Archive for the ‘Green Organizing’ Category

Going GREEN As You Organize

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Have you gotten on board with Get Organized Month yet? If not, here’s your chance to GO for it while you also GO green!

If living an eco-friendly lifestyle is important to you, then it makes perfect sense for you to organize you home while simultaneously going green. With an eye toward simplifying your space and paring back (sometimes dramatically) on how much STUFF you live with, you will notice that your home feels lighter and more relaxing as you begin to unburden each room.

Going green is not just about living with less, although that is a great mindset to have. You want to make sure that the items you do buy are the healthiest, most sustainable products available. Start out by revamping the way you maintain your home. In other words, hit that scary collection of chemicals under your kitchen sink and clear it out. It’s worth a trip to your local hazardous waste center to dispose of those chemicals properly, as you should definitely not dump them down the drain or into the trash. You can always visit Earth911.com for details on where to recycle just about anything.

To clean your house without the toxins, you can turn to any number of readily available alternatives (like Seventh Generation or The Honest Company) that won’t harm your family or the planet. Or, if you’re ready for a real change, a simple Bing or Google search will summon countless recipes for safe and super-cheap cleaning solutions that can be made from household staples like vinegar and baking soda.

To apply the traditional green anthem of “reduce, reuse and recycle” to your home, start by going room-to-room and collecting items that are no longer useful. Those beautiful mugs that you shoved in the back of the cabinet because you never drink out of them can be repurposed to organize anything from markers to makeup brushes. And using them in that new way will also clear up some valuable storage space in the kitchen! Take a serrated knife to your kids extra pool noodles and cut them into DIY boot forms, or put that iPhone box you saved for no apparent reason in your junk drawer to organize your odds and ends. Use some colorful contact paper to dress it up first, if you’re feeling creative. Upcycling your underused items gives you a chance to appreciate them in a whole new way, reduces waste, while also saving you money.

You don’t have to be drowning under precarious piles of stuff to be ripe for a good purging. After you’ve repurposed as many of your belongings as you can, take everything else you’ve collected from each room and get it out of the house! Give away, donate or repurpose as many unused, unappreciated items as you can, relegating only the unsanitary or truly irreparable pieces to the dumpster. The idea is to unburden yourself but without being wasteful.

Prevent the re-accumulation of STUFF with one simple rule: in order to acquire something new, you must purge something first that takes up a comparable amount of space in your home. Get your belongings down to a manageable quantity and be mindful about keeping it at that level. If you bring something new into your home, make sure it has an intended use or specific purpose, so it won’t become unwanted clutter that you’ll have to purge later on.

Which room in your home do you think could undergo a green transformation? Tell us in the comments what you plan to change first…

Free Shred Event Saturday in Fairfax County

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

We learned recently of an upcoming free shred event for Fairfax County residents in Virginia. Residents can take up to five boxes of personal papers to shred.

Do you shred your documents at home or how do you protect your identity?  

Below is more information from the county’s website.



The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program will be sponsoring one secure document shredding event in each supervisory district per calendar year.  Shredding is a free service for Fairfax County residents.

Upcoming 2011 Dates

All events are held from 8 a.m. – Noon

    • July 23 - South County Center, 8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22309
    • August 27 – Braddock Governmental Center, 9002 Burke Lake Road, Burke, VA 22015
    • Sept. 24 - Sully Governmental Center, 4900 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly, VA 20151
    • Oct. 22 – North County Human Services Center, 1850 Cameron Glen Dr., Suite 600, Reston, VA 20190

Residents are limited to shredding a maximum of five medium-sized packing boxes of paper per household.  This service is intended for shredding documents of a personal or sensitive nature such as tax documents, medical or financial records.  Junk mail, newspapers, magazines and other forms of paper can be recycled through your normal recycling collection service.

Please remove all paper from binders and remove all paper clips, binder clips and rubber bands.  This event is for paper document shredding only, we will not be able to accept information stored on film or computer discs for destruction.

Barefoot Week With Soles4Souls 2011 – How You Can Participate

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Today, marks the beginning of Soles4Souls’ National Barefoot Week 2011. In short, it’s a week where thousands of people across the country are joining the cause, raising awareness about the millions of people, world-wide that go barefoot, and doing something about it. As a part of the week, Soles4Souls is distributing over 50,000 pairs of shoes in several cities across the United States.

As many of you know, I traveled with Soles4Souls in January 2011 to distribute shoes to children in Haiti. It was absolutely a life-changing experience.   As I see it, with most charities, your funds go in their doors and you never realize the impact your support may provide.  This is how Soles4Souls is unique as a charity.  With the Travel4Souls opportunity, I was able to experience the extreme need in Haiti.  Not simply through photos, or a video, but I was there!  I gave sweat equity in carrying shoe boxes to the distribution sites, I jumped rope with children living in orphanages, and I washed the feet of children who received shoes from Soles4Souls.  I participated in making a difference and I was a direct witness how they’re impacting and changing lives.  I look forward to going back.  I plan to travel again in January 2012 with a group of professional organizers.

Although this video doesn’t really do it justice, it does capture the need for shoes and the joy of the people that receive them:

If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of something greater than yourself, I highly encourage you to think about going on a trip. You can find out complete information as well as a list of their upcoming trips by visiting their website.

Visiting the Soles4Souls blog, I was able to read about their exiting events for Barefoot week.  Here’s just a few.

National Barefoot Day,” which will take place on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, will kick off various events across the country.Our first U.S. distribution of 2011 Barefoot Week will take place in Detroit.

On “Barefoot Thursday,” June 2, Soles4Souls Founder & CEO Wayne Elsey and staff will go barefoot as well as challenge all members of the press to go barefoot for at least four consecutive hours during the week and report on its effects to their viewers. Thursday’s distribution will be happening in St. Louis.

For “Barefoot Friday,”  June 3, folks in need in the Boston area will receive shoes.

Barefoot Saturday” and “Barefoot Sunday,” June 4 and 5, offers unique opportunities for congregations to remove their shoes and walk out of worship services barefoot. The efforts of participating congregations will go toward helping put shoes on the feet of barefoot children around the world. Visit www.barefootsunday.com to learn more.

On “Barefoot Monday,” June 6, we will be in Los Angeles delivering shoes and on “Barefoot Tuesday,” June 7th, we will head south to Atlanta to deliver footwear.

THIS WEEK, I would challenge you to tell at least one person about Soles4Souls. They’ve even provided you with a list of 10 ways you can help spread the word about the 300 million children around the world who’ve never owned a pair of shoes.

Which will you do? Please share your selection in the comments section below and join me and Soles4Souls to accomplish their mission of changing the world, one pair at a time.

I’m Hoarding Shoes for Charity and I Need Your Help!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Many of you know that I traveled to Haiti in January with the amazing non-profit charity Soles4Souls to help distribute shoes to children.  Experiencing life in Haiti with these beautiful people was truly heartbreaking.

It was also a life changing experience.  Upon returning to DC, I started collecting shoes for Soles4Souls.  It was my hope to do a city wide shoe collection and involve schools, churches and neighborhood groups.  However, my massive  shoe collection has come to a screeching halt because neither myself or Soles4Souls were able to secure a storage location where  community groups could drop off the shoes they collected.

Wait, where's my living room?


WUSA9
digital correspondent, Linsdey Mastis did a story on the evening news on March 7th.  Although the news story didn’t help secure a storage location, many people brought me more shoes.  I now have over 6,000 pairs of shoes in my condo.  That’s why the news called me a hoarder.  I guess if I’m going to hoard it might as well be for a good cause.

Please watch the news video and leave a comment if you have any last minute connections that can help secure a drop off location.  If not, I’ll be shipping the shoes off to the Soles4Souls warehouse before the end of March.

To see the full news story, please visit WUSA9

I was featured on 9NEWS NOW in August 2010 when I collected more than 650 pair of blue jeans to make insulation for Habitat for Humanity.

So much for a dining room table!

Changing Lives With Shoes and Soles4Souls

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Dear friends and clients,

As many of you know, tomorrow (January 5, 2011) I am headed to Haiti, forgoing a typical winter vacation, so I can distribute shoes to orphans.  I’m traveling with the amazing organization, Soles4Souls, an international shoe charity that collects, recycles and reuses shoes from footwear companies and the general public.

While in Haiti, we will be staying at the Haiti Outreach Ministries (HOM) compound in Port-au-Prince (PAP).   We will visit Cite Soleil, a suburb of PAP, noted as the poorest slum in the entire Western Hemisphere.  Poverty here is indescribable.  There are no public services, and the roads are barely passable.

Nearly 300,000 people live in the area of approximately 2 square miles.  The area is viewed as a difficult place to work; hence few non-government organizations, or other services are available here.

This is a typical street in Blanchard

Next we’ll visit Blachard (“New Land”), another suburb of PAP, located directly north of Cite Soleil closest to the PAP airport.  It is the home to about 200,000 and is growing.  We’ll also visit Ibo Beach, a small rural community of about 15,000 people, located 25km northwest of PAP.   Finally, we’ll visit Repatriote, the newest community being built on former cropland, with the primary intention to house Haitians returning (displaced) from the Dominican Republic.

While at HOM, we’ll have about eight hours of electricity each day, powered by 23 solar panels.  There is no refrigeration, air conditioning, indoor bathroom, or hot water.  We will stay in the second floor of the school building, which was not damaged in the earthquake, which occurred on Jan 12, 2009.  Although the conditions will be different than what I’m used to, I’ll have no room to complain.

Our itinerary will be as follows:

Day 1 – I leave DC at around 7 AM, fly to Miami where I’ll meet the other volunteers.  Together we’ll board a flight to Haiti, arriving at 4 PM.  We’ll board a bus, travel to HOM, eat dinner, gather for a team meeting and crawl into our bunks for bed.

Day 2 – After breakfast, we’ll have our first distribution in Blanchard for school-aged children.  Following lunch we’ll have a second shoe distribution, but this one will be for infants.  We’ll board a ‘tap-taps’ for a ride through downtown PAP and to view the Presidential Place.  Following dinner and a team meeting, I’m sure our volunteer team will pass out from exhaustion.

Tap-taps are basically, local public transportation on four wheels.  It might be a former school bus, or a pick up truck.  They can be painted with beautiful exteriors, religious slogans, or have loud sound systems inside.  I wonder what we’ll be riding on.

Day 3 – Following a breakfast of muffins, fruit and coffee, we’ll travel to Cite Soleil for our third shoe distribution.  We’ll be working with kids in first – third grade.  After lunch, we’ll give shoes to adults in Cite Soleil.  Following the distributions we’ll take a bus trip through the mountains and have the opportunity to buy some gifts.

Day 4 – We’ll actually visit the beach community where we will have lunch and spend time playing with the orphans.  I’m taking several toys I can leave for the children.  I’ve heard from many people the beaches in Haiti are breathtaking.  This will be the first time I’ve been to a beach other then one in Florida, California, or Delaware.

Day 5 – We’ll conclude our trip early in the morning and depart for the airport around 8 AM.  I’ll be back in DC about 12 hours later.

I look forward to sharing more of my experience with you.  It’s through the generous donations of friends, family and my clients that I am able to take this trip and provide shoes to so many people in need.

Shoes stored in the Soles4Souls Warehouse

If you’ve not donated you can still help. First, a simple click here will take you online where you can donate any tax-deductible amount you see fit.  For every $1 donated = 1 person will receive a pair of shoes.  Maybe if you have 10 pairs of shoes, you donate $10.  Or perhaps you donate the amount of your most expensive pair of shoes in your closet?  Visit this fund-raising page to help me reach my goal of touching thousands of souls.

Shoes stored in my condo - You might think I was a hoarder.

Finally, I officially kick off a Soles4Souls shoe drive in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area in late January. I’ve started collecting from clients and friends, and as you can see my condo is overrun with shoes. I hope you’ll donate your unwanted footwear to my collection and volunteer if you’re able to assist.

Thank you for your support of this mission. I couldn’t do it without you.

Warm regards,

Scott

Soles4Souls distributes usable shoes to people in need around the world. Since being founded in 2005 by Wayne Elsey (CEO), Soles4Souls has given away more than 12 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 7 seconds). The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States.

Recycle Event: Arlington Virginia E-Care

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Our friends at Diana’s Books let us know that Arlington E-Care is happening October 16th, 2010 from 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM at  Thomas Jefferson Middle School at 125 S. Old Glebe Rd.  The school is one block east of Glebe Rd. and one block south of Rt. 50.  The entrance will be marked.

Arlington County continues to set the standard for the ultimate reuse/recycling event with Arlington E-Care. Arlington residents can bring the following items and they will either be reused or recycled properly.  Items marked with an * have a nominal fee.

hazardous household materials
bicycles* $10 donation and the bikes go to Bikes for the World
small metal items
computers* $15
electronics*
televisions* $20
clothing, linens, shoes
microwaves
air conditioners
eye glasses (for South Arlington Lyons Club)
medical equipment (Being shipped to remote locations by Virginia Hospital Center Medical Brigade)

Diana’s Books will be on hand accepting books, CDs, DVDs, and audio books.

For full information on Arlington E-Care download this brochure.

Hoarding of Denim Continues for Charity

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Last week, I wrote about a professional organizer in Washington, DC who happened to also be a hoarder – a hoarder of denim.  I’ve been collecting denim for Habitat for Humanity since April.  I wanted to share this update with you.  As of May 17, 2010, I’ve collected 376 pairs of jeans.  In my last post, I mentioned my goal is to collect 5oo pairs total.  It takes 500 pairs to insulate one entire Habitat Home.

If you live in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County or Prince Georges County in Maryland and you have jeans to donate, please leave a comment below.  I’ll make arrangements to pick up the jeans or provide you my postal address for delivery or mail. You can also drop off jeans before May 23 at Vastu located at 1829 14th ST NW, Washington, DC.

Thanks for supporting this worth while adventure.

Special thanks to Steve Oatmeyer, a friend and talented graphic artist who created the denim graphic for this Declutter Your Denim Drive.

Professional Organizer in Washington, DC is a Hoarder. Can You Help?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Many of my Facebook Fanpage followers are already aware that I’m a hoarder.  That’s right!  I’m a  professional organizer and I’m a hoarder!  Wait – don’t get the wrong idea.  I’m not living among piles of stuff like you would see on A&E TV’s hit series Hoarders, I’m only hoarding denim.  I’m collecting jeans for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, Maryland and I’m trying to collect 500 pairs of your used denim.

Habitat for Humanity is collecting denim for the COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN® denim drive.  All donated denim will be recycled into UltraTouch™ Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation for Habitat for Humanity homes.  What I love is that UltraTouch™ contains no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. There are no VOC concerns when using UltraTouch™, as it is safe for you and the environment.  This makes it very easy for the volunteer Habitat home builders to install the insulation.

What recycled denim insulation looks like.

So why am I trying to collect 500 pairs of jeans you ask?  It takes 500 pairs of jeans to insulate one Habitat for Humanity home.  As a professional organizer who encourages people to declutter their closet, I thought, why not turn the unwanted denim of my clients into something good.  I began telling clients and friends about my idea right before Earth Day.  I started my efforts by posting notes on Facebook, on my Twitter profile, and emailed other members of the National Association of Professional Organizers asking everyone to donate jeans and to help me spread the word.  Now I’m taking it to you, my readers.

I’ve been blessed so far with my collection efforts, but still need help to reach my goal of 500 pairs of jeans.  One client donated over 50 pairs from her family. Real Estate Agent, Hub Krack told his friends and clients and dropped off 18 pairs of jeans. At the NAPO Conference in Columbus, Ohio, 67 pairs of jeans were donated by numerous organizers attending the conference.  Professional Organizer Tanna Clark of Nashville, TN wrote a check to Habitat for Humanity for $125.00 to help cover the cost of shipping of the jeans and many others donated cash.  One of my favorite local furniture stores, Vastu is currently accepting donations of jeans on my behalf until Sunday, May 23rd.  Read more about that on their blog post, Declutter Your Denim.

Currently I have 338 pairs of jeans, but it is not enough.  Can you help spread the word?  Please announce it on your Facebook status.  ReTweet this blog post on Twitter.  Clear out your closet and donate your denim to Habitat.  Comment here about recycling efforts in your community.  Or, if you’re a fan of Habitat for Humanity, tell us why.  If you have jeans to donate, tell me how I can reach you and I’ll schedule a pick up date or you can drop them off at Vastu.

The current denim collection in my kitchen.

I will be collecting denim until I reach 500 pairs or until August 20th, which ever comes first.  Officially denim is being collected through August 20th at the following locations:

Habitat for Humanity ReStore
9100 Gaither Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
301-947-3304

Amicus Green Building Center
4080 Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895-2465
301-571-8590

Self Storage Plus
851 E. Gude Drive, Rockville, MD 20850
301-637-2598

Learn more about the recycle process in this past blog post on denim recycling.

Electronics Recycling in Montgomery County Maryland – This Weekend!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

In April 2008, the Consumer Electronics Association published a Market Research Report called: Trends in CE Reuse, Recycle and Removal which reported the average American Household has 24 electronic products per household. I don’t know about you, but as I look around my apartment, I have MANY more then 24! With that said, when it is time to recycle the items, we all must do our part to recycle the electronics.

This weekend, Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services is hosting another FREE electronics recycling event.

Sunday, July 26, 2009, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Sherwood High School
300 Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860

(The event will be held in the parking lot behind the school and near the school’s stadium.)
They also accept electronics daily at their Solid Waste Transfer Station.
Full electronics drop-off event collection schedule can be found on their website.
Accepted items include:

    small electronic appliances
    calculators
    camcorders
    CDs and floppy disks
    CD players
    cell phones
    computers and computer-related products
    consumer electronics
    copiers
    cords and cables (including chargers)
    digital cameras
    electronic typewriters
    fax machines
    microwave ovens
    monitors
    personal digital assistant equipment
    printers
    projection equipment
    scanners
    telephones
    small electronic toys
    televisions
    VCRs

If you’re curious what exactly happens to the items after they’re collected – read this post.

Fashion Meets Eco-Friendly Shopping in DC

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I’m a huge fan of Goodwill for many reasons.  Mainly because it’s a convenient way for my clients to donate items that have outgrown their home.  And by doing so, they support Goodwill’s mission to educate, train, employ and place people with disabilities and disadvantages.  By supporting Goodwill of Greater DC, we’re assisting people right here in our own area.

Goodwill will be hosting a Trunk Show in DC and is calling all fashionistas, designers, and eco-friendly shoppers to attend and shop ’til they drop! Goodwill of Greater Washington’s Travelin’ Trunk Show will be returning to Greater Goods on Saturday, June 27th from 12:00 – 3:00 PM.

Greater Goods is located at 1626 U Street NW in Washington, DC 20009. If you’ve not had the chance to visit this very cool, eco-friendly store, now you have two reasons to check out the Trunk Show!  While at the store, be sure to checkout and register for one of their ‘Green Living’ classes.

Goodwill will have racks and racks of contemporary and vintage fashions along with donated fabrics and buttons. So, if you’re in the market for some vintage fashion or some fabric to make your own creations, please check out this event on June 27th.

Goodwill also will be accepting donations from your home or closet. All proceeds from this event will support Goodwill’s mission to educate, train, employ, and place people with disabilities and disadvantages throughout the greater DC area.  For more information on Goodwill’s mission and fashion events, visit this website, or read their fashion blog.