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Monday, September 5, 2011


Really? You might say. A posting on 'clutter' - what does that have to do with being "GREEN"? Time, energy, resource management, over consumption - doesn't that all translate into improving your "greenage"? I've written about this before and am writing again about it.

As I sit here enjoying the quiet holiday I've been taking a moment to thumb through the ever increasing pile of magazines I've been collecting. It's one of my vices, what can I say - 90% of these subscriptions I've picked up for free, but none the less, there they sit waiting for me to leaf through the pages and glean whatever information and tid-bits I can out of them.

Once I do that, tho' - I have trouble parting with them. So much 'good stuff' is in there - I can't begin to remember it all...what to do, what to do...

As I was wafting through them at the table this morning, I began jotting down in a notebook all the notable pieces I wanted to refer to later so that I could garner as much from the magazines as I could. This was a little labor-some, even though I do love to write, and thought I'm still creating something else I have to store.

As I was writing a 'light bulb' came on! My blogs! I'll just summarize these notes on my blogs (where applicable) and possibly create a new one to house the other information that isn't. I'll enter the contests immediately and I'll bookmark websites that I might want to visit later.

Once I go through the mags, I'll take a stack of mags to work and share with my fellow magazine - aholics and drop others off at a local cafe. Woot, whoo! Magazine clutter problem solved!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Speaking of big moves, it's a good thing over the last year and half I've been busy clearing clutter and culling through the 'stuff' in my life. For many reasons. Simplifying, organizing, beautifying and so on. Who knew I'd be so grateful for this now that we are moving!

It's funny because I really thought I'd cleared out SO much! But when you start boxing things up - you really see how much you have.

I ran across this article while surfing the web for organizing and decorating tips. I've written quite a bit in the past about finding the "balance" about "wanting/having" and the "guilt" associated with too much 'stuff'.

I posted this on one of my other blogs and thought it was a good choice to post here. It has some great merits.


The Last Viridian Note By Bruce Sterling

You may want to skip over the first 15 or so paragraphs of the article but here are some excerpts I thought were apropos for this time in my life as I cull through music, photographs, dishes, magazines, fabric, and over all "stuff" - I've been going through things for some time but am continuing the process.

1. It's not bad to own fine things that you like. What you need are things that you GENUINELY like. Things that you cherish, that enhance your existence in the world. The rest is dross. ...

2. The things that you use every day should be the best-designed things you can get. For instance, you cannot possibly spend too much money on a bed. ... The same goes for a working chair. Notice it. Take action. Bad chairs can seriously injure you from repetitive stresses. Get a decent ergonomic chair. ...

3. You will need to divide your current possessions into four major categories.
  • Beautiful things.
  • Emotionally important things.
  • Tools, devices, and appliances that efficiently perform a useful function.
  • Everything else.

4. "Everything else" will be by far the largest category. ... You should document these things. Take their pictures, their identifying makers' marks, bar codes, whatever, so that you can get them off eBay or Amazon if, for some weird reason, you ever need them again. ... Then remove them from your time and space.

5. Beautiful things are important. If they're truly beautiful, they should be so beautiful that you are showing them to people. They should be on display: you should be sharing their beauty with others. ...

6. All of us have sentimental keepsakes that we can't bear to part with. ... Is this keepsake so very important that you would want to share its story with your friends, your children, your grandchildren? ...

7. You will be told that you should "make do" with broken or semi-broken tools, devices and appliances. Unless you are in prison or genuinely crushed by poverty, do not do this. ... There is nothing more "materialistic" than doing the same household job five times because your tools suck. Do not allow yourself to be trapped in time-sucking black holes of mechanical dysfunction.


I didn't know this!! Very cool and I can't wait to try it.

The nuts (soap nuts) of the Chinese soapberry tree contain saponin, a natural detergent. A few nuts in a cotton drawstring bag will clean several loads of clothes without any chemicals. The nuts can be composted whey they are all "suds-ed" out.

These nuts are sustainably harvested, too. You can order them from or or


After 12 years at the same place we're 'moving on' to another home closer to our kids. Instead of buying new boxes for moving our things we've procured 'used' moving boxes from my husband's work.

If your work setting does not allow for such, you can look for used moving boxes on Craigslist or other classified sites if you have a big move on your horizon.

Be sure to pass on any salvageable boxes after you're done.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


We all have things we "love" - music, books, knick-knacks, fabric, you name it - someone has a "collection" of it somewhere.

I'm continually challenged with the desire to have and the guilt of having too much - or feeling I have too much. "Having" is great - there is a sense of comfort in being surrounded by the things that make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but with the "having" has to come the "balance".

I like a bargain. I like to be creative. I like to re-purpose things. I don't like to be wasteful. I don't like leaving "money on the table", as they say. My continuous challenge has been about the "balance". That fine line of having and having too much. When is having too much?

Well, for reasons already stated, I was drawn to the new TLC TV series called "Extreme Couponing". Prior to watching the show I thought the premise was going to be how to take your saving to the highest possible level using coupons. Boy, I was so far off the mark on that one.

After watching a few episodes I was disgusted. I wasn't really impressed at all. Definitely an example of how the need to "have" crossed the line. True these people have mastered the art of saving money at the grocery store using coupons. However it was merely "organized hoarding" if you will. Come on, people! If you are spending all your waking moments clipping, organizing, searching, analyzing, shopping, packing, unpacking, stocking your "stuff" - when do you live? Seriously.

As far as 'saving money'...well...if you have to "buy" coupons to get something for 'free' - is it 'free'? If you have to buy shelving units to store all your "free stuff" is it really free? Then there is the gas it takes to get to these stores, the wear and tear on your vehicle - there is a cost there, ya know...AND what about your time? Now.........if these folks were sharing their good fortune with others instead of piling on more items then they could possibly use, I may have a different view. I don't know - I wasn't impressed at all. Back to the idea of "balance". These people were definitely out of balance.

I've spent the better part of the last year cleaning clutter, organizing, learning about organizing and such. I've been asking myself tough questions about what I value most and how I want my time spent. I've lost grandparents over the years and through that process of seeing what's 'left behind' for others to deal with - it's really help me fine tune my decisions about my 'stuff'. It's a challenge. I want to enjoy my things, but I want to be responsible about it.

There are lots of "Downsize Challenges" and campaigns out there - lots of people spewing "over consumerism" mantras and such - but do we really put it into practice daily? Minute by minute? I don't think even the most efficient of all American's have really been able to conquer the 'gotta have' bug. Seriously. Spend some time in a less developed country and 'maybe' you'd get closer.

I've been working on a project now for about a month - converting all my music to digital media and storing on a portable hard drive. The hard drive is labeled and the CDs and LPs where the music originated from are being sold at used music stores, online or given away. Why? Well, I enjoy my music, yes, but I listen to it 1) on the radio in my vehicle, 2) on the radio in my kitchen, 3) on my computer or 4) on my iPod. So why do I want to take up valuable shelf / living space with countless plastic CD cases and LPs from the 70's? I don't. I did away with the plastic cases years ago - placing all my CDs neatly in a drawer - alphabetized and categorized - and the LPs have been taking up real estate in my garage now in a crate for years. There is new music everywhere and countless downloads of almost anything you can imagine. I'm not feeling left out by not having these things in my house.

Books. Oh how I love books. I've done well there, though, too. I've culled through many of the books I had (including cook books) and sold them on or gave them away to the library or Goodwill. I even put a few 'out into the world' via BookCrossing. The Library, I've begun a relationship with my Library again. It's so convenient now - online access to search - notifications by email. Then there are audio books and eBooks. I have many. They fit my life much better. This was a tough area for me. I LOVE books! I've crossed over now, though - I'm o.k. knowing that I will never have the time to get to all the books I want to. I ran across a GREAT article - please's called "The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything".

Magazines. Now there is a hard one for me. First, let me say, I have many subscriptions - but few subscriptions I've actually 'paid' for. One was given to me as a gift and one other I paid for but got a GREAT deal on. The rest are free. Yes, free. Some may say that magazines are not a "green" choice. Well, I disagree. I get DIY ideas from them, ideas for re-purposing things, coupons for saving money, I read about time saving techniques, and on and on. I share the magazines with others and those I'm not able to find homes for get recycled!! I use to hang on to years worth of magazines which would line the floor of the closet in our spare room - did I EVER look back at them? Not! So one day - out they went. Sounds funny, but it was painful! All those beautiful photos and ideas - gone! Do I miss them? Nope! I have great closet space now!! Easy to vacumm now! As far as the ideas go? Well, I have the Internet. Google is my idea friend!

Well, I could go on but I won't. I'll just leave you with a challenge of my own - let me ask you this? What can you do without? Really now - when was the last time you took that book off the shelf you got from the college bookstore 20 years ago? Got LP's? Why? When was the last time you listened to them? How's the CD collection - tired of dusting it yet?

It's all about the balance.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Free Origins Product - In store, 4/22. Bring in your empty cosmetics (bottles, tubes, jars and compacts, any brand) to any Origins store for recycling and get free Origins samples.

Free Starbucks Coffee or Tea - Bring any reusable coffee mug to Starbucks on 4/22 and get a free coffee.

One Free Coffee - Offer from Whole Foods Coffee Bar. Bring in a reusable mug on 4/22 from 9am - 9pm to get a free coffee.


Join Disney Store on Earth Day! (U.S.)

Receive a FREE Reusable Shopping Bag on Friday, 4/22, when you bring in and recycle 5 plastic shopping bags.

*Limit one bag per Guest, while supplies last. Event subject to change or cancellation without notice. Excludes Outlet locations. Call store for more details.