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Serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area | Gayle Grace, 510-654-7983

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Candace Davenport - ID Theft Prevention

Gayle: Candace, please tell us about yourself and what you do...

As an attorney, I represented disabled people for 30+ years. After I retired, I still wanted to help people and having personal experience with our broken legal system, I now am determined to level the playing field by offering affordable access to the legal system with prepaid legal plans. As a conjunct to having affordable access to a lawyer, I also offer training and education on identity theft protection and offer an IDT protection plan that has monitoring and the only true restoration offered in the marketplace if your identity has been stolen.

Gayle: What are the most important things a person can do to protect themselves against ID theft?

Unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission says that by 2009, 1 out of 3 people will be a victim of identity theft. As a result, the best steps to take to protect yourself are to be aware, monitor your personal information and have protection in place. Be aware of who has access to your personal information and safeguard it. Routinely monitor your financial accounts and your monthly statements from credit cards. Get a copy of your credit report as a baseline (can be obtained free). If you suspect a problem, take quick action.

Gayle: What are the most important things a person should do if they have been a victim of ID theft?

There are several things you should do immediately if you have been a victim of IDT: place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports; file a police report and a complaint with the FTC; and deal with the institutions which are involved with the IDT. A good resource is, the FTC’s identity theft website. In the alternative, you can have protection plan in place which will take the steps needed if your identity has been stolen.

Gayle: What other important things should we know?

The basic definition of identity theft is when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, driver’s license or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. However, most people think that IDT is just losing your credit card when the more serious aspects of IDT can be when people commit crimes in your name, get medical tests in your name that later affect your treatment, or work and incur taxes in your name. It can take years and thousands of dollars to clear up incidents and you may not even find out about them for years later. Identity theft is serious business and we all need to be aware and take protective measures!

If you would like to contact Candace, here's her info...

Candace C. Davenport
Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist
Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.
O: 877-852-2451
C: 415-302-1410

Monday, January 28, 2008

Turn this way, please

The versatile turntable (also known as a Lazy Susan), is one of my favorite organizing tools. Turntables work beautifully on high shelves. They look great on a counter with utensil holders and bottles of your favorite cooking oils. The double tables hold spices and flavorings.

You can also use them for decorating cakes or arranging flowers - just put the cake or vase in the middle of the turntable and spin - you get a 360 view of your creation. I get mine from The Container Store and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Organizing book reviews

As I sharpen my skills by reading and studying the latest organizing books and magazines, I'll happily share my thoughts and opinions with you on what I've read. This month I'd like to give you my list of "classics":

Organizing From the Inside Out - Julie Morgerstern came to national attention when she organized Oprah's offices years ago. She developed the SPACE system of organizing that most of us in the field now use as the basis of our organizing plans. Julie is engaging and insightful.

It's All Too Much - Peter Walsh came from the hit cable show Clean Sweep. He's very motivating and entertaining while hitting the nail on the head with his organizing style. Peter is now the organizing guru for Oprah.

Rightsizing Your Life - Ciji Ware is a journalist now living in the Bay Area. She wrote this book after struggling through the downsizing process herself. This book is really full of very valuable information on recycling and repurposing.

House Thinking - Winifred Gallagher is a writer who takes a look at the evolution of the American home. I loved this book because it explains how we got to where we are with the way we live, room by room.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quick Tip... the little author

Here'a local company that turns your kids art work into books. Just go to the site and follow the instructions, couldn't be easier. A great way to create a keepsake of all that artwork and/or produce gifts for the kids to share with family and friends.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The cleaning closet mess

Our homeowner couldn't understand why the housekeepers were constantly asking for more cleaning supplies. Maybe because they couldn't find the ones that were already there amid this mess.

We pulled everything out, discarded the old stuff and then sorted what was left.

We lined the shelves with plastic liner and used plastic containers to group like items.

Now everyone can easily see how many bottles of window cleaner and wood polishes are available.

Stacking dishes

It's so nice to open a cupboard and see your dishes neatly and artistically stacked and waiting for you. Here's an attractive way to store your coffee cups and saucers.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Neither rain nor sleet nor lack of lights can keep us from unpacking

Sometimes the weather just doesn't cooperate when you are moving. Last week we upacked a family of four into their San Francisco home in the pouring rain and with the winds blowing at 60+ miles an hour. While the tree branches blew by us and sometimes even without electrical power, we got mom, dad and their one year old twins settled in.

On this job our movers (Johnson & Daly) did most of the unpacking and we came along after them putting away and arranging. Our organizing crew of 3 worked for 2 days so this family could sleep in their new house on the first night.

Things that matter, getting the babies rooms just right - with twins organization is imperative.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Would you like onions with your tea?

Sometimes we're in a hurry and we just don't think about the consequences, but in most of the kitchens I work on I usually find unusual combinations of items living together in drawers and cabinets. This brings me to my quick tip: Keep like things together and keep things you often use together - think peanut butter and jelly or mustard and catsup or pancakes and syrup - or tea and onions...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

In case you don't have enough to do, along comes scrapbooking

Let me say at the outset, I am not a fan of the scrapbooking craze. I am finding client after client swamped with photos, albums, glues, papers, stamps, bits and bobs of this and that, scissors that cut paper in the shape of ducks and the Eiffel Tower and other paraphernalia associated with this little hobby to sink a battleship. Not to mention how guilty they feel over starting a project and then not being able to finish it. The idea that after the kids go to bed and you have that "extra" hour or two to sit and scrapbook is just not going to happen in our super busy world.

What I tell my clients usually comes as a shock to them, "this is a project of your own doing - you did not have the baby and get sent home with orders to feed it, change it and scrapbook it." I am sure there are only 3 people in the world who have actually completed a scrapbook and they are now on QVC selling you on the idea. Yes, the books are cute, but as cute as they are, who's looking at them on a regular basis to warrant the level of commitment making one these things takes, not to mention the costs. One of the things I hear most from clients is that they already have a ton of photo albums stashed away that no one looks at and are trying to figure how to best store them.

Okay, here are some suggestions:

1. Go digital - it's the way of the world, limit the actual paper photos and scan the rest onto disk.
2. Hire a professional "memory maker". Yes, there are people who will put the books together for you. You choose the themes and photos and hand the rest over to them.
3. Give up on albums. As I have said before on this blog, I like storing photos in photo boxes - just group photos together by subject and call it a day.

If you simply must scrapbook, check out for info and ideas.
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