Category Archives: green living tips organization
Here are my favorite environmentally mindful resources
Find out HOW and WHERE!
(a book) by Beth Terry
Shared on: Fat Tuesday
Here is a closer look:
6. Create a place for those miscellaneous items. I use a top to a box from Ikea. This space is STRICTLY for things I plan to pay attention to in the immediate future. These items USED to go on my cork board, but I am disciplined enough now to put them out of sight (as I know I will not forget about them). So, what’s in this miscellaneous space you ask? Well, this week, an old envelope with notes on it regarding an product I want to buy, a nice letter from my son’s childcare that I will show Scott later when he gets home, a rolled up piece of paper with a recipe on it (that I will blog about later), a piece of business I will discuss with Scott when he gets home, and some pictures from my friend’s wedding (that I plan to frame and make into a gift). All things I don’t want cluttering up space, so I put them in their own box or a “to take care of box.” They will not be forgotten.
And here it is all tucked away in my desk
Okay, we’ve covered some essential items to organize your mail. Let’s get started organizing shall we.
Organizing your mail:
First, get a large empty box and put ALLLLLL the mail from all over your house in the box. And I mean everything, grocery store ads, coupons, magazines, papers, etc. Everything.
Second, clear out your schedule, I would do an entire day (a Saturday or Sunday). Get yourself some snacks as rewards. Locate your favorite music to play as you go through this box of mail (and NO TV – too distracting).
Finally, with adequate time, a quiet house perhaps, snacks and music at the ready, it’s time to go through the box.
Here we go…
#1. Pick up 1 item at a time from the box. Look at it and determine if fits into one of these five categories:
#2. Make 5 separate piles on the ground. Go ahead, spread yourself out. Label the 5 piles so you don’t forget. Just use a sticky note or something for the label.
#1. Now take away the recycling and put it in the recycling bin
#2. IMMEDIATELY shred everything you have in the shred pile
#3. Place your “bills to pay” in the appropriate holding area
#4. File what you can. If you don’t have a file for that subject, write it down so you can make a file later. Or store in the appropriate file holding area
#5. Place all the coupons in your coupon box
#6. Place all informational items on the cork board
#7. Place everything else into your miscellaneous box (just DON’T forget about…promise!)
#8. Tired of all those magazine catalogs? Best way to stop them from coming is to call the phone number in the catalog and tell them you want to be removed from their mailing list. I do this often. Easy way to decrease waste too!
*Taking control of your mail is easy, you just have to stay on top of it.
*Once you clean up all the mail and clutter that’s been sitting around your house for months…perhaps years, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment. You will feel light, happy, in control, calm, and centered.
*You have to want this. If you’re not ready to make the change and keep at it, then wait until you are. Some people like having their piles of mail around, there is a method to their clutter, and that’s totally fine.
*This post is meant for those who are ready to make that change, ready to organize their space (mail in this case) but having trouble taking that first step. This is truly the hardest part – that step from thinking about doing it to actually doing it. It can even feel scary for some people. This is all normal. But you CAN do it. Behavior can change. And this small change might provide a great sense of accomplishment and control in your life.
I will be sharing with you some main points of organization in my home over the next two months. Including:
1. Make a list of things you want to organize. Keep it realistic.
2. Carve out some time to complete the object. Running out of time is your biggest enemy. Once you start, it’s important to follow through until your finished.
3. Start small. If you’re not used to organizing things, start with a small project, such as under the kitchen sink, or the bedside drawer. Start small and get yourself accustomed to the behavior of going through things, looking at things, and (perhaps most important) letting things go.
4. Tell someone about your project/intentions. This is a great technique in preventing procrastination. When you verbally express your intentions to do something to someone else, there is not only personal accountability but someone else will have knowledge of your intentions and hold you accountable.
5. Include others. I prefer to organize alone, but for the starter, you might want to include your partner or children. I always include my kiddos when we clean and organize their art bin or play room. Together we decide what we are keeping in their art journal, what are we hanging up on the wall, what can we give as gifts (grandparents just love getting those sweet pictures), what we can donate or sell, and what goes into recycling.
Goals of Organizing:
1. Purge. You want to get rid of stuff.
2. Recycle or sell what you don’t need/want.
3. Cleaning. Diving into a space you don’t pay much attention to allows for the opportunity to clean it.
4. Make room for more important items. If you clean out a drawer, you might very well make room for something more important in that space. For example, your bedside table can store books you’re reading opposed to old papers, magazines, mail or old socks.
5. Take inventory of what you have. This is a great point to remember when organizing your closet. Above all, the goal should be to KNOW what you have. It’s like going shopping. “Oh, there’s that super cute little summer dress I haven’t seen in five years.”
*Add in a banana, and this makes a great breakfast smoothie – so creamy and filling!
This gives me frozen strawberries for the week!
If you’re interested in more green kitchen tips, check out part I HERE.
#1: Keeping a Plastic-Free Crisper
This was one of the most recent things I changed in my green living quest. I started using Carebags years ago and this solved my problem of using those plastic produce bags. But it took a lot of willpower to refrain from purchasing pre-packaged produce (you know, the occasional bag of romaine, carrots or shredded broccoli). The Natural Foods Coop in Sacramento does not carry any bagged produce, which I absolutely love and appreciate. The Coop in my town does. See here for a comprehensive list of plastic free food storage ideas.
Shared on: Whole Foods Wednesdays
When you think of kitchen waste, what comes to mind?
I’m guessing food. Yes food is a huge waste that adds a bulk to your garbage bag that turns against you rather quickly. But what else? If you live in a town that recycles, first off, hooray for you, but secondly, weekly recycling doesn’t take care of everything. I’ve heard of some pretty picky towns where only cans, plastic bottles and cardboard is allowed. What about the bread packaging, inside the cereal plastic bag, frozen veggie plastic bags…if you eat cheese, the plastic around the cheese and don’t even get me started on PLASTIC BAGGIES. The list goes on and on in the plastic department. What about paper towels and napkins? Foil? Styrofoam? The wrapping from your deli meat?
These are all sources of unwanted waste. I say unwanted because the recycle folks don’t want this stuff. So it goes in the landfill.
My kitchen waste revelation came one day a few years ago when my garbage can smelled so horrid I just couldn’t take it any more…okay, enough is enough. We didn’t use those hefty plastic bags, we used recycled brown paper bags from our weekly grocery shopping for our garbage, so all our food waste and other gunk was exposed and oh boy it started to take on a life all its own.
I said to myself…I know I can do better!
I started very, very slow and assessed my waste. Food was at the top of the list so I started there and slowly worked my down the list finding alternatives and replacing old habits with environmentally frienldy behaviors. So if you are new to the concept of decreasing kitchen waste, please see below for some very easy ideas to get you going on your journey.
*We made a very modest 5×5 box out of redwood in our backyard and started to pile in our uncooked kitchen waste with equal parts carbon and nitrogen. And I read this quick, simple guide to composting. There are so many other composting ideas, many I found in the book, but you can also research on-line and find what works best for you. For example, we are going to start a worm bin soon for our cooked food waste!
*Okay, let’s be real for a moment. Plastic baggies are a hell-of-a-convenience, and if you have kids, well, they may feel like a must-have necessity. It was difficult, but these were #2 on the list to go for me. I stopped buying them and looked for alternatives.
e. ECOlunchbox three-in-one. My daughter takes this for her lunch. It’s lightweight and easy for little hands to use and maneuver.
*This solution is three-fold. First of all, milk alternatives are EXPENSIVE. I did the math and I started saving serious money when I stopped buying packaged milks and started making my own. Second, you have total and complete control of the ingredients when you make your own milks – awesome for you! Third, and let’s be honest here, those milk alternative containers are not recyclable. I shed a tear of guilt every time I had to throw away those huge cartons. Okay, so problem solved. Making your own nut milks is so super easy. I make the following: almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk and hazelnut milk. You can find a slew of how-to videos on the internet. And you don’t technically need an expensive high-speed blender to make these milks. Before I purchased my vitamix, I used a Ninja Blender for years and it worked fine. Don’t be detoured my friends!!
*Ahhh, this was so hard at first! I had a very unhealthy addiction to paper towels. I would use them for everything…if I had them I would go through them like crazy. I had zero control. So one day I just stopped buying them and also stopped buying paper napkins.
*I used foil for so many things in my kitchen. This was difficult at first too. I tried very hard to clean the foil and recycle it, but it didn’t always work. And my philosophy wasn’t, “well, it’s okay to throw it away once in a while,” it was to “never again throw anymore foil away into garbage ever again.”
One day I purchased a pork shoulder from the meat deli at our Coop and I was appalled when I got home, unrolled it, and saw how much paper and plastic waste was from this single (albeit rather large) portion of meat. My next trip to the coop I was equipped with my snap glass and Pyrex storage. It takes some planning, but if you know what you are going to be purchasing it’s not a problem – plus I highly recommend going to the grocery store with a plan and a list. This saves time, energy and money.
Vegetarians can incorporate this concept when purchasing cheese. Go to your cheese deli and have them slice out what you need into your glass storage. Then it’s home and into the fridge. No more fussing with a half (plastic wrapped) block of cheese.