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Author: Anna SicalidesConsignment Donating healthy living Organizing Recyling

Earth Day Ideas from a Professional Organizer

Recycle Tree

Spring is finally springing up all around us, daffodils are blooming and the forsythia is blossoming into that amazing yellow color.

April Is The Month of Renewal

Easter and Passover are a time of new beginnings. April is also the month we celebrate the earth. Earth Day began in Philadelphia in 1970 (Belmont Plateau anyone?). In the organizing and productivity industry, we consider every day Earth Day! When we work with clients on a home organizing project, we teach our clients about recycling. There is so much that we recycle to help preserve our earth. Here are some of the resources that we use to locate the most appropriate place to donate and recycle in our area:

  • Rubbish: Your county, township, and trash hauler are your primary resources – their websites have information on what you need to recycle, how it needs to be prepared and when their hazardous waste and recycling events are (usually in the spring and fall).
  • ReSale: Selling things is another form of recycling, Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor.com are easy and local. You can offer things for FREE on these sights as well.
  • RecycleGoogle.com “what you want to recycle+ your zip code” will help you find more resources. Earth911 – This is an informative website that also has lists of locations that accept all types of material for recycling by your zip code.
    Freecycle – This is a community board where you can post items that you no longer want and hopefully there is someone out there who is looking for what you want to move on to a better home. I found a woman who needed notebooks, I had tons of notebooks…she came by and picked them up one day! Out of my office! Professional organizer favorite. Grocery Stores – are great places to recycle those pesky plastic bags. Whole Foods -currently has containers for corks, plastic, and cell phones Mom’s Organic Market– the most comprehensive in our area has drop off bins for: bar wrappers, Brita filters, cell phones, batteries, drink pouches, food squeeze pouches, glasses, health & beauty packaging, cork, plastic and shoes- they also have other collections for specific items throughout the year, Christmas lights is a popular one. Staples and Best Buy take most electronic recycling. Goodwill– recycles electronics and fabric
  • Shredding: There are shredding events weekly in many locations- check local websites or do an online search for “shredding + your zip code”. Staples and your local UPS Store have shredding services
  • Donate:
    • Local Libraries– accept books and other media. Do not give them old text books, encyclopedias or VHS tapes that you recorded from your TV. Call your library to double check.
    • Habitat for Humanity -These folks use your donations to raise capital for their projects. I have had them pick up a jacuzzi, doors, furniture and windows. Call your local store because what they accept changes depending on what they have in stock, sometimes they will pick up.
    • Clothing and household goods including small furniture can be donated to Goodwill, Green Drop, various veterans groups, your local hospital and thrift shops.
  • Hazardous Waste: Local townships and counties regularly hold Hazardous Waste collection events. Check their websites. This is a guide for South Eastern PA. Look carefully at what is accepted.

These organizations will pick up from your home:

Consignment stores are an option as well.

However currently there is an abundance of stuff that people are getting rid of, they are very picky, so what you try to consign has to be in very good condition.

Finally, there are many auction houses that have niches that may meet your needs.

Depending on what you have there is usually an auction house or specialty sale that items can go to. When you sell at auction houses and consignment shops there is a fee usually between 30% and 50%.

Be kind to our earth…

 

Author: Vali HeistClutter Consignment Donating General Home Organizing Storage

Determining The Life Cycle of Stuff Helps You Get Organized

vali-pictureWhile I was going through items in a kitchen pantry with one of my clients, she commented on how easy it was to organize in the kitchen. When I asked why, she said that if food is expired it takes the decision out of her hands about whether to get rid of it or not. However, with the rest of the stuff in the home, she has to make the decision whether it has ‘expired’ or not. Deciding on the life cycle of your belongings is not easy, but when your spaces become too crowded or you can’t find your keys for the third time in one week, it’s time to take action.

The life cycle concept is one way to work through the backlog of the accumulated clutter in the home and as a strategy to constantly weed out stuff. Our stuff has a life cycle that begins with it being most useful, most beautiful and most beloved. Over time our stuff becomes less useful (obsolete technology; items that wear out or break), less beautiful (fashion trends or our tastes change), and less beloved (reminders of past periods in our family’s life that may not be so important).

When you think about all of the items you bring in to your home on a weekly or monthly basis, it boggles the mind. But if you don’t take out as much as you bring in, over time you will begin to feel like your stuff is taking over. If some of your belongings are starting to become CRAP (Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure), it’s time to consider whether those belongings are part of your family’s present and/or future. Keeping items from the past that no value or meaning to the present day leaves less room for additional items (or opportunities) for the future. For example, as your children grow, do you hold on to the toys they used to love, even though they don’t want them anymore?

Finally, if you are keeping items because you think they might be worth a lot of money, there are ways to find out. One way is to look on Ebay. Is anyone selling the item now? Has anyone sold that item in the last two weeks and for how much? Reputable auctioneers are also good resources for evaluating antiques and collectibles. Mass produced goods from 1960 or later have less of a chance to increase in value. But remember, regardless of what items may have been worth in the past; items are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them today.

When your clutter starts to take over your home, reevaluate whether the life cycle of those items is over or not. Someone else may be able to give your unneeded items a whole new life.

Clutter Quote: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus, ancient Greek philosopher

Author: Amanda JeffersonCloset Clothing Consignment Organizing Wardrobe Management

Transform your Wardrobe in Just 5 Hours

Do you ever open your closet and think, “I have nothing to wear!”? Do you ever feel like you have certain “go-tos” and you ignore the rest of your closet? Do you keep things because they might come back into style?

Imagine a different scenario. Imagine a closet filled with only those clothes that ‘spark joy,’ clothes that make you feel confident and amazing, clothes that are comfortable and cared for. In just five hours, it can!

The New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Japanese de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo, teaches you how. As a member of the first class of KonMari consultant trainees, I love spreading the KonMari idea of #organizetheworld. Please see below my own take on how you can tackle the clothing category using the KonMari method, step by step.

Step One:
Find a time in your schedule when you can get five hours, distraction free. No kids. No husbands. No phones. This is YOUR time.

Step Two:
Pile every item of clothing on the bed.

  • Make sure ALL of your clothes are washed.
  • Drag those off-season clothes out of the basement.
  • Bring up those coats from the entry-way closet.
  • Pull out those old bridesmaid dresses.

Take a ‘before’ picture!

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Step Three:
Divide the clothes into broad categories like: Tops, Bottoms, Skirts, Pajamas, etc. Don’t worry about deciding what to keep yet. Focus on sorting, not discarding.

Step Four:
Now this is where the magic really comes in. You are going to take each and every item of clothing in your hand and ask yourself: Does this spark joy? Pay attention to how the garment makes you feel. Does it give you a jolt of happiness? Do you love wearing it? Or do you frown, think about feeling frumpy, or have a bad memory?

A few tips:

  • Get quick wins
    Start with a smaller category so that you can feel the momentum.
  • Make notes
    As you go, write down items that need to be replaced or upgraded.
  • Take a break
     Midway, take a 15-minute break. Have some tea and a light snack.
  • Take stock
     Take stock at the four hour mark. You might need to leave a few categories for homework, like shoes and bags.

Step Five:
Put all of your donations and items to sell right in the car! While you have them sorted, you can even enter the donations into an app like It’s Deductible or onto a printed Goodwill checklist. You can save thousands at tax time with donations!

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Step Six:
Put all of the clothing that sparks joy back into the closet and folded in their drawers. To learn how to do Marie Kondo’s special folding method, visit this video. Think about using all that extra space in your closet to display your favorite items. I put my favorite books and my grandmother’s milk glass on the top shelf of my closet, where all of my bulky sweaters used to fall over onto each other. Some people hang artwork inside the doors or display wedding photos.

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A few tips:

  • Someday = Never
     If you find yourself thinking, “I might wear this someday,” think again. Think about your life today.
  • Don’t get bogged down on sentimental items
     Set aside sentimental items. Can you turn that fabric into a cool pouch? Can you display it?
  • Beware of the temptation of ‘selling’
     It’s tempting to want to sell your items. Be aware that consignors are VERY selective. Often, you will get more back by donating the item and cashing in on a tax refund.

Now sit back, take that after photo, and enjoy! After just five hours and six steps, you’ve created a closet that gives you joy, easy mornings and a boost of confidence.

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Author: Darla PompilioConsignment General healthy living Recyling Shopping

Good Habits for Earth Day 

Earth Day - April 22Every time I enter a client’s home, I’m reminded of the sheer amount of stuff with which we surround ourselves. Does our stuff make our lives better or more difficult? And, what happens to all of the stuff we don’t want?

Most clients try to recycle as much as they can, but the truth is, much of what is donated ends up in the dump. Just this week, I was at a baby shower and the mother-to-be received so many gifts, she remarked they would need a storage unit. She wasn’t kidding.

April 22nd is Earth Day and a great opportunity to reflect on the world we would like to leave to our children and grandchildren. Take a look at the road sides as you drive around this month. Few places don’t have plastic bags blowing in the limbs of the trees and litter strewn about. While we need things to live, conduct business and improve our quality of life, do we want to leave a legacy of trash for the next generation?

Water bottles are a scourge on our earth and resources. According to Ban the Bottle, “Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.” The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it and The Recycling Coalition of Utah states that “Americans represent 5% of the world’s population, but generate 30% of the world’s garbage.”

How can we stop burying ourselves and our loved ones in garbage? 

  • For starters, buy less. Do you really need that new (fill in the blank)?
  • Reuse what we have. Owning fewer items makes them easier to find and in turn, we are more likely to not have to re-purchase the same items.
  • Buy items that come in less packaging: less packaging means less waste.
  • Shop for pre-owned items and support local organizations like thrift stores.
  • Compost food scraps; vegetables/fruit peels and leftovers.
  • Donate what we no longer want, need or love. This extends the usable life of the items, allows someone else to enjoy them, and they stay out of land fills.
  • Re-use glass bottles/jars for water/food, in place of plastic bags or wrap.
  • Stop using plastic shopping bags. Get into the habit of using reusable shopping bags.

Happy Earth Day!

 

Author: Tim ZeiglerConsignment Donating Downsizing Estates Executors Keepsakes

Personal Property “in Motion”

Wagon loaded with belongings on the open road.

Personal property is “in motion” when there is a need to deal with your movable personal possessions. Items include furnishings, art, antiques, jewelry, and collections — often referred to as “stuff.” 

What puts Personal Property in Motion?
• Moving & down-sizing living space
• Selling a local home to move full-time to a vacation home
• Inheriting items when your home is already full
• Deciding to sell a personal collection
• Making a decorating/design change or upgrade
• Getting organized to deal with stuff which has accumulated over the years
• Settling an estate

Suggestions for dealing with emotions when Property is in Motion
• Pictures can help retain the memory of items. Remembering special rooms, spaces, items, and collections through picture albums can help minimize the sense of loss. The pictures, when stored and retrieved electronically, take up no physical space.
• Providing family and friends with the opportunity to acquire items helps in many cases. Passing along sentimental items, in this way, often feels good.
• Recognize it is now normal when family and friends are not interested in many of your furnishings and treasures. Unfortunately, I see this in the majority of people I have worked with in recent years. It helps to not take it personally. When this happens, it is time to sell, donate, or dispose.

possessions

Identifying and selling valuable personal property:
• Unfortunately, what you or your family paid for items does not matter to buyers.

• The buyers are generally significantly younger than the sellers. Current market value is driven by what buyers demand.
• When you look to sell valuables directly to a buyer, knowing the current market value is helpful in setting and negotiating a fair price.
• Auctions are an efficient way to deal with significant amounts of personal property in motion efficiently; there are auctions available at every level.
• Higher-end auction houses are an efficient resource in identifying valuable items and their market value; there is generally no charge for this service.
• When selling valuables at auction, it is important to use an auction house which regularly offers similar items. They will have established clientele and attract strong bidders.

Very often, a handful of the most valuable personal property items are worth as much as everything else (you’d hoped to sell) combined. When this happens, half of the financial work in handling the property in motion is complete, simply by identifying and selling the most valuable items. 

The process of dealing with property “in motion” brings out emotion. There are memories attached to belongings which connect us to our family, friends, and occasions throughout our lives. While the process may have emotional ups and downs, it feels good when it is complete. I wish you well.   

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Author: Danielle OBrienConsignment Donating General Organizing Recyling

Forget Google!

Forget Google! Professional Organizers have a plethora of resources to share with you ranging from recycling centers to special events happening in your area. Here are my favorites:

Consignments shops

~The Attic, Manayunk

“Here at The Attic we aim to provide a fun and engaging environment while also offering advice on modern and vintage trends.”

4335 Main St., Manayunk, PA 19127

Phone: 215-482-0300

~Greene Street, Manayunk

“Since Greene Street opened its doors in 1997, we have been working to offer affordable fashion in a clean, organized, and modern setting.”

4313 Main St., Philadelphia, PA 19127

Phone: 267-335-5478

Donations

~The Salvation Army

This is a huge store which earned the nickname the “Pechin Street Boutique.”

4555 Pechin St., Philadelphia, PA 19128

Phone: 215-483-3340

thrift shop~Colonial Neighborhood Council

“Colonial Neighborhood Council operates “The Well,” a thrift store offering a household items and clothing for adults and children.”

107 E. 4th Ave., Conshohocken, PA 19428

Phone: 610-828-6595

Recycling

~Best Buy

“Recycling Kiosks — Every U.S. Best Buy store has kiosks, just inside the front doors, to drop off ink and toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, and wires, cords and cables, plastic bags and gift cards.”

~Whole Foods Market, Plymouth Meeting (the biggest & nicest store I have ever srecyclingeen)

Recycle batteries, cork, plastic bags, Brita filters, yogurt cups & plastics #5

500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Phone: 610-832-0010

Events

~Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Saturday, May 30- Montgomery County Community College

340 DeKalb Pike (enter campus at 595 Cathcart Road), Blue Bell, PA 19422

~Paper Shreddingshredding

Saturday, August 15 (9am – noon)- Abington Junior High School

2056 Susquehanna Road, Abington, PA 19001

~Tire Collections

Saturday, June 6- from 9:00am – noon, Montgomery County Community College

340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422

~Finally, did you know about MedReturn Drug Collection Units? There is one at drug recyclingthe Montgomery County Courthouse.

2 E Airy St., Norristown, PA 19401

Phone: 610-278-3000

 

Some restrictions and fees may apply. Ask the Professional Organizer you hired. They’ll know!