tidy and organized home can feel like a refuge at the end of the day. If your home has become cluttered and disorganized, take the time to declutter and sort it out.

Going room by room, the first step is to get rid of anything you don’t need. It may seem overwhelming at first, but removing unwanted and unneeded things will be liberating. You may even find yourself throwing out more than you originally planned.

If you’re not sure where to begin, start by getting rid of items that don’t get used and articles you have multiples of. Donate things that others can find a use for and throw out anything too damaged or heavily used to be donated.

Keep in mind that the amount of things in a home needs to correspond to the amount of storage available. People who live in small apartments will end up keeping fewer things than those who live in single-family homes.

Once you remove the excess items from your home, organize everything else using storage containers, baskets and boxes. Articles that don’t have a home will probably end up being piled on your table or kitchen counter. Designate a place for everything in your home and make it a point to put belongings away as soon as you’re done with them.

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5 signs it’s time to replace your windows

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Do your windows need to be replaced? Here are five signs that indicate it’s time for an upgrade.

1. There’s a noticeable draft. Even on cold, windy days, you shouldn’t feel any air coming in through your windows.

2. There’s lots of outside noise. If you can hear each car that drives by and every child playing in the street, your windows probably need to be updated.

3. The frames leak or are damaged. Chipped or soft wood around your windows is an indicator of irreversible water damage.

4. They’re difficult to open or close. Windows should be simple to open and close and they should lock easily and securely.

5. There’s condensation. Condensation between windowpanes suggests there’s a broken seal. If the seal is broken, any gas that provided insulation is gone.

If you notice one or more of these signs it’s time to invest in new windows for your home.

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Food and drink stations for your wedding reception

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Are you looking for a way to make your wedding a little different? Any of these fun food or drink stations are sure to get your guests talking.

Snacks
Instead of passed hors d’oeuvres, create a fun snack bar. Pickles, charcuterie or even popcorn with various toppings are all great ideas for a laid back crowd. For a more luxurious touch, try an oyster bar or sushi station.

Dessert
Forgo the traditional wedding cake and offer your guests their choice of dessert. From donuts and pies to cupcakes and your favorite childhood cereals, anything goes. For summer weddings, cool down with ice cream, gourmet ice pops or sundaes.

Late night eats
After several hours of dancing and drinking, your guests will be ready for a late night snack. Think French fries with different dipping sauces, grilled cheese sandwiches or even a make-your-own-taco bar.

Drinks
While many weddings have a cocktail bar, you can also offer fresh juice, your favorite craft sodas or beers from nearby microbreweries. Or, a coffee bar complete with flavored syrups is a great way to encourage the party to keep going all night.

Remember to tailor the food or drink station to your wedding and location. This will personalize the experience and make it more memorable.

Some food bars can even do double duty as your wedding favors if you provide cute boxes or jars alongside your pickles, cookies, candy or anything else that’s easy to transport.

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Preparing for retirement as a couple

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Retirement is an important milestone in life that involves a lot of changes. During this time, people rediscover not only themselves but their spouses as well, which can cause tension within a couple. Some careful preparation can help both parties enjoy a happy retirement together.

To prevent any problems in your relationship during the early years of your retirement, you should discuss your expectations with your spouse before you retire. Knowing what each other’s hopes are will allow you to make plans together and experience a better transition when the time comes.

Since you’ll be spending so much time together, it is important to have some common interests. Now is the time to start looking for activities you can do together and hobbies that you both like. Similarly, you could plan projects, large or small, for your retirement.

While it’s essential to spend time with your partner, it’s just as necessary to have activities of your own, to keep time for yourself. Plan on having somewhere you can go to be alone occasionally, such as a study or workshop.

Planning for retirement is not just a matter of finances. You also have to get ready to experience a significant change of pace. And since you’re not used to being with your spouse all day, you’ll need an adjustment period. A bit of good planning is the best way to avoid conflict and start off on the right foot.

Talk about your hopes and expectations with your spouse when planning your retirement.

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How to reduce waste

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The Environmental Protection Agency reports that, in 2015, Americans produced 262 million tons of waste. Most of this garbage is sent to landfills where it releases methane gas, a byproduct that’s over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of environmental impact. This is why reducing the amount of waste your household produces is so important. Here are some tips that can help you get started.

Habits to adopt
You can reduce waste at the source by doing the following:

• Rent or borrow tools and appliances instead of buying them, especially if you won’t use them often.

• Ban disposable and single-use items like razors, plastic bags and paper plates.

• Buy food and household items in bulk, or privilege environmentally friendly, biodegradable packaging.

• Renovate “green” by using recycled and refurbished materials.

• Avoid food waste by properly storing ingredients so they last longer, eating your leftovers and freezing any surplus.

• Compost your organic waste. If you live in the city, find out if there’s a dedicated organic waste collection program.

Don’t forget that small acts make a difference. Taking the time to adopt greener habits will pay off in the long run.

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Do you have a retirement plan?

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Have you started to make plans for your retirement? To make sure you have the means to achieve them, good financial planning is essential. A solid retirement plan will allow you to assess the revenue you’re going to need and what sources of income you’ll have when the time comes.

Generally speaking, you’ll need 70 percent of your average annual gross income over the last three years of your working life in order to maintain your standard of living after retirement. Why not 100 percent? Even though leisure expenses will increase after retirement, those associated with work will diminish or even disappear. You’ll be paying less income tax and you’ll no longer need to contribute to your retirement plans.

Naturally, the percentage will vary according to your salary, the age at which you retire, your family expenses, personal savings, and what you want to do during your retirement years. To determine the income and savings you’ll need to live a fulfilling retirement, you’ll also have to take into account inflation and the fact that healthcare expenses could eventually increase.

Are you struggling to answer all these questions? Consulting a financial planner is always advisable if you want to benefit from the best possible retirement plan. He or she will analyze your financial situation, tell you about the group or individual plans that will allow you to finance your retirement, and advise you on your investments. Once you know that your dreams are in order, you can relax and get ready to enjoy your retirement.

A financial planner can help you prepare for your retirement properly.

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Aim for a retirement with no regrets

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Try asking a few people over 60 what they regret most about how they prepared for re­ti­rement. You’ll probably hear that they wish they’d gone about their financial planning in a different way. It’s worth studying their answers so you can avoid major discomfort later on. Here are the most common regrets:

“I should have started saving when I was younger.”
It’s important to start saving for retirement even in the early stages of your career. You probably won’t work for the same employer for an extended period of time, the way your parents did, and a company or government pension can easily disappear from under your feet if you lose your job before you qualify. Even if you are self-employed, open a 401K and be vigilant about it.

“I thought I didn’t have enough income to contribute to a savings plan.”
Whether you’re highly disciplined or a free spirit whose money burns holes in your pockets, the cost of living may always seem oppressive. But saving money doesn’t have to gut your paycheck. Set up an IRA with your bank, life in­su­rance company, mutual fund, or stockbroker. Make contributions that match your current capabilities and up the contributions whenever you can.

“I didn’t diversify enough.”
Diversified retirement planning is crucial; don’t be tempted to put the bulk of your savings at the mercy of the marketplace. If you count on just one source of retirement in­come, such as a pension and stocks, you and your loved ones may be left short if the market plum­mets. Prac­tice com­prehensive fi­nancial planning with IRAs, a 401K, life insurance, and mu­tual funds.

PC : Start planning early.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Feb
21
Fri
9:00 am Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Feb 21 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Are you considering independent, corporate, or social entrepreneurship, or being groomed to take over a family business? Then, this workshop is for you! Topics to be covered: Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur The Importance of[...]
Feb
22
Sat
10:00 am Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths @ Strokes of Creativity
Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths @ Strokes of Creativity
Feb 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths @ Strokes of Creativity
Beginner Crochet: Dishcloths In this beginner level class, you will learn some basic crochet stitches and pattern reading to make pretty dishcloths for your home. Instruction will be for right-handed crochet. Please pre-register!
11:00 am Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 22 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Art Stars is a special needs art discovery program. This program is for ages 8 and up. Registration begins January 22. Participants should have a caregiver or attendant present in the program.
12:30 pm Crochet Workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Crochet Workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Feb 22 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Crochet Workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Crochet Workshop Do you have a crochet project you need a little help with? Already bought the supplies, but need help reading the pattern? All skill levels are invited to this Bring Your Own Project[...]
1:00 pm Discover love, adopt at Petco @ Petco
Discover love, adopt at Petco @ Petco
Feb 22 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Discover love, adopt at Petco @ Petco
Stop by Petco located at 2580 S Pleasant Valley Rd. on Saturday, February 22, between 1 and 4 PM. Meet the amazing Petco adoption team from the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke, learn more about[...]
1:00 pm Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Feb 22 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Moving Mindfully: Finding and keeping your footing @ Ruby Yoga
Join Ruby Yoga and Deborah Romero of Optimal Posture LLC for a series of workshops on moving more mindfully through life using the principles of yoga and the Alexander Technique. Slated for Saturday, Jan. 25,[...]
2:00 pm Magic Show @ Samuels Public Library
Magic Show @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 22 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Magic Show @ Samuels Public Library
Local magician Kevin Owens will entertain the whole family with his amazing magic show, which always includes audience participation and lots of laughter!
2:00 pm Paint a Wine Bottle @ Strokes of Creativity
Paint a Wine Bottle @ Strokes of Creativity
Feb 22 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Paint a Wine Bottle @ Strokes of Creativity
Come paint a wine bottle with Dottie Knob. Dottie will guide you step by step as you create a wonderful up-cycled piece for your home, office, or to give as a gift! This is an[...]
Feb
23
Sun
1:00 pm Free Women’s Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Free Women’s Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Feb 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Free Women's Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Instructed by Sgt Winner of the Front Royal Police Department, in collaboration with the Warren Co Victim Witness Program, hosted by Linden Volunteer Fire Department. Space limited to 20 participants. Reserve your spot by visiting[...]
5:00 pm Sunday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Fire Department
Sunday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Fire Department
Feb 23 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sunday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Fire Department
Divinum Auxilium Academy’s Bingo Night! Games, Fun, and Prizes! 6 cards per round of Bingo/15 rounds. Purchase tickets at www.divineassistanceacademy.org or contact Kristin at DAAfundraising@gmail.com Food & drinks, including beer & wine, available for purchase beginning[...]