Spring Into Action – the 411 on Recycling and Disposal

Most of us want to waste less and recycle more in an effort to take care of Planet Earth. However, the “who, what, when, where and how” can be confusing and foil our best intentions. This causes clutter in our homes and a pang of guilt in our minds.

With Earth Day approaching, let’s make the effort to shred our papers, recycle outdated electronics, and collect and properly dispose of no longer needed or expired hazardous household products and prescriptions. Below are many useful links to spring you into action:

GREATER PHILADELPHIA AREA:
Check counties below for local recycling information and upcoming hazardous waste and shredding events in your area:

Unused Medication:

Electronic Recycling:

Community Shredding Events:

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protections provides information and resources for Recycling & Disposal Programs in our area. Tips for handling composting, motor oil, tires, electronics, waste reduction, drug take-back programs, and household hazardous waste are also offered.

NEW JERSEY:
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Recycling website will answer most of your recycling questions. Find out what upcoming events are happening in your area by clicking on “Your County’s Recycling” page.

Unused Medications:

Electronics:

DELAWARE:
The Delaware Solid Waste Authority covers all of your recycling and disposal questions in their handy and easy to follow website. You will want to bookmark this one!

Unused Medications:

The benefits of recycling help your environment, your community, your home and you!

“Recycling turns things into other things. Which is like MAGIC!”
-Author Unknown

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GO Month 2017

When Laura Kelleher saw a Facebook contest to win a room makeover, she didn’t realize the full effect of uploading a photo of her messy playroom. The contest was the first annual ‘Home Makeover Facebook Contest’ run by NAPO-GPC as a way to celebrate January as GO Month, or ‘Get Organized Month,’ in order to offer encouragement to people to start the New Year off with less clutter, less stress, and more clarity. After being selected as one of five finalists, the Kelleher family was selected as the 2017 winner.

Laura and her husband Tom, of Horsham, PA, live in a quiet suburban neighborhood with their three active children. The playroom, which is the first visible space upon entering the house, is a hub of creativity and imagination, particularly for the two older boys, ages 6 and 10, who build with Legos, collect dinosaurs, decorate the room with their artwork, and have a large collection of cars, trucks and collectibles. Then there is their 10-month-old baby sister who is just starting to explore the world of her big brothers. Getting the playroom organized was becoming an urgent need with stray Lego pieces within their baby sister’s reach.

The overarching goal for organizing the room was based on the fact that both of their sons are autistic. The lack of a clear system for the boys to access their toys and art projects created stress and an inability to function smoothly at home. Although both Tom and Laura knew their boys would respond well to systems and order, the project was too overwhelming for them to tackle on their own.

So on March 31, eight organizers from NAPO-GPC volunteered their time and talents to plunge into the Kelleher’s playroom. After clearing the room of all toys, books, and games, the professional organizers assembled five IKEA shelving units, sorted and categorized the vast variety of toys, and then brought it all together into a beautiful, well-ordered system. Laura and Tom worked alongside the team making decisions and securing the units to the wall.  When completed, there was an entire section devoted to Legos, a bookcase for all craft items and books, and bins specifically dedicated to toddler toys.

The team completed the makeover in under five hours and then they waited for the boys to arrive home from school. It was like a surprise party and Christmas rolled into one! Now the brothers could rediscover their treasures and everything had a place! Bins were labeled and lids protected against the dangers of small pieces. No longer a stress zone, the family could enjoy the playroom as intended.

Click on the above title to learn more about the featured author.

Posted in Clutter, Family, Home, Organizing, Organizing Products, organizing toys, Project Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello Old Friend

So, I’ve been saying that a lot lately and not to who you would think. It’s been to inanimate objects! You know, the smoothie you start drinking again because you are going to give ‘that diet’ another go. Why do we address people and things this way? A matter of playful affection towards a friend who we’ve known since grade school? Used in jest as we put on our bikini for the first time in the Summer?

As we sort through our things, we go through this playful or sometimes sinister game with these items:

  • Is it really old and needs to be tossed? Has it worn out its welcome?
  • Is it really a friend? Was it kind to you over the years? You know, that go-to outfit that never disappointed?

Play the “Friends, Acquaintances and Strangers” game created by organizing guru Judith Kolberg:

  • Hold each item and evaluate how often you use it and if it has a home;
    • Frequent use = Friend
    • Occasional use = Acquaintance
    • Rare or no use = Stranger
  • Keep your friends, some acquaintances and purge your strangers

Friends come and go and so do the things in our lives. If it doesn’t bring you joy, it’s time to say adieu. Keep the items you hold valuable close to you and enjoy!

Click on the above title to learn more about the featured author.

Posted in Closet, Clothing, Home, Organizing, Wardrobe Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pitfalls and the Power of Pinterest

namos-picture2

There are a lot of social networking sites out there. There’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; but what about Pinterest, “The World’s Catalog of Ideas”

Pinterest members can create an unlimited number of themed virtual pinboards of products and ideas that they are interested in such as organization for example! In turn, these virtual boards can be followed by others and “pins” can be “repinned” onto their own boards. As social networking sites are pretty much all interlinked, your ideas can be shared with a wider audience that just those who are users of Pinterest.

As with almost everything, there are positives and negatives. No worries though, the positives far outweigh the negatives! Those negatives seem to vanish after the learning curve.

Let’s get those pitfalls out of the way first. I’ve been a Pinterest user for several years now and quickly learned the following things:

  • It can become a “time suck”! On the first evening that I joined Pinterest and started scrolling through pins, I found myself warmly inundated with tons of “pins” featuring all of the things that I loved! I bonded with strangers who shared my interests and set off to create my own boards. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning!
  • Leading to procrastination! I found myself wanting to scroll and pin and scroll and pin all day and night. I found myself putting off a small task here or there and that’s when I knew I was stuck on Pinterest. Get it…stuck, as in pinned, on Pinterest?!
  • And then to frustration! After I had been following boards for a while, including those of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, I learned that it takes a long time to scroll to the bottom of the main feed. However, I am a persistent person and always tried to get there, even if it was 1 am!

Now for the good stuff, otherwise known as the power of Pinterest!

  • It can keep you organized! Pinterest allows you to virtually store your ideas. This is much better than clipping pages from catalogs and articles from magazines that you would then have to figure out where to store them. Who needs all that paper clutter!

For example, create a board for your pantry which could use an overhaul! Give it a fun Name like Giddy Up, Tidy Up My Pantry!

After creating the board, use the Description area as a place to keep measurements of the heights between shelves as well as the length and depth of the shelves. Add in any products that you think you’ll want, that are on the top of your head, so that you won’t forget to look for them later. Having this quick reference guide will come in handy as you are doing your shopping!

Then decide if you want to keep the board a Secret! Maybe you’ll want the big reveal to show off on your other social media! You can share your secret with anyone you want though, these are your Collaborators.

  • The search bar can take you anywhere you can imagine! If you’re having a bad day and nothing beats looking at cute baby animals, then type in cute baby animals and voila! Create a new board and save your favorites. They will be there for your viewing pleasure anytime.
  • You can shop! Eek! Yes, one stop shopping! After you do a search, say for organizing products, you’ll see another menu of choices directly below. Click on buyable pins and they are all organizing products that you can buy DIRECTLY from companies, like Wayfair for example. Click on Add to Bag and it will show up in your shopping bag at the top of the page just like any other online retailer. How cool is that? Obviously the more specific you get with a search, the closer the products will be to the type you are looking for such as organizing products for pantry. No more shopping retailer sites one at a time!

However you decide to use Pinterest just have fun with it. Search for me at Open Doors Organizing Services…and keep an eye on that clock!

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Five Organizing Tips for Living in a Small Space

Is it possible to live in a small area? You bet it is!

Milk crate used as a purse holder
Milk crate used as a purse holder

Most of us know people living in small houses or apartments, going to college and living in a dorm for the first time, or moving from a big home to a smaller one. Even if you don’t, you may have experienced one of these situations yourself at some point.

Did you feel challenged trying to fit everything in your new space? Does the person you know feel challenged trying to do the same thing?

If you follow these five (5) tips, it really is easier than you think:

1. Divide the space into specific areas for each activity (e.g., bill paying, watching TV, hobbies, laundry, reading, or studying). Furniture and rugs can be used to separate the different activities. For instance, your bedroom may have to act as an office plus a place to sleep and get dressed. Use a desk and file cabinet in one area of the room and the bed, bureau, and night stand in another. Keep the items in their specified areas; do not let them wander into the other activity areas.

2. Use milk crates on shelves that allow of extra space between them and the ceiling. Position the milk crate so the opening faces out. This way you’ll be able to store things both inside the milk crate and on top of it. It acts as a second shelf.

3. Use over-the-door storage units or command strips to hang things on the back of doors, in closets or on walls. You can hang items in or on them to get the items off your bed, chair, table, or desk. Don’t let them end up on the floor. The best part about command strips is that they do not damage the walls.

4. Use wall shelves to take advantage of vertical space. You can use your walls from floor to ceiling for storage.

5. Take advantage of the space under your bed. Use clear plastic bins that are specifically designed for under the bed. Measure the amount of clearance you have between the floor and the bed frame to make sure the bin fits. An option that affords you more storage space is raising the bed.

Just think, when living in a smaller area, you’ll have less to take care of. That frees up your time to do the things you want to do!

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Mind Space

“We have thoughts, feelings and emotions, but we are not our thoughts feelings or emotions” Frances Vaughn

Mental Clutter is more mysterious and different from physical clutter. It hides, and resides in the mind disguised. It can be defined as an abundance of thoughts, and self-talk swirling around in our headspace! Layers of current thoughts, past thoughts and thoughts waiting to be triggered will occupy the mind space. Then if emotions arise, the mental clarity is gone and the cluttered brain exists.

On one level, mental clutter can be caused by:

  • having an excessive amount of thoughts or to do’s
  • not having clarity or direction
  • being engaged in an abundance of tasks and actions

On a deeper level, other mind clutter may not show up on your radar screen, depending on how self-aware you are. Things appear as they are, and we say it’s just the way it is!! We are blindsighted by the thought. Here’s one example: perfection. The thought of being perfect exists, regardless of why, or how it is there. You hold onto the belief that being perfect is the way to be and think. There isn’t much freedom in having this thought. It sabotages actions, and brings on negative self-talk.

Here’s what is true: we are in total control of what we choose to think or believe. Although what thoughts are in the mind can come from limiting beliefs you hold on to and live by. Sometimes these are generalizations, ideas or interpretations that you hold on to and then forget you did. At some time you may have felt strongly connected to them but now you’ve grown and changed and they don’t fit! All these thoughts may be laying dormant until something triggers it to surface. Next, you are living a life that’s not yours.

Try looking at where this thought, or belief came from. You may realize the roots of this. With introspection you realize that it doesn’t serve you anymore at this time. It’s time to give it up and free yourself. What I mean by this is, you may have lost touch with what’s really important to you – now, in the present. Maybe at one time all these thoughts, beliefs, and truths matched what was important to you. You can ask yourself, how true is this belief? The end result is living true to who you are, and who you say you are. In any given moment you can “CHOOSE” what you want to think or what doesn’t fit. The choices you make can motivate and uplift your spirit. Staying true to yourself brings inner peace.

Mindfulness and awareness will be the guide for clearing the mental clutter.
The principles of organizing apply here:

Assess what’s going on.

Take Action – Either jot down all that’s in your head until you feel empty. Seek support, like someone to talk or vent to. This helps in getting all the stuff out of your head.

Sort what thoughts to hold on to and why.

Identify what doesn’t serve you anymore. Ask yourself if any of those thoughts are draining you and your energy? Can you rephrase your thoughts so they empower you?

Choice  With acknowledgment, awareness and conscious choice, a clearing takes place. The result can be more head space! This is freeing. You may notice your energy higher.  You may feel like you shed a layer or two, feel lighter, and quite positive.

Space has been created and quietness of mind and peace attained – You now have a blank slate.

Posted in Clutter, General, healthy living, Organizing, Productivity, Spiritual and Holistic | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment