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August Newsletter - Volume 1, Number 8

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Living an Organized Life Blog

Organized Living Message Board

Articles on organizing

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Cyndi's Tip


Practice Eco-Living

This tip isn't for everyone, although I'm sure that a good number of people share my preference: and that is second-hand stuff.

It isn't often that I shop retail anymore and, when I do, I try to get things made out of natural or recycled material.

I've made it a practice that I get rid of something old when I buy something new (even if it is second-hand!).

I figure that, since I buy a lot of recycled, second-hand clothing, that I should donate the same back into society!


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Recycling Your Stuff
By Cyndi Seidler

handy6Since April marks a national event for "National Recycling Month," it seems appropriate to focus on the topic of recycling.  After all, it isn't just about separating our trash to put into recycling bins.

With spring cleaning, it seems to go hand-in-glove to combine cleaning with de-cluttering, or just cleaning out our accumulated stuff.

Garage sales also spring up, as a result of our efforts with cleaning stuff out.  We sell, we donate, we hit other garage sales and buy more.  It's an aspect of recycling.

People hold on to things beyond the need to keep them for different reasons.

  • it had value to them
  • it was useful at one time
  • it might be used some day
  • it should be repaired instead of buying a new one

These, and many other reasons, are the issues people face when they keep and/or store things away in some forgotten box beyond its intended or necessary life-cycle.

handy5A life-cycle is simply how long something should live in your possession. 

Accounting papers, for example, have a life-cycle of needing to live with you for a certain amount of years, based on legal requirements for tax laws.  After that time period has expired, those can be discarded (destroyed).

Clothing, shoes and accessories have a life-cycle.  So does furniture, home furnishings, decor, you name it.

So, we have the creation of something (or when something came to be there), the continuation of it (being there), and its end (when it's no longer useful or needed or valued).

Let's take that inherited antique coffee table from grandma for another example. When it came to you, this was the start of its life-cycle with you.  But, you didn't use it -- you stored it away in the garage for keepsake purposes.  Only, it continued being there without being used, and beyond the time it should have been recycled to someone else who could use it and appreciate its value (which would start a new life-cycle for the item).

My advice?  If it isn't functional or useful to you any longer, but you want the memory of it, take a picture of it and put it in a scrapbook to share with friends and family.  This keeps the heirloom alive and remembered for many years.  Then, donate or sell the piece.

Sorting through our "goodies"
In a blog post "Our Own Lost Treasures," it talks about our valuable keepsakes.  Here's an excerpt of this blog commentary:

"In a column by Al Neuharth of USA Today entitled "When you die, where should 'goodies' go?" he writes of donating his historical first edition papers and other valuable keepsakes to the Library of Congress. I admired his willingness to let go of these and donate them for others to enjoy before he dies.

While we tend to keep a lot of our treasured keepsakes in stored boxes among rows of other boxes piled around each other in hidden storage areas, you have to wonder what value these really have to you. How is it appreciated hidden away?

Sorting through our stuff can be a good experience ... and letting go of it now can be rewarding, as we see others enjoying those things we've treasured."

Yard Sales
handy3"Is Your Stuff Junk or Just Stuff?" is the topic of another post.  Here's an excerpt of it:

"I've asked myself if people know that a lot of the stuff lying around their house or garage is actually meaningless junk. It's astounding what they determine their stuff to be once they begin going through it. I'll ask, "What's this?" and they often reply, "Gee, I don't know."

If it goes into the sale pile, we only hope that someone else will be able to determine what it is.

...It's hard to price these meaningless items of junk, too. How do you put a price on something you can't name? Yet, it must have had some value because you had it, right?"

In a post, Recycling Junk - Eco-organizing Redefines Recycling," it gets into methods to recycle your stuff.

Turning Scraps Into Art
If you must hang on to all those mailed advertisements and promotional letters, then read this post, "
Turn Your Keepsake Papers Into Works of Art."

"'It’s about finding beauty in what people normally would consider trash, and it’s about finding something new in what people would consider trash,' said (Mark) Schultz, now of Tacoma, who’s been creating the collages for 14 years and has had several solo shows, most in California."

handy2In another post, "Eco-Makeovers - Recycling paper in your home," the idea is presented of recycling paper by creating wallpaper with it (featured in the Natural Home & Garden magazine):

"One wall treatment was to take paper grocery bags, crumble and scrunch pieces of them (to soften them), then tear them into little pieces. Prime sections of the wall surface with 2 parts water / 1 part white glue, then apply pieces of the paper, overlapping them and brushing with the glue mixture to remove air pockets.

You can also do collage wall treatments with old phone book yellow pages (although you don't need to crumble them)."

Stored Away Stuff
One in eleven percent of Americans rent storage space in a given year, according to the National Self-Storage Association.  Here's my commentary excerpt of this post, Economize Stuff:

"I suppose if a person were to inventory what they store away, then add up the cost of storage, one might determine the actual value, or worth of their belongings. It might be a rude awakening to discover that all those infant and toddler clothes and toys you saved in case you have another child, for example, have now cost you $2000 to hold on to."

In Conclusion...
handy4My goodness, it seems like I had a lot to say about this topic!  It's my guess that I'll probably have more to say about it, as time goes on!

For now, if you'd like to find out more about recycling (other than what I've already said!), check out this web site:

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Reprinted with permission from Organized-Living

Simplified Solutions wants to thank Cyndi Seidler for her support and for being our August 2009 Contributing Featured Writer


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