Tips on Picking the Right Tenants for your Rental Property

We’ve all heard horror stories about the tenants from hell. A Current Affair would have been culled from the Nine Network’s lineup years ago were it not for these stories of trash-filled, squalid homes and tenants who refuse to leave.

While these epic battles between landlords and their tenants might be extreme cases, disputes like these but on a smaller scale are a regular occurrence all around the country. Spending a bit of extra time selecting the right tenant for your property from the get-go is the best way to ensure you don’t end up in one of these sticky situations further down the track.

Generally speaking the majority of tenants are well behaved and clean people, however there are a small percentage of people who increase the risk of renting out your investment property. We spoke with Andrew a Brisbane property management expert about how you can ensure you don’t get stuck with a tenant from hell. Here is what he has to say:

Meet the Potential Tenant in Person

meeting with property managerYou can usually get a vibe about a person from meeting them in person. They might seem shifty, or you might just not feel comfortable around them, which is a good enough reason to not let them move onto your property. As a property manager I meet a lot of renters and I can usually tell which ones are clean and well-behaved and which ones are going to be a hassle to deal with.

Ensure you meet any potential tenant in person before signing anything. That way you’ll have a better idea of what they are like and how you expect they will behave.

Check their History

Generally prospective tenants will give you references. Make sure you get in contact with all of them to see what they have to say. People won’t usually add people to their reference list unless they expect a positive review, but you may be able to “read-between-the-lines” or even get some stories out of the referee that may give you a better idea about the personalities of the prospective tenants.

Also make sure you do a background check on them the make sure they do not have any serious criminal history. This could save you from some major hassles in the long run.

Ask for the Maximum Bond Allowed

There are legal restrictions on how much bond is allowed to be, but why ask for any less than the maximum. In Queensland the landlords and property managers are restricted to taking a maximum of 4 times the weekly rent as bond. Why take any less? If your tenants are responsible they will get it all back when they move out again anyway.

Take these steps and you are much more likely to get a responsible, decent tenant in your rental property. If you are not a good judge of character, get someone you trust; a friend or someone from your local property management agency to speak with the applicants on your behalf. A little bit of extra effort when choosing a tenant can save you a lot of money, time and stress in the long run, so don’t be lazy!

If you’d like more tips like these, check out the Rental Guardians blog or click these links to follow Andrew on Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter.

 

DIY Pest Control in Your Home

As summer approaches us, bugs, insects, and pests once again prepare to come out in full force. Warmer weather means more food and this, combines with perfect breeding conditions means there will soon be a lot more ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other bugs to contend with around your home and garden. We spoke with Michael from Pest Control North Brisbane on some simple yet effective ways to keeps the oncoming onslaught at bay.

“While most people think cans of toxic bug sprays or hiring professional pest controllers are the only options, there are a number of homemade products that are effective against insects and even rodents.” He said. “You can purchase the ingredients cheaply, or often even find them around your home, and make safe repellants and deterrents for a fraction of the cost of store bought chemicals.”

Common household products that can be used to ward off unwanted nasties include:

  • Vinegar
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
  • Borax
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Beer and
  • Many common plants and herbs

For more information on what to do for specific pests that are bothering you take a look at this great infographic below.

If you need more specific information on how to create a natural, cheap and effective pest control solution for your particular problem, take a look online for more information. You’ll find a wealth of information on sustainable control methods which are effective for both residential and commercial applications. Simple do a search for “Natural Pest Control for Cockroaches”, or whatever bug it is that is currently bothering you. Not only does using home-made sprays and deterrents save you in the back pocket, they’re also better for the environment and safer for you, your family and your pets to be around.

If you’re still having trouble with the pests even after you’ve tried the home-made methods, it might be worth considering getting in touch with a professional in the field. Look for a pest controller who uses organic or natural methods whenever possible to ensure your family, and the environment, is protected as much as possible. If you’re in the Brisbane ares, give Michael and his team a call or get in touch with them via the interactive contact form on their website.

Remember, it’s always best if you can learn to live in harmony with nature, so please don’t injure or kill bugs or insects if they are not troubling you. We only advocate using extermination methods when absolutely necessary. Now get out there and enjoy this beautiful Australian spring weather!

Prevention: Better Than a Ton of Cure

We’re all about preventative medicine here at Ideas for Good. Making small changes to your life now can save you big-time in the long run. Preventative health maintenance can not only save you from severe pain and reduce deterioration of your senses as you age, but they can also save you a lot of money. Sure some of the following tips may cost you a little bit now, but it’s just a little short term pain for a lot of long term gain.

You may have read our recent article on the steps you can take to save your back from aches and pains, as you get older. Following are a few other tips on preventative health care for other areas that will also benefit you greatly in the long run.

Vision

It is inevitable that your vision will deteriorate as you age, but there are steps you can take to keep your eyesight in peak shape for as long as possible. In today’s society where everybody constantly has their head in their smartphone when they’re not

staring at their computer monitor at work or television at home, it makes sense to give your eyes a break. If you stare at a screen for long hours, try and take a break for a few minutes every hour or two and try and focus on things in the distance. Yes, you might have to go outside to do it but you’ll be happy you did when you can still read without wearing spectacles in your older years.

officeworker

Another benefit of stepping outdoors is that you give your eyes the chance to get some sunshine! A 2008 study comparing the vision of children in different countries, found that children who spent more time outdoors and therefore whose eyes were exposed to more sunshine, has much better vision than those who spent most of their time indoors. So why not take a break from reading this article and take a step outside for 5 minutes? We’ll still be right here when you get back!

Teeth

Nobody likes a visit to the dentist, but staying away for too long between visits will almost certainly cost you in the long run. If you maintain perfect dental practices and have a healthy diets with limited sugar intake then you might not have any dental issues, however for the majority of us who aren’t angels when it comes to eating junk food and brushing softly in a swirling motion twice a day then there are almost certainly some dental concerns on the horizon.

Here the best preventative health advice is to stop eating sweets and processed foods, but for those of us who can’t stand up to the sugar monster there are still steps you can take to ensure your teeth outlast your taste-buds’ cravings. One dentist in Boronia, near Ferntree Gully in Melbourne suggests that people get a check up at the absolute bare minimum once every two years. While more regularly is better and every 6 months is optimal, if you’re an avid dodger of dental visits once every few years is still better than nothing.

Many of us forget about our dental health once we finish schooling with compulsory dental visits. However, oral healthcare is one of the largest medical costs for Australian’s in their later years, so it’s highly beneficial to keep your teeth in good condition. Regular dental visits can help you notice problems before they escalate, and can save you thousands of dollars in dental bills. If you don’t want to have dentures by the time you turn 50, perhaps it’s time you booked for a checkup?

Hair

Nobody wants to lose his or her hair or go grey, but it’s another one of life’s inevitabilities. Many people just accept that it’s the way things have to be, but there is a way to maintain your youthful locks for longer. We spoke with our hairdresser friends about how they help their salon clients maintain their colourful and volumous hair. Ashlea has plenty to say on the topic.

“Most people don’t realize that hair is an extension of your body, so your hair reflects your bodies overall level of health. Is your hair going grey or thinning out at a young age? While genetics does have something to do with it, there’s a pretty good chance your lacking certain nutrients in your diet or your body is not healthy in some way.” Ashlea recommends to all her clients that they ensure they are getting enough nutrients through eating plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, and taking it easy on the booze. “I’ve noticed huge differences in my clients hair when they’ve changed their diets. Getting the proper vitamins and minerals through dietary changes can really make an impact!”

So there you have it. If you’re starting to thin or go grey early, perhaps your diet is to blame. Why not try a few weeks of eating less meats, carbs and fats and dining on more raw produce and see if it makes you feel different. Not only will it be good for your hair but it will also be good for your waistline.

That’s all from us today on preventative health, we’ll be sure to bring you more tips on the topic in the future though, so stay tuned to Ideas for Good for all the best advice and guidance on health, community and life.

Managing Stress When Organizing Your Next Corporate Event

With winter on its way out and the weather starting to heat up again, the people of Australia turn their thoughts towards Christmas.  While this time of year can be joyful for the majority of us, it can also be stressful for some. Santa probably has it the worst, but the poor employees who get stuck with the task of organizing the end of year corporate Christmas party for the entire office suffer greatly too.

While most of us working folk take events such as work Christmas parties for granted, a lot is involved in setting them up. Often the people behind the scenes have to do a great deal of organizing to make things run smoothly and they are rarely thanked for their efforts. Here at Ideas for Good, we love to have staff Christmas parties, but we like to share the workload of preparing and organizing so everyone gets a taste of how much work is really involved.

Generally speaking, the numerous things that need to be planned before any catered corporate function include:

  • Finding a suitable venue and organizing to hire it for the event
  • Ensuring that everyone in the company or companies (depending on what sort of event you are organizing) is told about the event in advance.
  • Finding a corporate caterer that has the capacity to feed all of the guests at the event.
  • Ensuring the food served is suitable for all of the patrons attending the event. Often people have special requirements i.e. vegan, halal, etc.
  • Making sure any speakers at the event are aware of what they need to say and when.
  • Ensuring there is enough seating and table space for all attendees.
  • The list goes on..

CateringplatterApart from finding the perfect venue with capacity to hold the correct number of guests, one thing we found was integral to the successful running of our events was to organize competent caterers. We spoke with the finger food catering service from last years party in Brisbane, the corporate catering specialists Art of Catering. They have a strong reputation in Brisbane and throughout Australia for their high standards in cuisine and customer service. Philip one of their party catering managers gave us the run down on what makes a good catering service and how that can make your job of organizing a function or event that much easier.

He gave us a list of things you should do before booking a corporate caterer. Here is what he recommended you do to make sure things run smoothly:

  1. Before you look for a company, work out what sort of food you want at your event. Different companies have different specialties, for example you don’t want to hire a catering team for your corporate function if they specialize in roast pork if there will be a large number of Jewish people or vegetarians at the event. Find out what demographic of people will be attending and select your shortlist of caterers accordingly.
  2. Speak with others who have organized similar events to your own, and find out their experiences with various companies.
  3. Look online and read reviews about others experiences. Often you might find a company who seem like they really know their stuff and will be perfect for your party, but online reviews may say otherwise. Do your research before booking anything; you’ll be glad you did.
  4. Call all of the caterers on your shortlist and see how well they can work with the specific requirements for your party. Often you can get a good feel for a company and their food, by speaking with one of their representatives.
  5. Once you have chosen the company you think you would like to have cater at your event, ask to taste test some of their food before the event to ensure it meats your expectations of quality and taste.

By following these steps you can ensure that you have a much greater chance of things running smoothly at your next event. There are so many things involved in setting up any party, but getting the finger food and meals done right is one of, if not the, most important. Do yourself a favour and do your research before booking anyone. Your fellow staff members may not thank you for it later, but they’ll be sure to remind you about it if things go wrong!

Olympic Park setting the Trend for Australian Water Reclamation Projects

“Did you know that Sydney Olympic Park has been reclaiming water since 2000?”

Built to showcase Australia on the global stage for the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney Olympic Park was built to impress. In the days before “Global Warming” turned to “Climate Change”, water management was almost as much of an issue as it is today. The highly developed design of the Park’s infrastructure and its advanced capabilities has been awarded for it’s excellence and emulated around the globe.

Sydney Olympic Park’s water system has been managed under the Water Reclamation and Management Scheme (WRAMS). The scheme was started in 2000 and was Australia’s first large-scale urban water treatment scheme. The system was following the integrated water model issued by Sydney Olympic Park Management (pictured below). It covers not only the sport facilities but also the surrounding supporting elements including: settlements, hotels, and apartments. WRAMS recycles water from sewage and storm-water for irrigation, ornamental water fountains and toilet flushing applications across all the connected facilities in the park and in the bordering suburb of Newington. This water is supplied to customers through separate meters and at a considerably lower cost than regular water.

Integrated Water Cycle

Sydney Olympic Park Integrated Water System (from: Sydney Olympic Park Authority)

Statistically, WRAMS saves more than 850 million litres of potable water each year by avoiding its use for non-drinking purposes. The sewer-mining function of WRAMS treats an additional 550 million litres of sewage annually, saving a huge amount of discharged flowing out into the open waters.

So What Exactly is Water Reclamation?

It al begins with the word reclaim. According to the online dictionary, it means to retrieve or recover something “previously” or “potentially” lost. In this case that something lost would be the water. So water reclamation is a process by which wastewater from a facility or a communal of facilities (residential, commercial or industrial) is cleaned using biological and chemical treatment so that the water can be returned to the environment safely. This process aims to maintain the sustainability of our water networks.

While the piping, infrastructure and design of Sydney Olympic Park was groundbreaking, it was neither the first nor the most impressive reclamation project of its kind. This first reclamation system ever was introduced in 1932 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, while the first Australian water recycling initiative was started in 1977. Since then it evolved from just settling pond technology, to advanced chemical additives, and now to high-tech selective membranes.

So How Does This Apply to Us?

The catchment management, stormwater harvesting and wastewater reprocessing at Olympic Park can all be emulated on a smaller scale but local councils or even in your own home. Ensuring that you don’t leave contaminants outside when rain can wash them into your own local water catchments is a start. This is a very common issue in Australia with car cleaning chemicals that are disposed of after cars have been washed.

On a smaller scale, installing a water tank for storm-water harvesting is a great idea that will benefit your local water system and your back pocket (For more information on saving water around your home see out article Tips on Saving Water From a Brisbane Plumber). Lastly, installing a greywater system is just like having your own wastewater-reprocessing unit and will allow you to reclaim some of your very own pre-loved water.

If you do decide to petition your local council to improve their water management or even install some water management utilities around you own home, ensure that you speak with a qualified plumber or water management expert for their opinion before proceeding with any project. The correct plumbing system is integral to hassle-free performance of any water reclamation system. Here, the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) and the 2008 Plumbing Regulations regulate water reclamation. A state of the art water reclamation system will not work effectively with badly designed plumbing system, as this may compromise the level of quality of the treated water.

Save Yourself a Trip to the Physio

Maintaining the Correct Posture while Sitting at your Desk

 

As more and more people are switching from an outdoor working environment to an office desk job, backaches and complaints are on the rise. This is because sitting in a chair for 8 hours straight is unnatural and puts unnecessary pressure on the lower spine. This pressure can cause stiffness and pain and if steps aren’t taken to alleviate it, these minor annoyances can become costly long-term injuries. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life visiting a chiropractor or physiotherapist, you need to be aware of the dangers of sitting down all day. This way, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

BackpainLike millions of other Australians who sit at a desk each working week, it is essential you learn how to position yourself with the correct posture to ensure the health and longevity of your spine. We spoke with several medical professionals about their experiences helping those who neglected twinges in their backs while sitting at work, and are now paying the price through regular visits to a physio.

Here are some tips on how you can save your back, brought to you by a well-known Brisbane physiotherapist at Elliot Campbell Mobile Physiotherapy:

Tip #1 – Maintain a Healthy Posture

It’s easy to forget about correct posture and slump or slouch at your desk. Not only is this bad for your spine but it can also reduce your productivity at work. Ensure your feet are kept shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground and your lower back in supported. If your chair does not support your lower back, you can use a rolled up towel or small cushion and place it behind you for support, or switch to a more ergonomic chair.

Tip #2 – Pivot With Your Feet

Although it takes slightly more effort – pivot on your chair by moving your feet, not twisting your spine. Especially if you haven’t been moving for a while, twisting your spine can cause undue stress on your back and is just asking for trouble. A twinge after a twist can imply muscle strain or even disc herniation. Ensure this doesn’t even happen by always pivoting with your entire body.

Tip #3 – Maintain Strength and Flexibility

Many of us exercise or go to gym, but how much attention do we really give to our backs? Stretching is the key to flexibility, which is key for improved efficiency and performance during physical activities.  Regular movement through our entire range of motion, and exercise to develop those muscles we rely on so much but often ignore, can save you. All physiotherapists will recommend balancing your muscle workouts across all body areas to maintain spinal alignment and prevent recurring back pain.

Tip #4 – Stay in Shape

Maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape through regular exercise. Walking to and from work or around a shopping centre once or twice a week is not enough! Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes a day to moderately aerobic movement, where your heart rate increases and you find yourself getting puffed. This will mean you will have to do more than just have a light stroll around a park. Breaking a sweat now could save you from having to see a physio later. Not only does it makes sense for your back health, but regular exercise has a plethora of positive benefits on other aspects of your life as well.

Tip #5 – Get Up and Move Around Occasionally

This seems like common sense but many physiotherapy visits could have been avoided if only people got up and moved around once in a while. Try and get out of your chair for 5 minutes at least once an hour. Go and get yourself a drink, or take a toilet break. Whatever the reason, it’s good for you to take a break from sitting at your desk and you’ll appreciate the refreshing break from your work.

Follow the steps listed above and you should be able to maintain a healthy posture and spine even if you must work for long hours at a deskjob. If you would like more information on how to keep yourself in good shape be sure to check out the Mobile Physio Brisbane Blog for regular articles like this one.

Giving Children The Best Start In Life

The world has changed a lot since we were children. Back in our day we didn’t have video game consoles, iPads, mobile phone apps, or even just mobile phones for that matter! Our toys were all real, usually educational, and often handmade. We certainly didn’t spend 24 hours a day sitting and staring at a screen on a TV or computer, either. You probably remember getting a lot of fresh air and sunshine playing in the great outdoors as a child. Unfortunately the youth of today are not so lucky and seem to have their face in their computer or phone all day, or at the very least with their earphones in listening to some manufactured bands’ latest hit.

Toddler with Educational ToysIt’s nonsensical to get caught up in the nostalgia of the past, but many parents of young children are concerned that the way their kids are being brought up and educated is not the healthiest. Conditioned by a barrage of clever and borderline unethical marketing and advertising, our youth are unaware that they are being manipulated on a daily basis to desire things they do not have. We are all affected by constant advertising but the youth who are not aware of the manipulative effects of repetitive exposure, are the most at risk.

Because of this, many parents are trying to get their kids away from all the high-tech toys and gadgets they have become accustomed to. Instead of letting their toddlers play with their iPads or cell phones, clever parents who want to help their children develop their mental abilities from a younger age are shunning technology for old-school educational toys. While some of the toys may seem a little archaic, the motivations behind them are far from it. Building a solid grounding in problem solving and logic is best developed through training and experience in real-world situations. Real educational games and toys have been shown to be far more beneficial to the mental growth and development in children, when compared to computer games.

One online Australian toy store is leading the way in helping toddlers and children develop their cognitive abilities. Renowned for their selection of toys and games with an emphasis on the growth of specific areas of mental maturity and quality, Educational Toys have brightened the lives of thousands of lucky children and parents across this great nation of ours. The founder of the company, Simone, has spend months searching the globe for the most educational and fun to use kids toys, while ensuring that quality standard were always met. Inspired by her desire to maintain an advanced learning platform for her own son, she has chosen only to sell toys that compliment her very high standards.

In a recent interview with the team here at Ideas For Good, she spoke of her love for educational games and toys and their benefits for children: “Children, especially young toddlers and babies are constantly learning through their interactions with the world. By playing computer games they are learning from an artificial environment, not getting an education from real life experiences. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this may negatively affect their cognitive growth and development. I love toys that promote intellectuality, I can watch my own child developing problem solving abilities as he plays. I can see him getting smarter, and this excited me.”

While we have discussed only one Australian online educational toy store in the above paragraphs, there are numerous other toy shops online and in a city near you. Doing a search online will yield a plethora of results in your local area, so take a look next time you are considering buying your child a new Xbox console or PS3 game. It may be hard to get your child to make the switch initially, but once you get them back into the great outdoors with the combination of some fresh air and a few new real toys for them to play with, (there’s no need to mention to them that they’re educational!) you may just have trouble getting them to come back inside for dinner.

Recycle More than Garbage for Good

The process of recycling is familiar to nearly all of us, as a foundation of the sustainable movement. Recyclable items have been a huge focus of urban growth in the most advanced countries. At this point it is almost laughable to some people that others do not recycle their leftover products and resources. While the revolution began with red, blue, and green bins alongside trash can every week, the recycling revolution has grown into a new monster of its own.

People are coming up with weird and wonderful ways to reuse their waste; from garden beds made of old tyres to houses made from recycled bottles. This evolving creature is changing the world for good in unforeseeable ways. The real teacher in this environment has been time and distant communication. By using these two resources over the last 20 years we have been introduced to an obvious truth. Hand me downs are global.

recycleIt seems that the modern worlds run almost a decade ahead of the under developed second world nations in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia. Visiting these regions is like stepping into a time machine and heading back to the 80’s or 90’s. It’s a little odd at first how consistent it is while at the same time how jarring it can be. It is not uncommon to find 80’s t-shirts being worn by kids listening to Britney spears and talking on flip cell phones. The clash of cultures is indicative of an obvious truth. Recycling doesn’t just keep our modern world cleaner and our environment healthier. It also helps facilitate the transfer of goods from the controlling consumers to the eager less fortunate. This recognition has now added a new philanthropic and sustainable culture type approach to recycling not only plastic and paper but electronics, clothing, and other accessories.

Mobile Phones

Companies like TechPayout help people sell a cell phone at incredible prices because they know that they can sell it in another country where the demand will always be high. Modern factories are designed for the modern world. To supply the rest of the world we’ll need a larger infrastructure for manufacturing. This will most likely be a lot of distributed 3D printing factories than our current model. The moral of the story is that there are philanthropic entrepreneurs who are finding these eco-sweetspots in business and raking in the money as they make the world a better place without overcharging or underselling.

Used Tyres

Thousands upon thousands of worn and used tyres are scrapped and dumped illegally each year. These tyres end up as a health hazard and cause untold amounts of environmental damage. In Australia alone, 500 000 tonnes of tyres are replaced every single year, but all the used tyres need to go somewhere right?

Working within the industry, DTL have been encouraging all of their customers to be responsible with their tyre waste. As a wholesale exporter of Chinese tyres, they realize the impact their end product can have on the planet if they are not properly disposed of and recycled.

Companies like Tyrecycle are taking things a step further. They are partnering with industries that have a lot of old rubber waste and giving them a new life. From athletics tracks to brake pads, insulation to alternative fuels; recycled rubber has a plethora of uses.

Life is full of these recycling type solutions to our global expansion and limited resources. In order to have more ideas for good we have to get everyone in the world the basic resources they need in order to be able to liberate their minds to focus on the goals, not the needs. By donating or selling at a discounted price, your old goods you can not only make some spare cash to cover new purchases, but you can also change someones life forever halfway around the world. Not a bad way to get a new iPhone.

Tips on Saving Water from a Brisbane Plumber

With the continuously increasing costs of utilities and the ever-growing public concern for the environment, it just makes sense to learn good habits when it comes to water usage. We spoke with a plumber from one of the most respected plumbing companies in Brisbane to bring you some tips on how you can save on your water bill, and help the planet at the same time.

plumbingtipsHaving worked in the industry for over a decade, John from Citi Plumbing has seen many changes over the years. “The most dramatic change of all is probably the massive increases in the cost of water.” He said. “Utilities costs used to be just a miniscule part of the family budget, but the ever increasing price hikes have seen them eating up a larger and larger portion of the average family’s weekly earnings.” Having been in the industry for so long, Daniel was a wealth of knowledge on all things to do with plumbing and gas-fitting. He blew our mind with all the crazy stories about how much the industry has changed in the past 10 years and his extensive knowledge about anything and everything the team here at Ideas for Good questioned him about in relation to fluid mechanics and plumbing. So here they are just for you; plumbing tips from one of the most renowned and experienced plumbers Brisbane has to offer!

Tip #1: Change Your Own Washers

If you have old taps that are starting to drip, do yourself a favour and learn how to change your own washers! You could call in a plumber but that’s likely going to cost you around $100, and it’s only a simple 5 minute job! All that’s involved is turning off your mains waters supply, unscrewing the leaky tap, and replacing the worn or disintegrated washer. If you don’t know what you’re doing take a look on YouTube for plenty of DIY plumbing videos that will show you quickly and easily how simple a job changing a washer really is. Leaking taps cost Australian’s thousands of dollars each year. Don’t let it happen to you! Ensure you conserve water as much as you can, by keeping all your washers in top condition.

Tip #2: Convert Your Toilet to Dual Flush

While all new toilets that we install here in Brisbane are now dual flush, many older homes still have single flush toilets. These old cisterns are notoriously inefficient and will be costing you when your water bills come in. Consider installing a dual flush system and save up to 35 000 litres of water each year! Toilets are the third biggest user of household water (behind showers and washing machines) so upgrading to a new system can make a big difference. Installing a dual flush toilet is fairly simple even for someone with little or no experience as an amateur plumber, but if you don’t want to take on the job yourself there are always local plumbers in your area who are willing to lend a hand. It might cost you a few hundred dollars now, but it will end up saving you, and the environment big-time in the long-run.

Tip #3: Install a Water-Saving Shower Head

Another simple way to conserve water is to installing a water-saving shower head. These are incredible easy to install, much like washers except you may not even need to turn off the water at the mains (depending on your type of shower). Again, there are plenty of DIY guides online and videos on YouTube to guide you if you need assistance with the install. Like all of the above methods of saving water, a local plumber will be able to help you with the job, but they are so non-technical that you may even prefer to hire a handyman for the job, who may charge slightly less for his time.

Tip #4: Install a Greywater System

If you really want to conserve water, why not install a greywater system to save all the waste water that gets drained away every time you wash the dishes or take a shower. These can be fairly expensive to install depending on the scope and size of the system, however simple DIY units can be almost as effective as professionally installed ones, and can save you from wasting extra water on watering your garden and washing your car etc. Do some research online and think about what type of system you want before contacting a local plumber to attain a quote.

These are just some obvious tips, there are a plethora of other ways you can save water and money but this is a good place to start. If you have a outdoor swimming pool consider getting a cover to put on it when it’s not in use to stop evaporation, and consider getting a rainwater tank if you’re really serious about saving. For more great ideas like this, take a look on the Citi Plumbing Blog which we update with great advice and ideas every month.

Supporting your Local Community

For many small to medium sized businesses, getting involved in their local communities is not just a great way to drum up new business, but can also be very rewarding. There are always a large number of projects going on in any given community: fund raising for local schools, community garden projects, petitioning councils to repair dangerous or badly designed intersections or crossings. The list goes on.

In the multimedia era, when it seems like more and more social interaction is moving from the real world to online, it can also be quite refreshing to get involved in you local community and do things that benefit your neighbours and the area you live in. The team here at Ideas For Good encourage you, the people of Australia, to get out in your community and make a positive difference. Get involved and get your hands dirty! On our own we can only do so much, but when we combine our efforts there are no limits to what can be achieved!

CorsoStreetPartyOne small local business making a difference to their small community in Seven Hills, Brisbane is Unsurpassable Hair Salon. The owners of this cute hair and make-up salon tucked away on a small street in suburbia decided to do some fundraising to aid a purpose built centre in Logan for misfortunate children. The event is called The Corso Street Party and is held yearly. The salon managers and hairdressers have all been heavily involved in preparation for the event, and are excited about how it will play out.

Not only has this event attracted some big name sponsors like the South-East Advertiser and local radio station Nova 109.6FM, but many smaller businesses have been getting behind the community driven movement as well, in the hopes of giving back to the people that keep them in business.

Auscomms CB and two-way radio suppliers have generously donated several sets of walkie talkies to the fundraising street party. Dubbed “The Corso Street Party” based on the name of the street it is being held on, the fundraiser will take a lot of organization and setting up by the local businesses and volunteers, so the addition of quality, high-end CB radios will benefit them greatly. After the party is over, the walkie talkies will be given to the staff at “Empowering our next Generation” the centre for children in Logan for use by staff and security there.

If you are a Brisbane local and would like to support community initiatives like this, drop by Unsurpassable Hair Salon at 14/16 The Corso, Seven Hills sometime and find out more about their next big fundraiser. Not only are the Unsurpassable hair stylists renowned for being some of the best hairdressers Brisbane has, they are also loved throughout the local community for their kindness.

This is just one example of a community initiative taking place in Australia as we speak. A quick search online reveals there are thousands if not tens of thousands more events, fundraisers and support movements on the horizon. If you feel like you could be doing something more rewarding with your time why not get up and get involved? Not only will you be able to make a difference, but you’ll feel good about it and make new friends. We can’t all be as driven as the team at the Unsurpassable Salon, but we can get behind and support the leaders, just like Auscomms and The South-East Advertiser have, and donate or lend a hand to help make Australia, and the world, a better place.