I had another topic planned for the blog post this week but a conversation I had with girlfriends yesterday inspired a change. I had lunch with three girlfriends yesterday. It was a typical “girls lunch” with lots of talking about our kids, summer plans, what we’ve been doing since we last saw each other. One of the ladies said that she recently re-carpeted her home. As the conversation flowed, she stated that it was a good opportunity to get rid of some of her things that she and family members had accumulated. She had cleared stuff out all of the closets and under furniture in all the rooms that were getting new carpet. One of the things she decided to get rid of was her wedding dress. Wow! She didn’t seem to agonize over this decision at all. It had been stored under a bed for some time. One friend told her to not get rid of the dress - that she would be sorry. Another friend agreed that she should not part with the dress. I was the last to comment. What to do? What do to??? I still have my wedding dress but it was also my mother’s wedding dress so lots of sentimentality in that one garment. I was making an excuse really. The truth of the matter is that it‘s stuffed in a storage bag in my closet and it takes up space. I tell myself that I should donate it but I can’ t bring myself to do it. I tell myself that MAYBE one of my sons will want have my dress made into a Baptismal gown for one of their children. What would my mom say is she knew that I no longer had the dress? And I’m a Professional organizer??? The guilt and the potential regret is very real. So... I hang on to it. This is exactly what my clients go through when making decisions to keep or donate their things. I understand that it can be very emotional. As an organizer, I tell my clients that if they are not honoring their possessions they should pass them on. As a human being, I realize how hard it is to part with some of our belongings. The wedding dress conversation caught me off-guard. Usually, it’s very easy for me to decide “to keep” or “not to keep” but this particular item is tough. For now, I’ll keep my wedding dress. The space it takes in my closet is worth it, and, who knows - maybe some day it will be re-purposed into a Baptismal gown.
In honor of Earth Day this Sunday, I want to continue to focus on “green” organizing. Last week’s blog focused on eco-friendly paper organizing. This week, we’re going to look at how we can incorporate “the three R’s” into organizing our homes.
REDUCE - Think about EVERY purchase you make and ask yourself if you really need this item. If it’s something that you rarely need or use, consider borrowing from a friend or renting. Sometimes we re-purchase items that we have at home but just don’t know where to find them. I see this scenario so often while organizing with clients. They will say “I was wondering where that was and I just went out and bought another.”
RE-USE - Shop your house first! One of my clients re-purposed a magazine file into a holder for plastic wrap, foil and sandwich bags for her pantry. When I’m helping clients get organized, we almost always make use of the storage containers they already have so they don’t need to make a new purchase. See my board on Pinterest called "New Uses for Everyday Items" for more great ideas on how to reuse and re-purpose things you already have around the house. http://pinterest.com/jsjanorschke/new-uses-for-everyday-items/
RECYCLE - Last week we talked about recycling paper but did you know that almost everything in your house can be recycled? I’m not talking about the basics like bottles, cans and plastics that go out to curbside recycling. I’m talking about electronics, cell phones, clothing, appliances, ink cartridges, sports equipment and oil. Even building materials can be recycled/donated to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Computer search recycling options/locations for the stuff you no longer have use for or call a Professional Organizer. Finding donation and recycling options is typically part of our service.
As an Organizer, I encourage my clients to reduce, re-use and recycle. As a mom, I am continually making little changes to be more environmentally responsible. I hope that you will think about little things that you can do to incorporate the three “R”s in your home to live and organize in a more eco-friendly way.
Spring is in the air and many of us are enjoying the budding trees and the flowers blooming. It's a perfect time to take a look at how we can be kinder to the earth with the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd. One very simple way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle is to incorporate paper and mail organizing strategies in your home. Below are some easy ways to reduce the paper clutter and do your part in conserving earth's resources.
-The first step is reducing the amount of paper that comes into your home. Begin by opting out of unwanted mail. https://www.catalogchoice.org/ or https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/home.action This is a win win situation because it reduces the clutter in your house as well as helping the environment. Both of these are free services so you have nothing to lose. Another option for those of you that have a smart phone, is a new app that I recently started using called Paper Karma https://www.paperkarma.com/. This is free and easy to use because you simply take a picture of the mail that you no longer want to receive. The people at Paper Karma contact the Mailer and remove your name from the distribution list.
-Online billing is another strategy to reduce paper in your home. Automatic bill pay is similar to online billing/banking and can eliminate any late fees Both of these banking/billing options not only reduce printing and mailing expenses but also save time, postage, and potential late fees.
-Access newspapers and magazines online. Many of the newspapers and magazines that you may subscribe to will be accessible on an e-reader or computer. Often times, the online subscription rate is less expensive than receiving the paper version. Also, if you notice that newspapers and magazines are piling up and going unread, stop the subscription and see if you really miss it.
-Lastly, We receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail each year. Recycle all unwanted paper that doesn’t need to be shredded including old phone books, newspapers and even cereal boxes. You’ll be keeping the paper out of the landfill and saving trees. About 500,000 garbage truck loads dump junk mail into landfills and incinerators every year.
Next week, I'll continue with eco-friendly organizing strategies in honor of Earth Day. I would love to hear what you and your family are doing to live a "greener" life. Comment below.
What lives in your garage besides the car? As an Organizer, it is not uncommon to see garages that are not being utilized for their intended purpose. Cars don’t live in the garage because it’s full of so much stuff. In many parts of the country, there are no basements so the garage becomes extra storage space. Often, the garage has become an over-flow for clutter from inside the house.
Let’s refer to the blog from last week - The Four D’s of Organizing -
-DECIDE what you want to use the garage for. Do you want to house the your vehicle in the garage? What about tools, toys, etc.
-DIVIDE the items that you have decided to store in the garage into categories. Group like items together. If storage bins are needed, use clear, plastic containers and label. Cardboard boxes are not good for storage especially in the garage because they can get damp and attract bugs and rodents.
-DESIGNATE the groups of like items into “zones”. You may have a zone for gardening supplies, tools, etc. Look vertically for storage space and add shelving if necessary. Be sure shelves are deep and sturdy enough to hold the containers and items you intend to put on them. Store items that are rarely used on higher shelves.
-DONATE bikes and other sports equipment that kids have outgrown, shop tools that haven’t been used in years, camping and fishing equipment that you think you will use "someday".
The weather is perfect to clean out and organize the garage. Get the whole family involved and make it a fun weekend project. By getting the whole family involved, they will also know where to put things away to keep it nice and tidy.
If you would like more ideas, check out the garage organizing board on Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/jsjanorschke/garage/