Tidying up plus EDUCATED donating: a combo that SPARKS JOY for this eco-organizer

March 11, 2019 — “Tastes great!! Less filling!!”  Remember the ferocity of that chant?  Well, it has nothing on the polarizing effects of “Marie Kondo talk” in a room full of professional organizers.  LOOK OUT!  However,  this blog post is not about the pros or cons of the KonMari method, nor of the merits of decluttering. (there are already plenty of those out there)

After reading how thrift stores are overrun lately with worthless, unusable donations, I’m here to passionately addresses a this newly pressing issue:  Americans do not get HOW TO DONATE in such a way that their cast-offs MAKE A DIFFERENCE to someone else.  Here’s an opportunity to LIFT OTHERS UP with items they need and you no longer want!!

Way before I even became an organizer in people’s homes, I recall pulling together items in my own object-overrun house, being very excited to “get rid of it”, but then noticing a few things:  “the school really needs those school supplies and good shorts” and “the lady down the street loves books for her grandkids” and “my friend needs these maternity clothes” etc etc.  So, even though it took more effort, I ALWAYS distributed items instead of one-stop donating.  I literally couldn’t force myself to take it all to a big-box donation spot. (and imagine if I’d known about Austin Creative ReUse back then!?!! Or the H4H Restore?)

Am I advocating that everyone do this?  No, of course not!  (I’m realistic) but get online and find FB groups like the Buy Nothing Project, Craigslist free and Offer Up free who are making it so very easy and satisfying to get your castoffs into someone’s else hands.  Once you start participating in this FREECYCLING life, you’ll be addicted in 0.0 seconds.

But just honor some basic donating etiquette, citizens!  Do NOT donate your dirty, ripped, USELESS trash to donation sites.  They are almost exclusively run by volunteers and do not have time, money, or resources to then toss YOUR trash!  Nor will they likely want to return to that place to spend their precious volunteer time and deal with YOUR GARBAGE.  Please, either throw away your stuff, or even better, take them to places that recycle textiles, electronics, batteries, lightbulbs, or basically anything that shouldn’t go in the landfill.  A quick Google search will fill you with hope and options. Or simply find a local church to drop off your GOOD stuff and benefit others.

Go forth and donate, properly!  And check out my tab Give Where You Live🙂img_0828

 

Why I can’t drive past this and not create a blog post…

May 4, 2018 — Wow, it’s really May!  While we’ve been enjoying a cooler than normal Spring, people are still in that “get it out” mode that is brought on by Spring Cleaning energy.  It happens every year and we should capitalize on those urges that lead us to open up windows, change out heavier blankets for lighter ones, and fill boxes to cart off to donate.

With education though, we know now that there are items that we don’t have to toss in the landfill, like this copier!  I called the City of Austin Resource Recovery and asked about one of my favorite things: “large item trash pickup” which happens every 6 months.  It is FASCINATING!  It’s freecycling in it’s purest form:  put it out, and someone picks it up, no questions asked.  And then, whatever remains, gets picked up by a truck and carted off to the landfill.  Yes, from your curb directly to the landfill.

Electronics should NOT go in the landfill.  It’s so easy these days to donate electronics for recycling:   google “electronics recycling austin” (or follow my link) and you’ll be overwhelmed by the choices!  And that is precisely why we have trouble: it is too overwhelming.   This is why I am here for you.   My calling as an eco-organizer is to make it simpler and very do-able for you to “get stuff out” without not wrecking the environment in the process:)

ACTION ITEM:  Set up a bag, box or bin in which to toss your electronic cords, devices and the like and then take it to a proper electronics recycler.  I personally use Z TechGlobal Solutions these days, but if you’re walking into Best Buy, look at the bins they have to collect all sorts of things.  There are pick up services for large items like the copier above.  Yes, sometimes you have to pay a little, but hey, aren’t you glad there are companies out there dedicated to recycling ELECTRONICS?!  I sure am.

Cheers, y’all!

Musings on my most recent experience of selling our old bed frame (instead of giving it away)

img_0594March 22, 2019 — To sell or not to sell? While donating something doesn’t actually give you that money-in-your-pocket benefit, my recent experience of selling a bed reiterated to me how selling something always costs more in time and mental energy than I really want to spend. I have become an avid and frequent freecycler (most of it done through my local Buy Nothing Project Facebook group); and second only to the joy of giving something to someone is the ease in which you can release the object. (and third is receiving something from someone else that you didn’t have to go buy!!)

Here’s how it went down:

Recently I decided our old bed was destined to leave the attic, and “good enough to sell” (I knew my husband would appreciate the effort). So I took time to wipe it down & shine it up (to make it look desirable), took pictures, did a little research as to how I should price it, then posted it on some social media selling sites. Then immediately came the multiple requests wanting to purchase it…most of them started with “will you take X dollars less?” (I don’t mind a good barter so I priced it higher knowing I would be willing to take less)

But the exhaustion came from fielding all the different requests and finally getting one person commit to buying it and holding off the ocean of continued requests until I had confidence that I had a solid buyer. Then the arranging to pick it up and get paid took another round of energy and time I did not want to spend. I had to rearrange my schedule to be home. Then came the doubt as to whether I’d overcharged for the bed after I started to evaluate how dinged up it looked on every surface! Energy drained! No joy acquired.

Now let’s turn back the clock and say I instead decided to Freecycle this bed.

Here’s how it would go down:

Time to release that bed taking up space and being useful to no one but dust bunnies! I took a quick picture, posted it on my local Buy Nothing site, checked back for comments, then p.m.-ed someone my address. Last step was to put it out in front of my house. No need to try to spit shine or even worry the slightest little bit. Bed now will be loved and not camping out useless in my home.

Easy. Release. Joy. Done.

I know you can’t argue with the joys of some cash in the pocket, but consider that your time and energy are better served by giving things away and spreading the joy.

Peace out!

When an obsession turns to inspiration!

Feb 10, 2018 –  Greetings, all!  I am constantly amazed at the power that ONE PERSON can have to change something for the better, just by doing something small.  What are some famous examples?The powerful movement of Pay it Forward is the first one that comes to mind.  With the internet and social media, we are seeing trends and deeds spread like wildfire, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse!  (Crocs) 🙂

Now, I want to introduce you to someone known mostly as “The Styrofoam Lady”, but her actual name is Lynnette and she lives in a sweet neighborhood in NW Austin called Milwood.  I lived there for 16 years and raised all my babes there; it embodies so much of what I consider perfect in a neighborhood, but that’s probably another blog post!

If you ask around in Milwood about the Styrofoam lady, I bet you’ll get big smiles and reports of:  “YES!  I take mine to her, too!”    Recently I called Lynnette and asked for an interview because people need to know that she is someone who is truly making a difference by allowing others to BRING THEIR STYROFOAM TO HER HOUSE AND LEAVE IT ON HER PORCH!  She then takes regular trips to the City of Austin’s Resource Recovery drop off center.  Why does she do this?  And how?!

Obesssion!  It leads us in various directions, often to chocolate, but also to helping Mother Earth.  Lynette told me that once she started researching the statistics, about how long, long, long styrofoam takes to break down, she knew she needed to start repurposing and recycling her own styrofoam, which she then offered to her neighbors to take theirs, since the drop off site is fairly far south.  She first got the idea out to her neighbors using Nextdoor.com and word of mouth.  Also, she advertises at the neighborhood’s Fourth of July Picnic every year.

Here’s what her porch typically looks like!

img_0328

While this scene looks neat and tidy, Lynnette has learned through experience to set serious parameters to those of us that bring offerings to her porch!  She has received lots of soiled and wet items which stole her joy immediately as it would anyone’s.  She was not to be deterred though. After trial and error, she has come up with this system:

Egg cartons, ice chests, cups… Lynnette likes to repurpose!!!  Sometimes the larger pieces work well for kids’ science projects, or whatever creative outlet someone might need it for.  Lots of folks receive medicine shipment regularly and wind up with multiple ice chests which could work well for someone else.  Also, egg cartons get distributed among those neighbors with chickens!

Lynnette is after my own heart with this behavior and I bet yours has grown too after reading this post.  Maybe you’re thinking that you might collect styrofoam or corks or Box Tops or old towels in your neighborhood, too.  Tap into your own OBSESSIONS and see what difference you can make!  Need ideas?  Peruse our Give Where You Live tab.

In my recent post about Box Tops and Pop Tabs, I encouraged each of us to embrace that the little things matter.  We are all so VERY BUSY, but when you figure out a way to make it easier to spread the love, then it becomes just part of “what you do” and “who you are”!  I’d love to have you message me and tell me of more people doing these things near you, or what YOU are doing in your own way.

Peace out, y’all!