How To: Create your home office space


Working from home is an ever growing option for new moms, starts up and students. It can save you money, allow you to work more comfortably but also hinder your organization and focus. When you’re combining your home space with your work space, you need to ensure that you are dedicating your attention to both these areas separately. This is why it is crucial to create an office space that boast productivity and engagement to your work.  Here are a few tips on how to create an at home office space.

1. List your crucial needs
Your space needs to ensure that you’re going to have everything you need to work.  It is important that you create a list that outlines your specific and essential needs for the office.  Editing it down to the most detailed list you can, from phone to computer to having a all in one printer/scanner fax.   Will you need space to meet with clients, or an extra desk to do graphic design drawings?  This list must outline the most important things you’ll need to be productive and successful, and avoid the extra’s that will lead to clutter or distractions.

2. Choosing the space
Based on the detailed list of things you’ll need to have a successful home office, then you need to determine how you’re going to create the room.  It needs to be organized, studies show those who have organized offices are more productive. You need to choose an area that has the right amount of space and comfort for your needs.  Ideally you would want a space that has a door, so that you can have some privacy and separate the home from work. Try to keep the office away from kitchens and front doors to avoid distractions.

3. Maximize the Space
You should break the room into sections; a. Workplace area b.Resource area and c.Supply area.  Your workplace area is where you spend the majority of your time, with your computer and/or on the phone. The resource center is where you keep your binders, books and manuel and the supply area is for all your extra paper, labels and pens.  Within all of these areas, make sure that the tools you use the most are the easiest accessible.

4. Brighten the space
Ensure that your space has adequate lighting. Even by painting one wall brighter than the rest to help the room pop.  This will keep your attitude more positive to get you through the day. Use overhead lighting especially over your desk, to brighten the room.  Then depending on natural light, have a light were you do the most work.

5. Customize
You want this space to reflect your work and business, make it stand out.  Adding family photos, art and decorations will help personalize the space.  Adding pops of colour such as a decorative pillow on the client chair, or patterned stand up light will add flare to the room.  Have your business tag line around you so that you can always remember what your focus in that room should be.

additional inspiration for choosing home office colours:

If you have any questions on creating or customizing your home office, I’d love to hear from you!

Women of Achievement – Zonta Brampton Caledon


This is your last week to nominate a woman you know who is excelling in her field and making a difference in her community.  The Zonta club of Brampton- Caledon is hosting their annual “Women of Achievement” awards gala November 17th at Pearson Convention Centre.  Zonta is dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide and this chapter recognizes the excellence done within the Brampton-Caledon community.

Do you know a woman who is excelling in her field, who is a motivator at home, at work or within the community? We are looking for women who are visionaries, changing the world we live in today and inspiring our future leaders for a better tomorrow.

You can nominate a woman that you know here.

There are seven different categories that you can choose from:

  • Arts and Culture: recognizes the achievement of excellence in, or significant contributions to the performance, development, preservation or patronage of the visual, literary, performing, entertainment or creative arts and/or has made significant contributions to the preservation, awareness, research and/or development of the cultural heritage of a community or other group.
  • Business/Professions and Trades: recognizes those leaders who successfully inspire and motivate positive changes in their profession, trade or workplace and/or who have provided an example for others to follow, through the creation and operation of a successful business that benefits the community.
  • Health, Science and Technology: recognizes excellence and significant contributions through either research or application to any science, pure or applied, for technological advancement in any field that will lead to improvement of the community.
  • Education, Training and Development: recognizes the valuable contributions in any learning environment through teaching, training specialized instruction, research, development or administration and/or achievement in education and development, continuing education, or alternative learning programs.
  • Sports, Wellness and Healthy Living: recognizes outstanding accomplishments and achievements through participation and/or leadership in fitness, well-being, sports, recreation, active hobbies or healthy living and/or serving the emotional, physical or spiritual well-being of individuals or the community, through personal or professional service, leadership or education
  • Community Service: recognizes outstanding leadership through inspiration and example to others through involvement in social services, human rights, labour, women’s issues, action programs and/or service clubs. These achievements have enhanced the quality of life in their community primarily through volunteer contributions. Although nominees in this category may be employed in another field, selection is based on their voluntary work only.

Also, we are looking for women under the age of 25 who are taking the initiative to make a change today! Young Women of Achievement recognizes a young woman between the ages of 18 to 25 who volunteers her time, inspires other women and girls, and is a role model to her peers.

If you’d like to attend this Gala, please feel free to comment below or email me It’s a wonderful evening and I encourage all mothers, daughters and families to join in the celebration!

Stop Worrying About Money

If you’re like millions of Canadians, you dream of the day when you will be debt free. Consumer spending in Canada has increased dramatically over the last few years, surpassing that of our American Neighbours. Canada ranks first in the consumer debt-to-financial assets ratio, beating 20 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, including the United States and Greece.* It’s time for us to take control of our finances and eliminate household debt.

This month, I’m giving you some tips to help you break the cycle of debt and achieve financial freedom. The first page outlines steps you can take to create a budget and save money. Page two details a plan to eliminate debt from credit cards and loans in a fraction of the time it would traditionally take. Feel free to share this information with your family or friends who are looking to get out of debt and improve their financial security.

If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to call me.

[*Source: Certified General Accountants Association of Canada]

Please CLICK TO ENLARGE – if you’d like an email copy, just let me know!



Amendment to the Sign By-Law / Real Estate Signs

For the past 3 years, I have been working with the City Council to help change Sign By-laws for Brampton.

Last September the Brampton Real Estate Board put forth a recommendation to the Committee of Council for the consideration of amendments to the Sign By-law which would increase permitted locations for temporary open house signs located on public property.

I am happy to report that from yesterdays meeting the Planning, Design & Development Committee passed the request to have increased permissions, provide maximum sign area for “Open House” signs and allow a “For Sale/Lease” signs to be displayed on private property for one week after the property has sold (from the current 48 Hour limit).

For more information in regards to Sign By-laws please call Ruth
Twitter @RuthBallantyne

Toronto Fall Home Show Sept 22-25

The Toronto Fall Home Show is back in town this week with exciting new features and Ruth is giving away FREE tickets!

2011 boasts new highlights including “The Style at Home Stage” Presented by HGTV. Catch up with celebrity guest speakers such as Style at Home Editor in Chief Erin McLaughlin, Host of HGTV’s Disaster DIY Bryan Baeumler, renowned designer Glen Peloso and many more!

Also “Runway to Room” channels the latest fashion trends into Home décor! Celebrity designers Rasmin Khachi, Glen Peloso, and Sabrina Linn will be on hand as key speakers!

Take a break and have some wine at “The Lounge”, featuring Trend Wines by Steven and Chris are the first two wines in the collection. The blends are designed to reflect Steven’s love of Chardonnay and Chris’ love for Merlot.

Also have a chance to talk about your design dilemma’s at “What’s Your Design Dilemma”. Interior designers will be on hand to offer free consultations!

For FREE tickets from Ruth, post a “REPLY” in the section below with your toughest home DIY project/concerns!
Make sure to follow Ruth on twitter @RuthBallantyne

For more on the Toronto Fall Home Show click HERE

Brampton Board of Trade “After Business” Event

With an event geared to bring together top business professionals in Brampton, this “After Business” meet up had an extra case of special. Hosted by Salon 247 and Al’s Barber shop in downtown Brampton and sponsored by Goodison Insurance, members and guests were in for a treat.

13 year old Gina was cutting her long blonde locks off for charity, “Its her third time doing it” her mother told us, “About every three years!”

It would be nice to have such pure, fast growing hair! Great to see the community coming together and giving back in support of charitable initiatives.

Everyone cheered as 247 Hair stylists cut off Gina’s locks in 2 quick snaps!

To view a full album of pictures view here

Home Essentials June 2011

Here are some helpful tips from my Market Leader June Newsletter. If your moving this summer its a quick and easy read and May be helpful for you.

Summer Moving Tips
School’s out, the weather’s nice, and home buying season is in full swing. No wonder summer is the hottest time for millions of Americans to make their move. By preparing ahead of time, you can help make this adventure as stress-free as possible.

Plan ahead – If you plan to use a mover, shop around to get the best rates—check their credentials and policies, and make sure they have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau. Fill out a change of address form and notify banks, creditors, and utility companies of your move.

Organize and purge – Take inventory and get rid of any items you haven’t used in the past year. Plan a garage sale or donate these to charity. You’ll reduce the total weight and the cost of your move.

Get plenty of supplies – Order boxes, tape, bubble wrap, markers, and specialty containers including dish barrels and wardrobe boxes. Chances are you’ll need more than you anticipate and you can eliminate a last-minute trip to the store on moving day. Also, many places will allow you to return unused supplies.

Pack carefully – Pack one room at a time and label or color-code each box. Because of the summer heat and moisture, reinforce the bottoms of all the boxes you pack by doubling up on the tape. Wrap up electronics with bubble wrap or cloth. If you’re moving freezers or refrigerators, be sure to defrost them. Secure drawers from opening during transit. Label boxes with fragile items and place them on top.

Keep valuables close – Keep your jewelry, medications, passports, and important papers close by to ensure they don’t get lost. If possible, these items should travel in your car during the move.

Make a final walk-through – After you’ve packed, do a final walk-through and get another family member to double check to make sure you don’t forget anything. Also, lock all the doors and windows, and turn off the lights.

Remember, moving days can be long and tiring. Make sure you stock a cooler with snacks, bottled water, and refreshments to keep you energized and help beat the heat!

Complimentary Tickets to The Toronto Symphony

If you would like complimentary tickets to Finland’s Finest Concerts, tonight or Saturday, at 8 pm please comment on this post. You may reserve up to 6 Complimnetary tickets. Reply quickly, tickets are limited and will only be given on first come first serve basis.
Soprano Karita Mattila, star of the world’s foremost opera houses, and cellist Anssi Karttunen play a piece composed especially for them: the magically surreal Mirage by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Mattila adds a Sibelius tone poem inspired by Finnish mythology, and Karttunen performs Schelomo, a passionate piece portraying the wise Hebrew king, Solomon. The concert concludes with Ravel’s La Valse which the composer decribed as “… a sort of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz… the mad whirl of some fantastic and fateful carousel.”
Hannu Lintu, conductor
Karita Mattila, soprano
Anssi Karttunen, cello