Posts Tagged ‘Donate’

Passover Planning – Nothing To Get Stressed Over

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The crocuses are barely pushing up outside and the first major holidays of the year are upon us. If thought of hosting your Passover seder has you stressing, trust me, bubaleh, it’s all going to be fine. We’re going to take care of everything… don’t you worry.

First off, forget about getting it perfect. It’s never going to be the same meal you remember from your childhood seders, nor should it be. Make the holiday your own by choosing your favorite traditions and letting go of the rest. Although Passover is one of the most religious of the Jewish holidays, families practice its rituals to widely varying degrees, with this in common: the coming together of family and friends to celebrate the freedom from slavery of their ancestral tribe… and to have a feast!

In more religious households, Passover prep can start weeks before with meticulous cleaning of the kitchen, and other areas of the house. In this way, the most relevant task to prep for Passover is the clearing of the fridge and pantry of any non-Passover food items. Too squelch any guilt you may have about wasting food, plan your meals leading up to the holiday to make use of anything in the freezer that would have to be tossed. Have a box handy to collect whatever you can donate to a local church or food bank.

A few days before the seder, pull out your Passover dishes, cookware and utensils and move the regular sets into another room. Set aside 30 minutes to clean the Passover set, and get them ready for use.

Make your shopping list according to each market you’ll have to visit, to gather groceries and specialty items for your seder plate. Divide your list by grocery store, farmer’s market, kosher market, etc. Be sure to save your lists on your computer for next year, to make shopping that much easier. We recommend Evernote for keeping track of these lists (and much more).

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, remember it’s okay to delegate. Have suggestions ready for when guests ask what they could bring. Or take the lead and reach out to family for help before you get too stressed to enjoy yourself.

With big meals like a seder, it’s helpful to create a timeline by working backwards from the time you want sit down. Post your timelines along with your lists of all that needs to get done, in easy to see block print on the back of your cabinet doors. It will make it easy for anyone to step in and help, and you can enjoy the satisfaction of crossing each item off as you complete them.

Give some thought to how you could make the holiday meaningful for you and your family. Remember, your guests will follow your lead, so if you relax and don’t stress out, neither will they. We’d love to hear what holiday traditions you keep each year at your Passover table, or one you plan to start this year. Chag sameach!

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…

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.