Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simple Steps

While many people think of recycling their bottles, cans, and paper as simple steps to help the planet (and they are!), there are also simple ways to reduce your impact while you organize your home or office.

1) Buy less stuff! Sounds so simple, right? And it is! Think twice before each purchase you make - will the item enhance your life and contribute to the space you are trying to achieve? The less stuff you own, the less you have to maintain, clean and get rid of down the road.

2) Donate, don't dumpster! I live in a large building and so often see large quantities of seemingly usable household items in the trash. While it's an organizing must to get rid of items that are no longer needed in your space, that doesn't mean someone else can't use them. There are lots of charities and thrift stores out there that will gladly accept gently used household items. Simply 'Google' charities or donation sites in your area to find out what they will take. Some will even pick up items - bonus!

3) Get creative and reuse what you have! It can be expensive in addition to wasteful to buy new things every time you embark on an organizing adventure. See if there are new and creative ways to use items you already have. This doesn't mean you should keep things around that you don't love or need - just think outside the box. For example, two mesh filing crates I wasn't using anymore have been repurposed as recycling bins in my house. And to think, I almost bought new recycling containers?!

These are just a few ideas, let us know your favorites!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!

Happy first day of spring! The lovely weather here in Boston is inspiring me to throw open the windows and get some much-needed spring cleaning and house projects done. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of spring cleaning, here are some things to keep in mind:
  • It doesn't have to be done alone. Enlist the help of your family or even a good friend to help you tackle some projects - make it fun and reward yourselves with a cold beverage or dinner out when the work is done!

  • It doesn't have to be done all at once. Focus on a couple projects each weekend and tailor them to the weather so you don't miss some much-needed sunshine! For example, on a lovely day like today, get outside and clean up the patio or deck and save the closet clearing for a cloudy or rainy day.

  • You don't have to take a one-size-fits-all approach to spring cleaning. While there are many great checklists and resources out there to help you, make your 'list' match what's important to you. Are you dying to get out for a bike ride? Clearing out your garage or storage area so you can get to your bike and gear should be top on your list.

And don't forget that spring cleaning is a prime opportunity to sneak in some decluttering and organizing! For more on how to tackle spring cleaning and organizing projects, check out our checklist at And if you're in the Boston area, tune in to New England Dream House on New England Cable News (NECN) tomorrow at 10:30 am or 7:30 pm to watch Organizing Boston owner Sarah Buckwalter walk through some simple steps to spring cleaning and organizing.

Now get those projects done and start enjoying the season!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Go Green While You Spring Clean

Would you like to green up your cleaning routine? Spring cleaning's a great time to make a few changes. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Green Cleaning Products
Fortunately, 'green' cleaning products are widely available these days so you have several options if you want to switch up some or all of the items under your sink. Here are just a few of many choices:

Green Cleaning Tools
You can also find cleaning tools like mops and buckets made from recycled materials. The Container Store carries a few such items.

Another great way to green your routine is to make use of tired household items for cleaning. For example, instead of using paper towels or cleaning wipes, try re-usable rags made from cut up old t-shirts – they’re great for dusting, cleaning glass and mirrors, and just about anything else that needs wiping. You can also make cleaning tools like sponges last longer by throwing them in the dishwasher to refresh them.

What are your favorite tips for green cleaning? Please share your suggestions in the comments!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Managing Your Mail

Most of us are drowning in paper these days. For many of us, a large piece of the paperwork puzzle is the stuff that just keeps coming - the mail! Don't get me wrong, some mail is good, but if you're like most people, you get more mail than you need or want. If you don’t have a good way to manage and maintain it, it will just keep piling up. Here are some tips to make your mail maintenance quick and easy.

  • Make time everyday to open and read the mail.

  • Open mail in one mail center area with all your tools and supplies.

  • Have a wastebasket and recycling bin nearby to toss the mail in as you open it.

  • Make decisions as you open the mail...

Scan the contents of each piece and process it appropriately. Immediately:

  • Recycle/toss all unwanted solicitations

  • Recycle/toss the outside envelope and inserts that come with every bill

  • Scan each catalog and if nothing interests you, recycle it.­

Take the remaining pieces and sort into the following categories:

  • To Pay

  • To Do

  • To File

  • To Read

A desk top file is a great way to contain your follow up categories - just be sure to regularly set aside time to take the follow up action. Take time each day to maintain your system and you’ll never be drowning in paper again!