Posts Tagged ‘recycle’

Clutter Happens…Get Over It & Get Organized!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on January 9th, 2012

It’s a new year, and like it or not, that means new clutter will soon be upon us. It’s inevitable.“What?!”, you say. “but I’m still dealing with  clutter from last year!” Yea, me too. It’s O.K.  Clutter happens. But we need to get over it and get organized!

This week-end, I took a brave first step. I cleaned out one drawer in my desk that holds all of my bills and monthly statements. Being an organizer, I already had them in chronological order (mostly!). Next, I made a shred pile, a recycle pile and put the keepers into a  shoe box marked “2011″ to be put away in storage. Now the drawer is ready for the new 2012 batch.

That was easy, I thought. So I continued. Next, a shelf that holds copy paper, photo paper, notebooks and anything else I’m not quite sure of where to put. I grabbed some files and a marker and started…….organizing! Yes, me…. an organizer, was organizing for myself!  What a concept! Whenever I came across anything that I knew I wanted but didn’t know where to put it, I created a file for it. Before I knew it, I had files for my loose photos, my current projects, one for articles I wanted to read and even one with brochures of places I want to travel this year. And guess what? It wasn’t difficult. It didn’t take long. And in the end, I had cleared up just one little area in my office but the effect was huge! I feel so much lighter. The room feels lighter. It even looks bigger!

So, how can you feel this good? Easy.

Start Small & Simple

Pick a room ……your home office, for example. Now choose one area. Your desk, one drawer of your desk, a filing cabinet, a closet. Any area,  just keep it small and simple. When you start small and simple and you’ll reach your goal quicker. You reach your goal, you feel good.

Set Yourself Up For Success

Have an area for items to shred (old bills), recycle (magazines), and keep. As you pick up each item, decide which category it falls under. Shred? Recycle? Or keep? *NOTE- there is no “I’ll deal with it later” category. When you have your 3 piles ready, immediately shred your shred items and recycle your recycle items. Now, all you have left are the items your’e keeping. This is where the work comes in! You knew there was a catch, right? What do you  do with it all? Calm down. Let’s not get all excited. No need to be overwhelmed. Put your thinking cap on and get creative.  Group like things together. For my loose papers, I created files. For magazines that I decided to keep, I put them in baskets and put one basket  in my bathroom and one by my reading chair. Putting items where you’ll use them, will keep you better organized. When your better organized, your less stressed. It’s really rather nice once you get used to it!

Stay One Step Ahead

Don’t try to do too much at once. Try to carve out just one hour a week to de-clutter. Also, get in the habit of regular shredding and recycling. That alone will help save you time. If say, you’re all caught up on your shredding, then you can spend that hour you’ve set a side for something else. Maybe even something other than de-cluttering!

It’s all about forming new good habits, having a little bit of discipline and focusing. It feels good  to de-clutter.

Lighten your load, lighten your mess.

Free yourself of clutter and stress! 

It’s all a part of healthy living!




Yes , You Can Make A Difference!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on November 23rd, 2010

What does Vegas, President Obama and the environment have in common? No, it’s not a trick question. The answer is: a woman who uses her creativity, strong set of values, and undying commitment to help ensure a cleaner world for all. Meet Dottie Turner, better known as “Dottie Do”. She’s Nevada’s recycle queen and she has a vision, a story to tell and a lesson for us all.

What you may see as trash, Dottie sees as treasure. A jar that once held jelly, now holds cotton balls on a bathroom counter. An empty juice bottle acts as a beautiful vase for a bouquet of flowers; a plain old shoe box decorated with bits of lace now functions as a jewelry case. Below, plastic pint baskets that once held berries are transformed into a decorative toilet tissue holder.

And of course, her proudest Dottie Do creation, an Obama ’08 campaign poster turned place mat which she presented to the then Senator during a town hall meeting.

Sound simple? Well, it is! In her own words, Dottie says’ “Everything that man has made, can be made into something different”. It’s true, we’re a wasteful society, but we don’t have to be. All we have to be is open. Open to possibilities, open to learning, open to giving and open to caring: for the environment and for future generations. I couldn’t agree more with Dottie when she says, “There are too many people who are not working for the future and thinking about what we leave our children.” She believes that “….our environment deserves as much attention as many of the other important issues of the day.” And she’s right, because without a healthy environment, we don’t have much of a future.

Since I started this blog a year ago, I’ve been preaching about the three R’s of being green: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I’ve said that it takes time to change  old wasteful habits and  that it’s not always easy. And, I’ve heard all the excuses as to why  it’s difficult. “I don’t have time”, “It’s too expensive to go green”, and of course,”I can’t possibly make a difference”. Well Dottie says you’re wrong and I agree. After all, here is a woman  taking her passion for people and planet and creating positive change in her little corner of the world. Imagine if we all took that approach.  Each one of us making a small positive step towards healthier, better living. Each one of us creating a ripple. Eventually, all the little corners of the world  would be a better place. The ripple effect of small change is rather large my friends. Just ask Dottie’s children, grandchildren, neighbors and me, a total stranger who has been so touched by this woman’s deep sense of caring and ingenuity that my ripple has extended out to all of you.

So, the lesson here is, do like Dottie Do! Think creatively, care deeply, and know that yes, you can make a difference!

All photos courtesy of Dottie Turner

5 Eco-Friendly Floor Options

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on August 20th, 2010

Planning on installing a new floor? Nowadays, there are many choices that are both affordable and green. Here are some options to consider and why I’ve chosen them as my top five.

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant  on earth. It can be sustainably harvested every 5-7 years. Although considered a grass, it grows as a stalk and  has been used for centuries in many parts of the world. It  is now being grown commercially in North America. Because of it’s quick replenishing time, it’s an excellent  renewable resource. In fact, Bamboo is now one of the most popular floor choices. At prices ranging from $1.89 – $3.89 per square ft, it’s also an affordable one. You’ll love it’s silky, smooth finish!

Why I like it:

  • Durable – it’s 2x stronger than Oak!
  • Beautiful – there are many unique types of Bamboo offering a wide range of color, grain and application choices. Use it for flooring, cabinets, doors or countertops.
  • Renewable – it replenishes itself every 5-7 years.
  • Affordable – as the demand for quality Bamboo has increased, the price has decreased. I have seen the price as low as $1.89 per sq. ft.
  • Easy Maintenance – no wax floor!

2. Cork

Cork is the ultimate green flooring material and is becoming increasingly more popular these days. A completely renewable resource, cork is harvested from the bark of  living cork oak tress. That means, the tree is never killed to harvest the cork. It has many properties that make it an excellent choice for your home including: a variety of sizes, patterns,colors and applications.

Why I like it:

  • 100% Renewable
  • Healthy For You- it’s naturally hypoallergenic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal which means it’s mildew resistant. A plus for anyone living with allergies or in a damp climate!
  • Insulates Well- keeps your feet warm in winter and cool in summer!
  • Sound Absorbent – muffles sound so it works great in an apartment or condo setting.
  • Easy Installation – can be installed directly over existing floors, concrete slabs or plywood subfloors.
  • Absorbs Shock – it’s easy on the body!
  • Affordable – From $1.49 to $3.49 per sq. ft.
  • Naturally Fire Resistant
  • Low Maintenance

3. Sustainably Harvested &

Reclaimed Lumber

Sustainably harvested wood is extracted from forests in a way that is ecologically sound, and both socially and economically beneficial to the communities in which these forests exist. These managed forests are careful in their harvesting practices, helping to contribute to the preservation of these beautiful forests. This type of wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Reclaimed lumber comes from many sources such as, antique wood from the de-construction of old structures like barns, mills and houses; beams, timbers, wine barrels and box cars. The wood is typically oak, fir or pine. Praised for it’s strength, versatility, rich colors and unique characteristics, reclaimed lumber is a favorite among builders and homeowners alike.

Why I like it:

  • Durable
  • Warm, Rich Colors- there’s a variety of colors from white oak to deep cherry.
  • Unique Appearance- each wood produces it’s own unique and interesting grain.
  • Follows the 3 R’s of Green Decorating- Reduce, Recycle, Repurpose.
  • Multi-Purpose- floors, counter tops, furniture, doors and more!

4. Marmoleum

Marmoleum is a brand name for Linoleum. It’s made by combining natural materials such as linseed oil or pine rosin with wood flour or cork dust.  Free of  VOC’s or other toxic chemicals, it’s a great non-toxic flooring option, especially for those with asthma or allergies. Marmoleum comes in sheets, which can be installed with a solvent free adhesive, or as a square click which doesn’t need any adhesive. It’s durable, easy to clean and comes in a variety of colors and sizes allowing you many design options.

Why I Like it:

  • No off-gassing (off -gassing comes from volatile organic compounds and toxic chemicals such as urea formaldehyde found in vinyl, adhesives, paint, carpet and particle board.)
  • Durable- as the linseed oil oxidizes, the floor becomes harder and more durable.
  • Anti-Static Properties – this means dirt & dust don’t stick, so there’s less cleaning for you!
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Endless Design Possibilities
  • 100% Natural Ingredients & 100% Biodegradable

5. Recycled Glass Tile / Terrazzo

Recycled glass tiles and Terrazzo are both beautiful materials that can be used to create a stunning look (it’s great for counter tops too!). Both are excellent environmentally friendly flooring options that re-purpose what would otherwise be thrown in a landfill.  These tiles are fast becoming the choice for homeowners. Both have high durability, ease of maintenance and a beautiful look!

Recycled glass uses discarded glass bottles that are turned into beautiful recycled glass tiles. Custom looks can be created to fit you’re personal style.

Terrazzo, a centuries old art, mixes bits of broken glass with pieces of marble, granite, ceramic &  porcelain from such sources as discarded sinks and toilets. The bits are then mixed with cement to create beautiful, unique tiles. Found in many commercial settings, like libraries and government buildings, it’s now an affordable option for homeowners.

Why I like it:

  • Follows the 3 R’s of Green Decorating- Reduce, Recycle, Repurpose
  • Multi Purpose – floors, counter tops, backsplash, bathrooms.
  • Frees Up Landfills- since we’re running out of space for our trash, this is a good thing!
  • Huge Color Choice- tile design is practically limitless. Let it jump starts your imagination!
  • Non-Absorptive-they don’t hold water or stains.
  • Beautiful, and allows for creativity

All of these materials are beautiful and a great choice  for you and the planet. Whichever material you choose, make sure  the company you buy from explains the contents of the product. If it’s wood or Bamboo, make sure it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and that it doesn’t contain any added urea formaldehyde, a toxin you don’t want to breathe! Also, be aware that labeling can be tricky. Labeling  something recycled doesn’t mean it’s 100% recycled. Read the contents and ask questions. The better informed you, the better choice you can make!

Decorating with Flea Market Finds & Yard Sale Sensations!!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on July 13th, 2010

Summer is a great time to get outdoors and hit the yard sales and flea markets for great decorating finds. And what better way to help the environment and your wallet! It’s a great way to recycle items that would eventually end up in a landfill and finding great deals is good for the soul and easy on the budget! With a little imagination, you can turn trash into treasure with just about anything! Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Repurpose an old, slightly beat up dresser with fresh paint or stencil and use it as a T.V. stand or night stand in a bedroom. Or, try placing it in your kitchen for exta storage for table linens and special dinner ware.
  • Create some mood lighting with an old glass lampshade and a candle. Look for a vintage colored glass lampshade, place the candle on a small dish and place the glass lampshade on top. You’ve just created a one of a kind lighting piece! The amber colored, dimpled glass piece I used here, creates an interesting textured shadow effect.
  • Picture frames can be turned into many beautiful new items. Install a mirror, fabric, wallpaper, or even a new picture to give an old frame new life. Here, I framed an old record store promotion poster of Mick & Keith. Feeling crafty? Turn your old frame into a serving tray. Place a piece of whimsical fabric or wallpaper under the glass, hot glue some wooden handles on the side and voila!
  • Old wooden doors add architectural interest to any room. In the bedroom, they make great headboards. They can also serve as a dinning table or coffee table. Just leaning one against a blank wall will create a nice conversational piece, adding texture and interest to the room. You can also repurpose old windows. For example, gather a couple of small pictures say, from your vacation, and glue each one to a piece of heavy cardboard. Now hot glue or nail the cardboard to the back of the window.You now have a very unique picture frame that you can hang on a wall of use as a coffee table top!
  • Decorative boxes are one of my favorites! Use them to store your old VHS or cassette tapes, remote controls, or pictures. Odd numbers like 3 or 5, make an interesting arrangement. If you’re lucky enough to find vintage hat boxes, you won’t have to decorate them yourself. However, if you’re feeling crafty, you can always decorate your boxes with shelf paper. Most shelf paper is self-adhesive, just cut it to the size of the box. Try stacking the boxes next to a side chair or place on a table for an added decorative touch.

The key to decorating with great yard sale and flea market finds is to keep an open mind. Try not to get hung up on what the item was originally used for, but rather, what you can do with it. Think outside the box. By doing so, you’ll create one of a kind pieces and give your home a more unique, personal look. Also, get out there early and don’t be afraid to haggle-that’s half the fun! And remember, it’s only a good deal if you love it and can create something useful from it. So, put your creative thinking caps on, get outside and have fun!

*Photo Credits: 2 picture window frame is property of  and the glass lampshade photo is property of Colleen Kennedy.

Make Everyday Earth Day!

Posted by Colleen Kennedy on April 19th, 2010

By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the various Earth Day celebrations and events taking place in your community so, I won’t list them here.

Instead, I’d like to talk about how we can make Earth Day a daily celebration and not just something we do one day a year. Earth Day is not just about celebrating the planet but honoring it and we do that by the choices we make everyday. In my last organizing blog, 7 Tips for Better Organizing, I mention how being organized is a process and a matter of habit. If we take that same mentality and apply it to Earth Day, then slowly, everyday will become Earth Day. Here’s what I propose:

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT OUR HABITS How are we shopping, eating, cleaning, traveling, consuming?  Can we recycle more? Can we consume less? In each of these areas we need to look at our actions and see if what we are doing is helping or hurting our environment. We need to explore alternatives and find eco-friendly solutions. I think one of the biggest change we can make is to consume less. Before we buy am item, we need to ask ourselves, do we really need it? Would my life suffer without this item, or could I actually get along without it? Also, are the things we’re buying supporting companies that are doing good in this world or are we supporting companies that continue to pollute our environment? For example, fair trade products help local families earn a decent living while supporting sustainable practices.

THE LARGER PICTURE What we do today, effects how we live tomorrow. It has been said that it takes 30 days to change a habit. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. It takes commitment, dedication and honesty. It’s a process that begins with small steps. Let this Earth Day be a new beginning, like New’s Year Day. What small step will you take today, tomorrow and the next day to make our world a better place? Honor  Mother Earth, our home, by changing habits to support a healthier, happier lifestyle. In the end, we’ll all be the better for it!