Archive for June, 2008

Free Shredding for Montgomery County Maryland Residents

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

ID theft is a rapidly growing challenge faced by everyone. One way to protect yourself is to take advantage of this free “community shred” for Montgomery County residents. NBC 4, Shred-it, and PNC Bank are co-sponsoring the event this weekend. Each resident can bring up to 5
boxes of paper. No business papers are accepted. Why do it yourself?

Date: June 28, 2008
Hours: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Montgomery County Fairgrounds
* The Perry Parkway entrance will be the only one open that day, June 28th.

They’ll accept:

    All types of paper; (staples and papers clips are OK)
    Empty binders;
    Unwanted/expired credit cards; and
    Computer disks (disks may be shredded off-site).

For more information visit NBC4′s website.

Goodwill in Maryland Finds Painting Worth $40,600! Was it an Organizer’s Mistake?

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

As an organizer, I often take clients’ donations to Goodwill. I rely on the client to know the value of what they own. Occasionally I’ll ask a client if we should sell an item or have something appraised before we simply put it in the donation box. Usually, they say, “Oh, that? It’s fake.”

The story was very different in Easton, Maryland, when a painting worth more than $40,000 was donated to Goodwill in error.

This impressionist street scene, “Flower Market” by Edouard-Leon Cortes, was dropped off at an Easton Goodwill store. An employee noticed the unusual painting and plucked it out of the day’s donations for special attention. The painting featured a gold embossed nameplate bearing the artist’s name and the painting’s title. The employee Googled the artist and compared the signature found on the painting with online sources. Excited the painting might be particularly valuable, Goodwill sent it to Sotherby’s for cleaning, authentication, and auction. Goodwill says that even if the owner didn’t intend to make such a large donation, she is out of luck because donations are not tracked and each is considered a legal and final transaction.

Just imagine, this beautiful work of art might have been yours for $100 at Goodwill!

DC Increases E-Cycling Efforts & Document Shredding Service

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance estimates that 75% of obsolete electronics are <currently being stored, which will one day result in a massive disposal issue for the country and the world. Perhaps that’s why Mayor Adrian M. Fenty kicked off this new program.

Mayor Fenty announced the District began its first permanent free, weekly Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and electronic recycling (e-cycling) drop-off site, at the Benning Road Trash Transfer Station on May 17, 2008. In addition to the HHW and e-cycling collections, the District will also offer the metropolitan area’s first permanent weekly document shredding service for residents at the Benning Road Trash Transfer Station, which began May 24. The Benning Road Trash Transfer Station will be open every Saturday, excluding holidays, from 8 am to 3 pm. Weekly HHW and e-cycling collections will begin this summer at the Ft. Totten Trash Transfer Station.

Items will be removed from your vehicle and placed in roll-away containers for disposal.

Acceptable HHW items include:

  • Leftover cleaning and gardening chemicals
  • Small quantities of gasoline, automotive fluids & antifreeze
  • Pesticides and poisons
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Paint and solvents
  • Spent batteries of all kinds
  • Automotive fluids
  • Asbestos tiles

All electronics will be broken down into parts and recycled or disposed of safely. The computer hard drives will be wiped clean three times using US Department of Defense high-level security wiping procedures.

Sorry, but they don’t want the following items:

  • Ammunition
  • Bulk trash
  • Wooden TV consoles
  • Propane tanks
  • Microwave ovens, air conditioners and other appliances
  • Radioactive or medical wastes

For information about this exciting new HHW and e-cycling program, visit DPW’s website or call the Mayor’s Call Center by dialing 311.

Happy recycling,

What You’ve All Been Waiting For – July 11th, 2008

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Today at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco Apple announced that the new iPhone’s 2.0 Software will have Microsoft® Exchange. So, for all you business types, you can now have push email, push contacts, push calendar, auto-discovery of your exchange server, global address look-up, and remote wipe if your iPhone is lost or stolen. They’ve also added secure VPN services from Cisco and other network services demanded by the Enterprise market. Everything that Apple was told Enterprise users want, they’ve built in.

And for the rest of us, they are introducing MobileMe – “Exchange for the rest of us” – to replace the .mac service. Those who already have .mac accounts will automatically be upgraded. I’m certainly going to keep my $99 yearly subscription so I can sync my two macs and iPhone, all in real time. Check out the video of this new service.

Oh, did I mention the iPhone’s new price of $199 for the 8GB model? They go on sale July 11th.

Please note, my birthday is July 10. *hint, hint*

Stylish Bike Storage – Direct from the U.K.

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

A client was looking for a method to store his bike off the floor in his condo, but not on a ‘typical’ rack. So while cruising the Unica Home web site, I found the the Cycloc Cycle Storage, described as “an amazing, brilliantly simple design and winner of numerous awards including the Time Magazine Consumer 2006 Product Design of the Year.” Design awards include:

  • 2006 winner of Consumer Product Design of the Year awarded by the plastics industry
  • Design and Art Direction Award, U.K.
  • Design Award Week, U.K.– Most Outstanding Product Design

I like the unique shape, which guides the bike frame securely in place and can accommodate a wide range of frame shapes. My only concern is varying bike frame thicknesses. The Cycloc provides additional functionality in the form of storage for your biking accessories, although no photos demonstrate this purpose. I can imagine you tucking your riding gloves in the middle of the Cycloc. The Cycloc ships complete with mounting instructions, but you’ll need to buy fasteners based on your wall type and bike weight. Once hung, you can even lock your bike up in a public space by inserting a special lock.

For $135, you can select from green, white, orange, and black. The green, white, and orange are made of new MDPE plastic, while the black Cycloc is made of 100% recycled MDPE plastic. Shouldn’t that be the “green” model? Anyhow, it’s about 11″ in diameter.

Happy riding,

Hire A Professional Organizer – 10 Questions to Ask First

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Many people ask me what kind of questions they should be asking a professional organizer. Here are my top 10.

  1. Ask for references and be sure to check them.
  2. Find out their professional involvement. I believe you should hire someone committed to their profession and continued education.
  3. Determine what your investment will be up front by asking how they charge. Some organizers charge by the hour, others may charge by the project.
  4. Ask the organizer if he/she specializes in any particular area of organizing (technology, chronic disorganization, closets, etc.).
  5. You probably want to work with someone experienced, so ask how long he/she has been in business and if she is a Certified Professional Organizer®.
  6. Ask if you will be working with the person you are speaking to or if you will be working with an employee or subcontractor.
  7. Determine if he/she has a minimum number of hours or if you are obligated by a contract.
  8. Every organizer works differently, so ask how he/she will approach your unique situation and what the process entails.
  9. Ask him/her to describe her typical organizing project and client. Does the description sound like your situation and what you need?
  10. Finally, if you’ve tried getting organized before, ask why he/she thinks his/her service will be a better fit for your circumstance.

Your professional organizer and you are a team. An organizer cannot perform effective services for you unless he/she knows what is important in your home or office and how that space functions. It’s in your best interest to find someone who shares your views. Base your final decision on a professional organizer who has the expertise, skill set, and personality which best suits you to help you achieve your goals.

Good luck,