Tips for Organizing

People who are visual tend to have larger messes than others. If they are emotional people they tend to collect too much and most of it is not contained. If they are more linear in their thinking they'll most likely just hoard papers. It's a common theme among collectors. Identifying your areas of weakness will help you visualize your next steps. If you're self-motivated you will accomplish more than if you are told you need to clean up. It may not be easy but it can be rewarding.

Start with easy things first. Start in the room you care the least about in your home. For instance a bathroom. That might be a good place to start since it's smaller and probably has less than other rooms in it. Bring garbage bags and some bleach wipes with you. Pull everything out of the drawers and place what you're keeping on the floor or counter. The old, expired and worn out items go in the trash bag. Using a bleach wipe clean out the drawers and the outside rails of the drawer. Put the items you're keeping back in the drawer. If it's a large drawer you might want to think about purchasing some drawer organizers to hold your makeup, brushes, etc. Measure the length, width and height of the drawer before purchasing anything. It's easier to build the module/organizer than buying one with several sections. That way you can design around your needs.

Do the same thing with the under sink cabinet. Pull everything out and only put back what you use. Using a clear plastic basket or a basket with no lid will help contain these items and catch spills. Only purchase items that you can use anywhere in the home so they can be re-purposed if not used in the original space it was purchased for.

Once you're through with the smaller areas it's easier to get to the larger rooms. Make sure that you don't get overwhelmed and quit. That would be counter productive and you'll get depressed about not finishing. It's better to set a tangible task such as one area, one spot, one counter than to look at a whole room and attack it. If you need help call us. We love organizing and decluttering!

Employee Monitoring for Worker Protection

I came across this awesome company and thought that I should write about them.  The business is called Solo Protect and what they do is they help ensure every worker returns home safely at the end of the day.  It is a certified identification device with Kings III industry leading emergency communications and monitoring to deliver a worker safety solution.

Basically if something happens while a worker is out by themselves the device has a button on the back of an ID badge that can be pushed.  Once pushed the operator is notified and can listen to what's happening on the other end.  If it's truly an emergency the police, ambulance and/or fire department is notified and help will be sent.

  • Discreet and Easy to Use Identicom Device w/GPS
  • Device SIM and Inclusive Airtime 
  • Emergency Dispatch Center Monitoring 24/7/365
  • User Training
  • Dedicated Customer Support Team
  • Monthly Usage Reporting
  • 'Man Down' (Optional Add-On)
  • Mobile Workforce Management Platform (Optional Add-On)

I typically don't talk about other people's products but this safety device is great for anyone working alone:  Realtors, social workers, hospitalists, home healthcare, utility workers, etc.  You can find more information at

Your Items are only Worth What Others are Willing to Pay for Them

Paxem holds many estate sales for families across northern Illinois.  Before we get hired for an estate sale we do an intake interview where we find out what's available in the home for an estate sale.  The following are some questions we ask:

  • When are you moving out of the home?
  • When do you want your sale?
  • What size is your home, levels, rooms, etc.?
  • Do you have any animals?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have any large collections or items of high value?
  • What are your expectations?

These questions are extremely important for us to evaluate a sale.  If there is enough for a sale the biggest question is "what are your expectations?"  Many people think their belongings are worth more than they really are and expect to make lots of money on their sale.  If someone overvalues their items and wants to make more than market value they will be disappointed.   People will spend money on items that interest them.  This means you may have fabulous items but if the right person doesn't walk in the door you won't get what you think you will in terms of return.

Many things effect the pricing of an estate sale.  What is currently "hot", trends, style, condition, the economy, real estate values, location, time of the year and, of course, supply and demand.  We would be happy to discuss your sale with you.  Call the estate sale division at 847-269-6272 to schedule your phone interview today!

Protect Your Move

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration posts state-level enforcement resources on their site.  The State listing can be found here.

On FMCSA site you can file complaints against household movers, view a list of household goods contacts by state, search for movers and find articles to help guide you through your move.

Make sure that you get all quotes in writing and check the mover's references.



What Constitutes a Good Home Inspection

Written by Don Fischer
Extra Eyez Inspections

Obviously the most important component of a good home inspection is a good home inspector. In the early days there were few standards for training or proficiency and almost anyone could buy a flashlight, a ladder, and print up business cards. In some areas this is still sort of true but the industry as a whole has become much more professional.

Qualified Home Inspectors

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), founded in 1976 has established standards for home inspections and home inspectors; provides training, and attempts to keep its members informed of changes in state regulations and innovations in equipment and construction standards. Membership in the Society should be one criterion to research when hiring an inspector.

According to the Society, a home inspection is a visual assessment of a home's structure and systems. In some cases, in practice at least, an inspection should extend beyond the visual to the operational. However in all cases an inspection should look at specific components based in part on ASHI Standards of Practice, and can be examined at

A thorough home inspection results in a lot of information. As a buyer searching for a qualified home inspector you can use the following information to find an inspector in your area that is qualified and that you are comfortable with. The duration of the actual home inspection can range between two and four hours in length as is somewhat dependent on the size of the home. The ensuing report can be from 30 to 50 pages in length and should include photos and thorough explanations of issues that were seen in the inspection. Your home inspector should be open to follow-up phone calls to further explain concerns you as the potential buyer may have. If requested, your home inspector should be able to offer references from past inspections. Home inspectors in your area can be located through the ASHI website Specifically your home inspector should examine the following components in the home:

The Structure
An inspector will inspect entry ways, foundations, siding and porches looking for such symptoms of trouble as sagging roof lines, gaps in or damage to the siding, porches pulling away from the building, obvious signs of rot or insect damage (although this is not a substitute for a pest inspection) settlement, certain types of cracks in foundations. Inspectors will usually probe the sill or rim (the wooden support that sits on the foundation and into which the framing is fastened) and framing where it is exposed, to test for soft or hollow spots caused by rot or pests.

The Exterior
An exterior inspection will include a visual assessment of decks, balconies, eaves, soffits and fascias. An inspector will look at the grading of the land around the house for obvious drainage problems, and check walkways and driveways for apparent deterioration or safety concerns. He will also visually inspect vegetation surrounding the house for obvious problems such as the intrusion of roots near the foundation or buried utilities or overgrowth that might promote excess humidity or contribute to security issues. Electric garage door openers should be checked to confirm they are in compliance with current safety standards.

The exterior inspection is not expected to include outbuildings or fences, or any evaluation of hydraulic or geologic conditions.

Roofing Inspection
Some inspectors will get up on any roof, some will tackle low slopes, and others rely on binoculars to check portions of the roof visible from the ground or will inspect lower parts of roofs from upper floor windows. The age of a roof might be as good an indicator of its condition as an actual visual check and a good inspector can usually estimate the real life of a 20 or 25 year roof in a given climate or on a particular type of construction. Where safely possible, an inspector should also report on roof drainage systems, flashings, skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations (for vents and flues).

Plumbing Inspection
An inspection should consist of testing the interior water supply and distribution system including water pressure, water heating equipment (estimating age and approximate time to replacement) and the appropriateness of vents, flues, and chimneys. Most inspectors will flush toilets to check for leaks and run all faucets to assess water pressure and the immediacy and volume of available hot water.

Electrical System Inspection
The inspector should check for over current protections, grounding, and the presence of any aluminum wiring (a serious fire hazard and banned for many years in most states). Most inspectors remove the face of the electrical box if it is safe to do so. The inspector should also check a representative number of switches and outlets in the house and note the adequacy of smoke detectors if the state does not require a separate inspection by the local fire department before the deed transfers.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
No matter the time of year the furnace should be tested by turning up the thermostat and checking the response. Air conditioning cannot be checked if the ambient outdoor temperature is below a certain point. If the energy source is oil an inspector will check the condition of the tank and any visible lines running from the tank to the furnace. Some inspectors will run an efficiency check on the furnace for an additional charge.

Home Interior
An inspection should include a visual scan of floors, walls and ceilings for signs of water intrusion, or sagging. Stairways and railings will be checked for safety and code compliance and a sample of windows and doors inspected for condition and ease of operation. ASCI suggests that inspectors look at countertops and a representative number of the kitchen cabinet interiors and drawers for condition and integrity. The basement should be checked for indications of previous water intrusion in addition to signs of structural problems.

Poor ventilation can lead to rot, mold, poor air quality or excessive energy consumption. An inspector should check insulation and vapor barriers in unfinished areas of the attic and in the foundation area and look for the presence and operation of any mechanical ventilation systems in the attic and other high humidity areas such as kitchens and bath.

An inspector will usually run a dishwasher through a full cycle and will check stove burners and oven to make sure each is operating properly. If other appliances such as washer, dryer, or microwave are to be included in the purchase these will also be checked to make sure they are at least in operating condition.

Fireplaces, particularly in older homes, are a frequent source of problems. Inspectors should check for the integrity of the flue, proper draft, any blockages in the chimney (even a birds nest can be a major problem), and will visually inspect, as much as possible, the exterior of the chimney for damage to bricks, pointing, and flashing.

Don can be reached at Extra Eyez Inspections 815-382-4766 or email

Home Inspector Spots "Red Flags" Before It's Too Late

Years ago, every homebuyer had a home inspector with the same name: Dad. But today, a house is a more complicated conglomerate of electronic, electrical and plumbing systems with varied life spans. Inspecting it is a trade that encompasses other trades. 

Read the entire article here:  Chicago Tribune Home Inspection Article

Paxem believes inspecting a home before listing the home helps you correct the issues and avoid unnecessary delays in the sale of the home.  This is an excellent article. 


What is Quality?

Recently I had someone contact us and ask us why we weren't rated by the Better Business Bureau.  We used to be part of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.  The problem is that if you want to be rated you must pay almost $400 per year.  As a small business this is a lot of money for validation.  We have helped thousands of families and have kudos letters a mile long for our outstanding services.  We also have an A rating with Angie's List, which we don't pay for. 

There are things consumers can do to find out if the company they are hiring meet their standards. First, go to and check the company to find out what kind of company they are, if they are in good standing, etc.  It is important to hire a company in good standing.  This means they have filed paperwork with the state saying they are a company doing business in Illinois and filed their articles. 

Ask for referrals.  Find out from the referral how the job was performed, what tasks were completed, value, etc.  If they work with seniors contact your local independent and assisted living communities to find out if they've heard about the company, their opinions about the company's service, etc.  You can do this on your own without getting a reference.   Our company has actually given references without telling the senior community we were doing it to get an honest answer for our clients.

If you meet any employee from Paxem you will find that they are caring, engaged people helping others help themselves.  They are good people and want what's best for everyone. 

Containment and Control of Clutter After the Holidays

Before the holidays hit you may have pushed items that were sitting everywhere in your home into closets, pantry’s and drawers.  You had your friends and family over and they brought you more “stuff” for you to enjoy.  The holidays were so much fun but what should you do about all the “extra” stuff you now have?  It’s time to de-clutter and contain what you have in your home.  There are hundreds of organizational tools in the market that might help you but you really don’t need to purchase anything until you know what you’ve got.  If you do buy something that doesn’t work it just adds to the clutter and/or you’ll need to make another trip to the store to return it.

The first step is to identify items you are keeping.  Once that’s happened you have to choose which room to start in and then where you’re storing the items not needed every day.  Choose how you’re going to contain your possessions:  Plastic bins, open bins, boxes, etc.  For instance, your family room is full of extra books you may want to invest in a book case or store them in decorative baskets or even consider shelves mounted on the wall to hold them as decoration and storage.

Kitchen food items are stored in plastic open bins so they can contain bags, boxes and crumbs.  The open bins are then placed on shelves in the pantry.  Try to use bins that are square or rectangular and have sharp corners for space conservation.  You can use old cookie sheets to put oils, vinegars, and liquids on so drips are caught.  If you have wire shelving in your pantry you can use “s” hooks to hang extra bags on and slide extra hanging bins on.

Closets are a good place for see-through plastic containers with easily removed lids for storage of extra clothing, linens, shoes, hats, purses, etc.  You can stack them on the shelves or floor.  You can use suit bags to contain and hang wrapping paper.  Under the bed storage is also a good place to store wrapping paper, odds and ends and clothing.

Christmas decorations can get out of control.  Try to contain them in green and red containers so they’re easily found for next year or clear containers showing the contents.  There are wreath containers for wreaths, you can also use garbage bags.  Trees that can be taken apart can be stored in rolling garbage cans with lids so they’re easily moved around the home.  If you have several themed trees make sure you mark the ornament containers with the contents such as “Disney or Formal or Animal” whatever you’d like. 

For more advice please feel free to call Paxem anytime.  We are organizational experts and can help.

WD40 Uses

  1. Protects Silver from tarnishing

  2. Removes road tar and grime from cars

  3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings

  4. Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making them slippery

  5. Keeps flies off cows

  6. Restores and cleans chalkboards

  7. Removes lipstick stains

  8. Loosens stubborn zippers

  9. Untangles jewelry chains

  10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks

  11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill

  12. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing

  13. Removes tomato stains from clothing

  14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots

  15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors

  16. Keeps scissors working smoothly

  17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes

  18. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40
    for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring . It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off.  Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks

  19. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly!

  20. Gives a children's playground gym slide a shine for a super fast

  21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on
    riding mowers

  22. Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises

  23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier
    to open

  24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close

  25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as
    well as vinyl bumpers

  26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles

  27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans

  28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for
    easy handling

  29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running

  30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools

  31. Removes splattered grease on stove

  32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging

  33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs

  34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell)

  35. Removes all traces of duct tape

  36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve
    arthritis pain

  37. Florida's favorite use is that it cleans and removes love bugs from
    grills and bumpers

  38. The favorite use in the state of New York , WD-40 protects the
    Statue of Liberty from the elements

  39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and
    you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it's a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states

  40. Use it for fire ant bites.  It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch

  41. Great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag 

  42. If you washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The lipstick is gone!

  43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the
    moisture and allow the car to start 

    The basic ingredient is FISH OIL

Welcome to Paxem!

We are glad you found us!  If you have suggestions, comments or need some help please reach out and talk to us.  We are always glad to help.