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Posts in category: Green

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

June 2nd, 2016

I am excited to see "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" tonight in San Francisco and I'm honored to be one of the panelists in a short discussion immediately following the film. This event is sponsored by my fellow bay area Chapter Members of NAPO-SFBA (the National Association of Professional Organizers San Francisco Bay Area)

If there is one truth I have gained from my years as a Professional Organizer, it is this: Less is More.

Joshua and Brian, the "Minimalists", who are prolific in this movement of late, tell us to thoughtfully question what adds value to your life. Get rid of clutter to "make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution".

BALANCE is now a San Francisco Green Business

April 4th, 2016

BALANCE Organizing Services Company is very proud to now be a San Francisco Green Business.


Because here at BALANCE we care about conserving resources, sustainability, building community and the health/safety of our workers, we signed up. We took on the rigorous approval process and have been accepted into the SF Green Business Program. We have matched our practices with our values.

San Francisco Green Business exists to help San Francisco businesses adopt environmental practices that are sustainable as well as profitable. Their mission is achieved by setting stringent criteria, providing technical assistance, and publicly recognizing and promoting Green Businesses with a seal that enables customers to shop in keeping with their values.

The Program is made of up of three City agencies. SF Environment runs the program and is supported by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.  The San Francisco Green Business Program is also a member of the Bay Area Green Business Program and the California Green Business Network.

We are so pleased to be a member of this body of amazing businesses here in the bay area!

Reduce Your Mail Clutter in One Minute

October 29th, 2015

With a mission to save natural resources, Catalog Choice is a free service that will reduce your catalog (and phone book!) clutter. If you want to "stop unwanted mail", this free service willl opt you out of catalogs, phone books, coupons, credit card offers, those annoying circulars, and more.

Just ask me! I signed up a couple of years ago and I get virtually NO catalog and circular mail save those from which I order.

If reducing your incoming mail clutter, simplifying your life and even protecting your privacy aren't reason enough, Catalog choice gives a bunch of environment impact arguments to encourage you. Millions of trees, deforestation, industrial energy waste, rotting landfill material, oh my!

Take one minute and stop the mail madness! Sign up

Clutter Pop-up?

June 25th, 2015











On my way home, I came across Twice, a chic pop-up that wants to help you eliminate your clutter by selling it! Cool! According to Twice, "your clutter is someone's treasure. Sell and get paid.", though you have to hurry. It's just an experiment and they close at the end of this month!

Their main business is online selling of your clutter at liketwice.com. The truth is that the internet has opened up many ways to get rid of your clutter virtually. At MoveLoot, they will sell your furniture and household goods. At The Real Real, they will sell your designer goods.

Look around. If just eliminating your clutter to clear your space isn't motivation enough, maybe making a buck or two back for it will get you off the fence!

Fall away from your winter blues by doing some spring cleaning this summer!

Harmonious Organizing

May 19th, 2014

In the following entry contains excerpts from "Harmonious Organizing", Organize Magazine, K. Cox. March/April 2008

There a lots of ways to say it. but my favorite thesaurus word for Organize is Harmonize.

The thing is, if it were easy to make choices about clutter, it wouldn't be, um... clutter. The word harmony, for me, goes deeper. When it comes to making organizing decisions, you need "...to get deeper with your choices about what you keep in your home.".

The following excerpt from an article in Organize Magazine by Kathleen Cox describes Vatsu further explains what I mean. I encourage you to put your belongings to the Vatsu test!

Vatsu is a Hindu tradition of space design to promote harmony with natural forces. According to the principles of Vatsu, your home is your own private universe, therefore nothing in it should be random.

Remember that what appeals to the eye, doesn't necessarily appeal to the soul. Get deeper with your choices about what you keep in your home. What makes sense for the soul are objects with a specific active utilitarian purpose or items that reveal who you are in a profound way. Everything else is clutter.
While physical clutter can lead to mental and emotional clutter, an uncluttered home encourages peace by honoring our special essence and authentic self.  Look around and put your belongings to the vatsu test. Ask yourself:

  • What is this item's use?
  • Do I really use it?
  • Does it have special meaning?
  • How does it fit into my life?

If you draw a blank, it's clutter, and it's taking up valuable space.


Snap it up. Pass it on. You won't miss it because it wasn't connected to your life in the first place.


(Speaking of harmony, I am busy rehearsing to maintain mine as an Alto in the Chorus of the SF Sinfonietta, conducted by the fabulous and talented Maestro Urs Leonhardt Steiner! If you live or are visiting the San Francisco bay area, come and see us in early June.
at Southern Pacific Brewing Company in SF near Folsom and 19th St.
at St. Marks Lutheran Church in SF, O'Farrell and Franklin Streets.

Support the Arts!

The Art of Reuse

October 23rd, 2013

The Art of Reuse

by Katherine Taylor, SCRAP Outreach Coordinator

Do you have arts & crafts materials taking up precious closet space? National Geographics you’re saving for no reason? Breathe new life into your old materials by giving them away in the name of creative reuse!

SF’s best-known secret is SCRAP, the Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts! We accept donations of potential art supplies and provide them free or at low cost to teachers, artists, and the Bay Area community. We love things like fabric and sewing notions, metal, wood, art tools, paper of all kinds, and materials in bulk that teachers can use.

If you are clearing out space or making room for new hobbies, consider donating materials you no longer need. Donations accepted between 10-4pm, Monday- Saturday. Our depot in Bayview is at 801 Toland St., San Francisco, CA 94124 (entrance on Newcomb). SCRAP offers free pick-up for 6+ boxes!
See our website - www.scrap-sf.org - for a full list of what we accept. Free up space in your office or home and help support SF teachers and artists at the same time!

Your support is vital to help SCRAP build and sustain our role in the community. All donations are tax-deductible. Thanks for your support!

The Most Organized Site on Pinterest!  ;)

July 30th, 2013

BALANCE Launches on Pinterest

We are very proud of our new Pinterest site, which will make it easy to share our favorite organizing solutions and some funnies too!

As their mission statement reads, "Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing the things that inspire you. We are located in sunny San Francisco, California."  Thats two great reasons for BALANCE to have a presence there.

Check us out and tell us what you think!

From Clutter to Paperless .. is it possible?

July 16th, 2013

First watch this, to lighten the mood. My Mother sent me this video.. I love it. So funny. 

Going paperless is still a challenge, even in this age of digital everything. My best advice is to start slowly. Here are 10 great steps you can take - knock them off, one at a time, and by 2014 you might just be paperless!

10 Great Ways to Get You to Paperless


1. Opt Out of Junk Mail Lists

Sign up for a service such as DMA Choice to opt out of junk mail and catalog lists. This is a simple thing to do and it will drastically reduce the amount of mail you receive. It's free, and so is CatalogChoice.org or you can go with a paid service like Updater.com.

2. Pay Bills Online

Most big banks offer an online bill pay service for free. Just be careful when selecting an online bill pay service if it is not from a known company - there are more than a few scams out there.

3. Sign up for eStatements

Sign up to receive statements online - from your bank, credit card companies and other financial institutions.

4. Curb the Need to Print

Much of the paper you have you will only look at once, so curb your habit to print. Before you hit "print" on that email, document, or receipt, ask yourself if you really need a paper copy of it. Chances are you don't. 

5. Digitize Everything

Invest in a good scanner and digitize all those papers you have including old bills, important documents, even kids artwork. You'll need 2 key things to make this happen - a good scanner and an online storage service.

6. Create a System for Incoming Mail & Other Paper

Open mail as soon as you get it. If you are brutal about it, to be kind to yourself, you will recycle or shred 80% of it. Have labeled baskets or bin for "Shred", Recycle, To Read, etc. Remember, to manage incoming paper, the key is RAFT'd.

7. Go eBooks

Read Books with an eReader like Kindle, Nook or even your iPad or Phone. They are easier to use then you think.

8. Purge Old Books

Get rid of all those old books that are "non-keepers." If they are in decent condition, consider donating them to Goodwill or a similar non-profit. Or start your own Amazon store.  Have a goal that every book on your shelf is:

  • A book you will read again
  • A book you will refer to
  • A book you will give as a gift to a visitor
  • A book that is a collector's item; an investment
  • A book that is very meaningful or is part of the decor of your home (and these need to be nominal)

9. Minimize Magazine, Newspaper and Newsletter Subscriptions

Have subscriptions to only your very favorite periodicals. Be brutal about it to be kind to yourself. You can always subscribe online or buy one or two issues a year from the magazine stand. Most "free" subscriptions, like from your Insurance company or healthcare provider, can be stopped with one phone call or online request.

10. Convert Owner's Manuals into iPad "Books"

Most, if not all, owner's manuals can be found online now, especially the tech related items.  They take up space, and how much do you actually ever refer to them? I realized I go online now anytime I have a product issue.

SOURCE: Thanks so much to Eden Godsoe of Skinnyscoop.com for this compilation, with my slight edits.

What do you think? I've gotten to 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9. Have you ticked any off the list yet?

All Matter Rots (and clutter speeds up the process)

March 13th, 2013

My 9 year old friend Vaughn - star hockey goalie and fourth grader - is a master player of "Magic: The Gathering" (the world's premier trading card game). Last night, while telling me about the card game and how to play, this was the first card he handed me, which says:

"All matter, animate or not, rots when exposed to time. We merely speed up the process."
—Ezoc, Golgari rot farmer

I just love this message. As an Organizer I portend to "turn matter into energy", with the general idea that matter, or clutter, sits and rots in your space, emoting negative energy. However, an organized clutter-free space serves you well, and has great energy. It slows the process of all matter, exposed to time, rotting away.

In other words, as my clients have heard me say, "everything has a shelf life" and that includes you, me and, especially, all of that clutter.

Slow down the rotting!

(Thanks Vaughny!)

The 2013 DeClutter Challenge and 52 Reasons to Simplify and Organize Your Life

January 8th, 2013

Let it go seascapeI just love this post from Brooke McAlary at SlowYourHome.com. So much so that I'm taking the challenge, ask you to join me and will keep you informed here with insights and tools to help make it happen.

In 2012, Brooke initiated a 2012 Declutter Challenge and she decluttered well over 2012 items from her home. I find this to be so beneficial in soo many ways - for you, your family, your finanaces, your peace of mind and the planet, that I am challenging myself and you to take this onl. Starting today, I will eliminate at least 2013 things from my home and office space over this year.

Let's start with the amazing benefits; some immediate, and some you will appreciate over time as you begin to declutter and get serious about simiplyfing your life of too much stuff.

So, here it is, motivation to take on the 2013 Declutter Challenge:

Brooke's 52 Reasons to Simplify in 2013, reposted from Slowyourhome.com

    1. Less physical clutter in your home.

    2. Less stress from constantly battling clutter and the emotions it brings.

    3. You will be less likely to overcommit yourself in daily life.

    4. Less time spent cleaning.

    5. More time for people you love – your kids, your partner, your parents, your friends.

    6. More good conversations as you will spend less time thinking and talking about stuff.

    7. Less impact on the environment.

    8. Learning that gifts and love are not the same thing.

    9. You will spend less money.

    10. You will eat healthier, less processed foods.

    11. Less dusting because you will have less knick-knacks decorating your home.

    12. Less time organising your belongings.

    13. Less waste – you will collect less packaging, less disposable fashion, less excess food.

    14. Less likely to inadvertently support child slavery and unfair work conditions through buying cheap, disposable items.

    15. You can stop being a slave to fashion trends.

    16. More honesty – you will get to understand what’s truly important in life, and honesty follows swiftly.

    17. You will focus less on the negative aspects of others – and yourself.

    18. Improve your mindfulness as you strip away all the things that distract you.

    19. Naturally focus on your health more as your self-awareness improves.

    20. Eat less takeaway.

    21. Feel pride in your efforts.

    22. Feel lighter in yourself – emotionally and physically.

    23. Accept that its OK to move forward, to change, to evolve.

    24. You will have more energy.

    25. You will think more clearly.

    26. Feeling more content with what you have.

    27. You will feel happier – or give yourself the opportunity to experience more happiness.

    28. More time to pursue passions and hobbies.

    29. More time for relaxation or to do nothing at all.

    30. Tidier wardrobes.

    31. You will be able to help those less fortunate with donations of both physical items and money.

    32. Spend less time getting dressed in the mornings.

    33. You will only own clothes that you like, fit well and suit your lifestyle.

    34. Spend less time organising your stuff.

    35. Everything you own will have it’s place – meaning it’s much easier to keep tidy.

    36. You will learn to embrace quality over quantity.

    37. Learning to look after what you do have.

    38. Discover that the value of people and the value of their stuff is not related.

    39. Watch less TV – you will cut out the mindless channel surfing.

    40. You will be more likely to consider travelling.

    41. You will have less luggage when you do.

    42. You will be more inclined to look for adventure or the road less travelled.

    43. Less time (and money) wasted shopping for things you don’t need.

    44. You will pay your bills on time.

    45. Your house will look more appealing because it will be less cluttered.

    46. Your cleaning routine will be simpler and easier.

    47. You will be less likely to find housework overwhelming.

    48. You need less furniture, which gives you more space.

    49. Your home and its style will reflect you, not IKEA.

    50. No more dreading drop-in visitors.

    51. You are giving yourself the opportunity to get out of debt.

    52. You can start saving for that long-awaited holiday/house deposit/college fund.

Ka-boom. Let's go for it...STARTING NOW. Whoop!

(and if you need help, we're here for you!)

Get Righteous and Rename Your “Get Organized” Resolution

January 1st, 2013

If you do a web search, you will find, year after year, that to get organized is usually one of the top 10 New Year's resolutions we set for ourselves. Since it shows up every year, it is safe to assume that we often fail to achieve this rewarding yet difficult resolution.

This year I would like to suggest, not just in honor of our beloved yet suffering planet but to make it easy on you as well, that we rename this resolution and call it: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Getting organized is a term that carries weight from your past, laced with the idea that you should be able to get yourself in order. It can feel like a sacrafice. It's no wonder the edict is so unachievable.

On the other hand, striving to simply reduce, reuse and recycle in everyday life is a fresh idea. It is righteous, honorable and just as rewarding getting organized. Further, reducing, reusing, and recycling can help not just you and your family, but also your community, and the environment since is saves money, energy, and natural resources.

Get organized by:

  • Reducing and reusing throughout your household.
  • Get your stuff reused by donating it to your favorite charity.
  • Recycling and repurposing clutter that doesn't serve you.
  • Eliminating used electronics via a multitude of local options.
  • Checking here for some options to get you started: www.epa.gov

And as ever, stay tuned to us here at BALANCE, where we can help you turn matter into energy!


How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days, Day 30: Contest and Clutter-eliminating Prizes!

June 2nd, 2012

In celebration of the 30th day of How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days, here's a chance to play and win! Guess correctly what blog entry in the
Get Organized Save the Planet in 60 campaign fits with each of these pictures and you're a WINNER!

ewaste CFL Bulbs Mad Men's Don Draper Pill Pile 

All winners will receive a BALANCE Get Organized Gift bag, which includes a copy of the book Get Organized Today and other useful organizing gifts.

Fine Print:
Completely biased judging by the BALANCE team, so be creative; multiple answers will be accepted.
Two photos can match with one blog entry.. or not. 
Blog entries are at this 60 Seconds to BALANCE blog dated April 20th to May 20th 
Up to 20 winners chosen randomly from all correct entries.
UPDATE: Use the form on the CONTACT page to submit you entry.
Extra credit if you share this on Facebook, Twitter or other Social Media sites!

Good Luck.

Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60, Day 29:  Use Your Butterfly Power

May 20th, 2012

beautiful butterflyChaos Theory's "butterfly effect" states that a butterfly flapping it's wings in Asia may cause a hurricane halfway around the world.

According to Chaos theory, "complex and chaotic systems -- which means most of the systems we encounter in nature and in society -- cannot accurately be predicted or exclusively controlled. Neither can rigid systems be easily budged. However, there's a loophole. What if we acted through the myriad tiny feedback loops that hold a society together? Chaos tells us that each one of us has an unrecognized but enormous influence on these loops. Chaos suggests that although we may not have power of the controller in the traditional sense, we all possess the "butterfly power" of subtle influence. 
                                                          -- John Briggs and F. David Peat, Seven Life Lessons of Chaos

Use your butterfly power. One small step at a time.

How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days - simple sustainability ideas to get you organized.

Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60, DAY 27: Packing Peanut Progress, But Clutter Nevertheless

May 19th, 2012

Polystyrene loose-fill packing materials, more commonly known as "packing peanuts", actually only contain about 0.4% polystyrene resin. The other 99.6% is simply air. That could be why it didn't take long to produce an eco-friendly alternative - the cornstarch peanut - which is 100% biodegradable and can be tossed in the compost pile. The Styrofoam version cannot be recycled and is a problem when it ends up in the landfill. The bottom-line, either way, is that packing peanuts end up as clutter in many offices and households.

What's the answer, you ask? Of course we have it here at the headquarters of How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days!

Packing PeanutsPLASTIC

• Many packaging stores (like UPS and Mail Boxes, Etc.) will take your peanuts and packing material.

• Find a local drop-off location at the Plastic Loose Fill Council or call their Peanut Hotline at 800-828-2214.


• Toss the cornstarch peanuts in the compost. (Don't eat them, man. contrary to a recent ad campaign, it's not a vegetable!)

• If you don't compost

• Cut up/shred the peanuts with scissors and mix with potted plant soil. The peanuts will break down and dissolve into the compost or soil over time.


• Fill a large bucket or trashcan with the packing peanuts. Add hot water to dissolve the peanuts. After the packing peanuts have dissolved, pour the starch residue and water down a drain.


Finally, for a packing peanut alternative, use shredded paper. If you don't have a shredder to protect yourself from identity theft, we strongly recommend you get one. If you do, and ideally if it's a cross-cut shredder, it's a great packing matierial alternative. A different messy problem to plastic peanuts, but on both ends its recyclable.

Day 25: The Symbiosis of Zine Clutter Clearing

May 16th, 2012

Piles of magazines are a perfect example of the symbiosis of sustainability and organization. To be sure, symbiosis, defined:
sym·bi·o·sis - noun -
1: the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms; especially : mutualism
2: a cooperative relationship (as between two persons or groups)

Magazine PileIn reference to piles of old magazine subscriptions, by minimizing the magazines you read to those that you can consume in a timely fashion, you eliminate both the annoying clutter that clogs up your space and the need to fell trees - a planet hardship; the natural symbiosis of living a sustainable and organized life.

So for the planet's sake, consider your situation with magazines. I was at my local library and they were selling bundles of magazines for $1.00. What a great way to get rid of your piles of magazines - the library will reuse them. Besides the library, other places who may want your magazines include a doctor’s office, hospital or laundromat; a residential home or hospice; and schools, for children’s art projects or class work. You might even find a bookstore that will credit or pay a pittance for them. Save another bunch of trees by cutting back on the number of subscriptions you have to just those you love and can actually read in the short term. (Don't forget, magazines have a short shelf life

Read on, but not so it hurts!

Stay with us for more ideas on How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days - One simple tip a day to help you live organized and sustainable.

Get Organized Save Planet in 60, Day 24: Options to Scrap Your High Tech Clutter!

May 15th, 2012

Three for Tuesday - a 3-part tip on letting go of your old tech gear at last!

What to with all your old technology...? I find most people are reluctant to donate or discard computers, cell phones, hard drives and other data devices for fear that someone will get access to your confidential information. That is a valid fear. Data theft is actually pretty easy for a reasonably savvy scoundrel. Yet, once it's clean, it's pretty easy to eliminate this gear responsibly, thoughtfully or even profitably!

Keyboard in the GrassPart 1: Erasing the confidential data
Here’s a great video from PC World that guides you through several options to completely erase your hard drive, including the sledgehammer approach!

For mobile phone data, there are companies who would like to recycle, reconstruct and resell your old cell phone. As a service, they provide details on how to clear it for just about any mobile phone.
Pace Butler’s Data Erase Page
Secure Trade-in's Data Erase Page

Part 2: How to eliminate Tech Gear, the charity route…
There are likely several options for eliminating your tech gear right around the corner from your home. Most are run by non-profit organizations looking to fund raise. Making a quick phone call to your neighborhood school or community organization may be all you need to do to find out when the next technology drop-off day will be right in your hood!
Here are a few resources for you as well:

  • The Consumer Electronics Association sponsors a Recycle Electronics locator service. (While visiting there, you might also find the Energy Calculator interesting, to find out how much in energy dollars your electronics are costing you monthly and annually.)
  • If you have working products to donate and want to be sure they go to a non-profit who can use them, Christina.org will take care of you. Just let them know what you have and where you are and they'll hook you up!
  • Find a location here to take your Sony electronic products
  • Check out your nearby Office Depot Store, Staples or Electronics Store as most of them have a recycle program to offer.

Part 3: How to eliminate Tech Gear, the money route…
If you're short on funds and would like some money for your tech gear, you can always try to sell it on ebay.com or craigslist, but for the fastest route, I <3 Gazelle.com, who will give you a quote for your working tech gear. Check out my previous blog post for more Gazelle.com details.

Thanks for staying tuned to How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days – daily tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Improving our planet and your life, brick by brick:

I avoid grandiose plans.  I start with a small piece that I can do.  I go to the root of the problem and then work around it.  It's building brick by brick.”  Muhammad Yunus

Day 20: Clutter Hunger

May 11th, 2012

"We excel at making a living but often fail at making a life. We celebrate our prosperity but yearn for purpose. We cherish our freedoms but long for connection. In an age of plenty, we feel spiritual hunger."

...and this is the American Paradox, according to David Myers. Once again, it's not about the stuff. And I have seen it many times before for my clients. Once you start letting of clutter, you make space for amazing things to come in to your life. De-clutter this weekend and find some purpose and a connection.

find purpose


Day 19: Manifest a Greater Future for your Plastic Clutter!

May 10th, 2012

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you – just one word.
Ben: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Ben: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: ‘Plastics.’
Ben: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Ben: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That’s a deal.

However, years later, Mr. McGuire might have been referring to the fact that plastic takes practically forever to go away! Petroleum-based plastics are non-biodegradable and are accumulating in our oceans, and in the bellies of birds and fish. Most of its coming from us, not from ships or the fishing industry. It's coming from land and washing down our water sheds.

What to do? Minimize your plastic purchasing and reuse plastic whenever and however you can. Give it a useful future.

P.S. Was Mr. Maguire the first person to say Enough Said?

Anyway, plastic = bad. Enough said.

Please hang with us for 41 more days of How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days - small sustainabilityideas to get you organized!

How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days, Day 18:  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!

May 9th, 2012

Don’t sweat the small stuff when recycling your paper, meaning the sticky notes, staples and such. In the paper recycling process, it all gets put into a big vat and pureed into a pulp "smoothie" where the random paper clip, staple or the sticky note glue substances get separated out. So recycle freely!

Day 16 & 17 - Your Unorganized Office Could be a Teacher’s Paradise!

May 8th, 2012

Two Tip Tuesday! Part 2.

In most offices that I have organized, a portion of the clutter is always office supplies. We gather tools of all kinds to support ourselves in our daily work, yet, since things changes constantly, there may no longer be a use for much of the office supplies you have gathered over the years to be productive. Meanwhile, most school teachers, already underpaid, are faced with shrinking budgets and forced to forage on their own for tools, school supplies and craft projects. Put things back in balance by sorting and boxing up office supply overstock and donate it to your local school. During the school day, just walk in with a box of it. This simple act will make you feel so good to when you see how grateful they are to get your clutter!

If stopping at a school is not convenient, here are some alternatives:
Do Something.org - who partners with Staples each year for a school supply drive
DonorsChoose.org - where you can choose a project based on a topic that interests you
Adopt A Classroom - who matches donors with a classroom in need of supplies

A bonus to this planet-friendly tip is that if you take the time to gather, sort and edit/purge your office supplies, it will make an impact in organizing your office. The process will make the space to move forward in organizing the other key area of office clutter - paper and files.

Thanks for joining us for How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days - practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought daily on living sustainable and organized.

Day 14 & 15 - Crayon Clutter?

Two-tip Tuesday!  Part 1.

We took the weekend off so we're giving you two tips today...

Tip 1: Have you got crayon clutter? Are the "kids" using them anymore? If your household is in the teen years plus, there is a place to donate your used crayons. Check it! You can recycle them at www.crazycrayons.com. Crazy Crayons estimates that 12 Million "petroleum-based wax" crayons end up in our landfills every day, so they take unwanted, broken crayons and recycle them into new crayons and firestarters. Fun recycled crayon products that are great gift ideas.

Stay tuned for more How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days - simple, sustainable daily tips that get you organized too! Many people taking one small step at a time for personal and planet BALANCE.

Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days - Day 13: Plastic Bag Clutter

May 4th, 2012

Plastic bags are a blight on the planet. But don't take my word for it. The facts are in this article at Livestrong.com or check out this video to sort it out for you. I expect the number is decreasing, but according to a recent estimate, Americans use one trillion plastic shopping bags each year.

By now, most of us have a plastic bag alternative. The problem now seems to be remembering to take it with you when you go to the grocery store! Here are two simple options:

  • If you drive to the store, keep reusable or recycle shopping bags in your car, so they will be active and ready to serve you on your next grocery run.
  • If you walk to the store, install a hook or a nail near the exit door and hang them there.. again, ready and waiting to serve you.

Thanks for staying tuned to How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days. One simple sustainable organizing tip at a time.


Day 12:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… Clutter-free philosophy

May 3rd, 2012

As a Professional Organizer, you see a lot of bins. What I mean is, by the time my clients call me, they have attempted to organize on their own many times and often start by going to the store and buying containers and bins, or a new shelf unit, or a closet system. We learn, as Professional Organizers, to reuse containers. During engagements, we always end up with a "container" area, and it is the one thing I make sure my clients don't purge or edit from their collection. Bins and containers of any kind, from the old tupperware containers to a shelf-extenders and wall hooks, it will likely be useful somewhere along the line as we organize. This is why I live fully with the 3 R's in my practice, especially the middle one. Reuse or as we call it, re-purpose, your stuff whenever you can.

"Commonly known as the three Rs, the reduce, reuse, recycle principle — in that order — is simply a way to live by producing less waste. You can have a major impact on the amount of trash that ends up in the landfills simply by changing your habits about buying, using and discarding your stuff. 

Here are a few of the thousands of ways you can reuse your stuff:
- use reusable containers
- maintain and repair products before buying new ones
- participate in your local recycling program

and if you must buy,
- buy products made from recycled materials
- buy products that are less toxic or contain less packaging

Live the 3 R's, in that order!"

[N. Castelli Excerpt from Get Organized Today]

Happy Thursday to you. It's cool and raining a little in San Francisco.


Day 11: Detox your Clutter!

May 2nd, 2012

I often see toxic stuff as clutter because most people really want to eliminate it responsibly but don't know how! Take some time now to collect this toxic stuff from around your home, if it's not serving you, as is the first step of organizing. We will provide you with more ideas during this campaign on how to get rid of it. If you can't wait, check out earth911.com - an information-packed website that will help you find the right resource.

This stuff is toxic, A.K.A., not for the landfill:
Technology gear, computers, mobile phones
Fluorescent tubes, CFLs
Pesticides and other garden chemicals
Ammunition, explosives
Road flares
Latex paint
Oil paint and other finishes
Solvents and thinners
Cleaning solutions, including, ammonia, bleach, TSP, all-purpose cleaners, metal polish
Used cooking oil
Fire extinguishers
Roofing tar and adhesives
Used motor oil and auto products
Photographic chemicals
Pool chemicals

Stay tuned to Get-Organized-Save-Planet-in-60 for practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Word. :)

Get Organized Save Planet in 60, Day 10: Is there Clutter in your Energy Bill?

May 1st, 2012

Save energy and fight climate change with ENERGY STAR qualified products. They use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment. As of 2012, EPA estimates that ENERGY STAR products prevent more than 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. These and other Energy Star savings have offset the need for more than 185 additional power plants.

Refreshing your appliances eliminates clutter in your energy bill!

And when you do, don't send your old stove to the landfill. Keep the planet recycle circle complete by recyclling your old appliances instead. Repurposed steel is more energy-efficient than newly produced steel. If you have questions about recycling an old appliance, call 1-800-YES-1-CAN where a live operator will help you find the recycling services available in your area.

Day 9:  Clutter and the Planet - What’s the connection?

April 30th, 2012

"What does getting organized have to do with the planet? you may ask. Great question. Let me explain.

Everyone and everything on the planet is some form of matter and energy spinning together, evolving and all connected. Human beings are a lot of energy and a bit of matter. A tree, on the other hand, is more matter than energy. Let’s take it even smaller now — down to those shoes in your closet. They, too, are bits of matter and energy—the energy of a tree for its wood, perhaps a cow for itsleather and of course the human hands which formed them. Parts of this spinning earth came together to create a pair of shoes whose purpose is to protect your feet, allowing you to walk comfortably. When they are on your feet, supporting you, you give purpose to all the matter and energy that went into that pair of shoes. On the other hand, when they sit at the bottom of your closet, simply gathering dust, the purpose of those shoes is lost.

With this premise, I hope you can see how getting organized is all about sustainability. It’s about making sure that the stuff that you have around you supports and serves you. If it doesn’t, consider that it is actually bad for you and for our planet to hold on to possessions that could be out there serving someone else.

There are lots of reasons for you to get organized - peace of mind, balance, productivity, self-esteem. Allow me to give you one more. Do it for the planet — to sustain this planet for all of our children and their children, and so on. I invite you to embrace this philosophy, make it your own and put some balance back into the planet, and into your life. Turn matter into energy."

Excerpt from the book "Get Organized Today".

Thank you for tuning in to How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days. Join us for practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Peace.

Day 8:  The Story of Stuff: From Clutter to Conscious

April 29th, 2012

My nephew introduced The Story of Stuff video to me several years ago. Take a moment to watch this if you haven't already, or watch it again if you have! 

A simple straight-forward video by Annie Leonard and The Story of Stuff Project. The video lightly but seriously explains the underside of our production and consumption patterns and how our linear system does not work on a finite planet. Annie says she's not against stuff, she just "wants us to have greater reverence and appreciation for our stuff instead of this buying and chucking all the time" Instead, think about the fact that "someone mined those metals, felled that forest, produced those crops or fished in that ocean" to produce what we get.

Think twice before you buy new stuff or replace your old stuff.


Please stay tuned to Get-Organized-Save-Planet-in-60 for 52 more days of practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Balancing our love of stuff with love for the planet, one little idea at a time.

Get Organized Save Planet in 60, Day 7: Sneaker Clutter!

April 28th, 2012

When it's time to say goodbye to your sneakers, bring them to any Nike Reuse-A-Shoe drop-off location – there are more than 200 locations around the world, including all U.S. Nike stores. They turn them into basketball courts, football fields and, of course, new sneaks!

Thanks, Nike, for playing ball.

Thank you for visiting the "How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 days" campaign. Stay tuned for 53 more days of practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Namaste.

Day 6:  Sustainable Inspiration…it’s not about the stuff

April 27th, 2012

Welcome to Day 6 of How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days. For today, just a few words of inspiration for you.

First, from Donella Meadows, a pioneer in the movement for an environmentally sustainable society, 1941 - 2000

"People don't need enormous cars, they need respect. They don't need closets full of clothes, they need to feel attractive and they need excitement and variety and beauty. People don't need electronic equipment; they need something worthwhile to do with their lives. People need identity, community, challenge, acknowledgement, love, and joy. To try to fill these needs with material things is to set up an unquenchable appetite for false solutions to real and never-satisfied problems. The resulting psychological emptiness is one of the major forces behind the desire for material growth."

Karl Marx said it a little differently, back in his Economic And Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844

"The devaluation of the human world increases in direct relation to the increase in value of the world of things."

Thank you for reading this blog. Have a beautiful weekend with your friends and family, and maybe give someone you love a kiss. You are on this planet for a very particular reason and you are amazing and unique. Challenge yourself. And for the joy part, here's one final quote from my favorite comedian, Steven Wright

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

Get-Organized-Save-Planet-in-60, Day 5: Is Your Old Mobile Phone Still Clutter?

April 26th, 2012

Statue of LibertyDue to the short shelf-life of the tech gear we so love, hundreds of millions of used cell phones are taken out of service each year. Two brothers founded ReCellular, Inc. to refurbish, reuse and responsibly recycle discarded cell phones. The aim is to keep valuable materials out of landfills, including an estimated $630,000 of precious metals from circuit boards, and enough copper from phone chargers to recover the Statue of Liberty, twice!

You can sell your old iphone or blackberry here
Buy a refurbished model for a bargain (at the store appropriately called Mobile Karma
Donate your phone by using the locator to find one of 40,000 drop off locations. The site even has a handy little Data Eraser service to determine how to erase all your confidential information! 

Tres eco, ReCellular Inc.!

Please stay tuned to Get-Organized-Save-Planet-in-60 for 55 more days of practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Got Clutter?

Day 4: Local Hardware Stores will Recycle Your Clutter

April 25th, 2012

In most cities, your nearby hardware store will take your recycle materials, often including batteries, cell phones; and even latex paint, Christmas lights and plastic plant pots! At Lowes, they "collected nearly 44 tons of CFLs and 236 tons of rechargeable batteries at in-store recycling centers last year. In 2012, they "expect recycling revenue to exceed their waste costs for the first time ever."  Be sure to think locally if you can; in San Francisco, our local Cole Hardware Stores have great recycling options.

If you want more information on this tip, contact me.

Please stay tuned to How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days for 56 more days of practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Watch the planet smile.

Get-Organized-Save-Planet-in-60 Day 3: The win win!

April 24th, 2012

During these 60 days, we will list sustainable ways to get rid of the very typical types of clutter that we see over and over again in the homes and offices of clients. It's clutter because you know it can be recycled but you haven't yet done the research on how. Or maybe it's clutter because you just haven't decided whether it's time to let it go. This campaign will give you options to help you make those choices.

The result: You free yourself of limiting clutter and the planet gets back resources.

It's a win, win!

"Everything in excess is opposed to nature." 
-- Hipocrates (460-377 B.C.E.)


Day 2: Stop the Junk Mail!

April 23rd, 2012

Start at the mail box. Go to www.dmachoice.org or if you are in the San Francisco bay area go to stopjunkmail.org. At least 80% of your mail is someone trying to sell you something, and the Direct Marketing Association will stop most of that by going through their now mostly online process at DMAchoice.org.

Take af few minutes. Log in. Fill out the forms.

It's simple. It works. It's worth it.

Enough said.


If you want more information on this tip, contact me.

Please stay tuned to Get-Organized-Save-Planet-in-60 for 58 more days of practical tips, inspiration, and food for thought on living sustainable and organized. Their symbiotic!

Day 1:  How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days

April 22nd, 2012

How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 days starts here, now.

sus·tain·able (adj)
a : of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged
b : of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods

clut·ter (verb)
 : to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness

By eliminating your clutter, you are not only serving yourself, you are serving the planet.  The mission of the get organized & save the planet 60 campaign is to help you see how living a sustainable life and living an organized life are symbiotic!

Try it, one day at a time. I hope you will stay tuned!

Live it, like Tommy and Ludacris

Climate Change a Market Failure - How to to Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days

April 20th, 2012

In his report on the economics of global warming in 2006, Sir Nicholas Stern calls climate change a “market failure on the greatest scale the world has seen”. Then the economy failed, and our collective eye got further off the ball. Maybe it's time for one small change a day? That's what we think here at BALANCE Organizing Services based in ultra eco-friendly San Francisco.

In the seven years since opening her Professional Organizing practice in San Francisco, Nancy Castelli has morphed into a Save-the-Planet zealot. Yet her authentic and intuitive approach is really about getting her clients organized. "Getting organized is all about sustainability", Nancy quotes in a book she co-authored (Get Organized Today). "Putting the stuff that doesn't serve you back out into the Planet to serve someone else is simply the right, sustainable thing to do." Nancy brings a refreshing perspective to the long-begrudged task of finally getting organized, making it about the planet and living a sustainable life, rather than making it about you and your past transgressions around clutter. Her planet-friendly advice and philosophy will have you clearing out your closets, liberating yourself of stuff, and minimizing your planet-footprint in no time.

To celebrate seven years in business, and to help her clients and followers launch optimistically into the spring cleaning season, Nancy has put together a 60-day virtual event series chock full of daily inspiration, moments of brillance and practical, executable tips to eliminate clutter in a sustainable way. If you haven't had a good excuse to clear your clutter, well, you just got one! Do it for the planet's sake.

How to Get Organized and Save the Planiet in 60 Days starts Sunday, April 22nd, apropos that it is also Earth Day 2012. It is a 60-day virtual event series to help you get organized in a sustainable way and serve the planet. Smart and illuminating daily updates include:

• Organizing tips that are sustainable.

• Sustainability tips that will get you organized too!

• Coaching advice to motivate you to action.

• Inspiration and sustainable food for thought.

• Videos, prizes, and more...

Stay tuned by flowing the BALANCE blog, BALANCE on Facebook (facebook.com/balancesf) or on Twitter (@matter2energy).

On Earth Day 2012 - How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days!

April 9th, 2012

How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days!

Planet EarthOn Earth Day, April 22nd, 2012, we will launch a 60-day virtual event series to help you get organized in a sustainable way and serve the planet. Wrap your arms around the planet and get some BALANCE for yourself too. It’s symbiotic!

Smart and illuminating daily updates including:

• Organizing tips that are sustainable.

• Sustainability tips that will get you organized too!

• Coaching advice to motivate you to action.

• Inspiration and sustainable food for thought.

• Gifts, prizes, and more...


Join us on April 22nd at our BALANCE blog, on Facebook (facebook.com/balancesf) or on Twitter (@matter2energy).


A Jolt of Organizing Inspiration!

March 8th, 2012


A Clutter Clearing Proposition: Turn Matter Into Energy!

January 31st, 2012

I believe in matter and energy. I believe that everything, all of us and everything around us, is some form of matter and energy, spinning together, evolving and all connected. Human beings are a lot of energy and only bits of matter (ask a shark!). A tree, on the other hand, is more matter than energy. Let's take it smaller now, down to those shoes in your closet. They, too, are bits of matter and energy, made from the energy of a tree for its wood, perhaps a cow for its leather and of course, the human hands that designed and crafted them. Parts of our spinning earth came together to create a pair of shoes whose purpose is to protect your feet, support you as you walk and make you look fabulous. Those simple shoes are supporting you with joy, because you have given purpose for all the matter and energy that went into their creation.  Yin Yan day nite

So how is clutter supporting you in your life? How is matter and energy working in that case?  What purpose do those other pairs of shoes have that you have not worn in months or perhaps years? Indeed, nothing. Nobody wins in that case. The clutter stuff has no purpose. The planet gave up natural resources for nothing. And you, you are at minimum wasting time digging around the clutter to find the things that do serve you, and at worst (and more typically) are punishing yourself for the clutter in your life.
When you consider your own clutter challenges, consider this: That pile of paper wants a purpose. Those piles and boxes full of who knows what are not serving anyone. Those shoes need your feet, or someone’s! So get busy making decisions on your stuff. Ask: Is this active and serving me in my life?  If not, get it out of your space and back into this spinning planet to serve someone else. Or recycle it. It's good for you. It's good for the planet. It's good for your shoes! EVERYONE WINS! Especially fabulous YOU.

Turn matter - your clutter and disorder - into energy - where everything is in its place waiting to serve you.

Welcome to BALANCE - A place to help support your ongoing quest to live a more organized and balanced life. 

Make that change - clearing your planet’s clutter.

May 12th, 2011

I was listening to talk show a while back on NPR where the respected commentator asked a panel repeatedly: “What are you doing to affect sustainability in your everyday life.” For a long time, the educated and interesting members of the speaker panel could NOT answer this simple question. It was evaded, ..ignored. Finally a young gentleman said something close to: "I took a water bottle [given at this conference] the first day and have been refilling it with the tap water in my hotel room".

Simple,  beautiful,   green.

So, what are you doing to affect sustainability in your everyday life? What if I told you it’s so easy to have least one answer, if not 10!

And if one person at a time changes a habit, that's MILLIONS, TRILLIONS in the reduction of use of water bottles, for example, which otherwise are a daily blow to our planet’s health.

My gift to you - to follow are some easy planet-friendly habits to add to your life. Reduce, reuse and recycle; in that order; for the love of Our Planet:

  • Water bottles, as mentioned above (only reuse once or twice.) And/or, buy an aluminum water bottle or two and use them daily.
  • Recycle books. Everyone can use them. They were made from trees. They educate us. Most donation centers and libraries will take them.
  • Visit your local community recycle/trash service. Ask questions.
  • Pick up your doggies poop. No really - your doggies cute, but the poop is toxic and of no value to any surface. In particular, the bottom of my hiking boot. Aarrgh!
  • Designate a (sealed, hard plastic) bin somewhere to collect expired (toxic!) batteries. Put it in a shared hallway if you live in a multi-unit space. Hardware stores will take your batteries.
  • Stop shopping for a while
  • Most Packaging stores will take your styrofoam peanuts.
  • Get a programmable thermostat.
  • And more... wire hangers, ... tech gadgets, ...shopping bags, ... magazines, ... fabric, ... office supplies. People could really use this stuff, like drycleaners, non-profit organizations and schools. For more info, read my book for the top ten ways... Pg. 188!

Michael JacksonAnd here's your inspiration:

Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" ...make that change!

Sad Video

Michael Jackson Tribute, also sad

Or just listen, and make a change.

Book: Get Organized TODAY

July 23rd, 2010

Get Organized TODAY is a key tool in building a successful life; to bring ease and flow to your day-to-day living when clutter has got you down. More professional and personal organization and preparedness expertise is yours with these insights from Nancy and her organizing peers. With Get Organized Today, you will better manage your life and be ready to handle any situation with ease. To support you on your mission to live an organized and balanced life.

Free Teleseminar Series to learn more!

Get Organized Today Cover

This book includes expert strategies to:

  • Capture the Vision to Create a Space You'll Love
  • Create a Productive Environment in Five Steps
  • Overcome Chronic Disorganization
  • Build the Perfect Closet
  • Create a Home Office that Works for You
  • Conquer Paper Piles
  • Organize for Disaster and Be Prepared!
  • and more...

Including Nancy's Chapter ->  Get Organized for the Planet, that outlines 10 incredibly easy ways to turn your matter (clutter) into energy (where everything is in its place waiting to serve you) in an Eco-Friendly way!

Cost:  $24.00

Create Less Trash

July 20th, 2010

Planet Tip – Create Less Trash

It has been measured that each year Americans produce 4.6 pounds of garbage per person every day. Let’s take a simple step to help sustain the planet by creating less Trash! Here's a few easy ways to cut back on your weekly waste, sourced from Real Simple Magazine:Land Fill

  • Banish plastic packaging - On your next shopping trip, steer clear of plastic containers. Look for comparable items packed in paper cartons or sold in bulk.
  • Stock up on sponges and handkerchiefs. Forgo the rolls (and rolls) of paper towels you use and try reusable sponges or washcloths to clean up spills. Or put in use some old fashioned handkerchiefs in lieu of using those big boxes of tissues everywhere, cluttering up your garbage cans.
  • Feed the Earth. Compost food scraps instead of throwing them away with your regular trash. They'll break down and help create fertile soil for the garden or houseplants. Indeed, the Secret to some of the most productive gardens is the use of compost. You will find "how to build a compost bin" instructions all over the web. Here's my favorite: http://simplemom.net/how-to-make-a-compost-bin/
  • Concentrate. Choose concentrated versions of household basics, such as laundry detergent. You will use less of the product and won’t have to throw away big containers as regularly. Especially if you have soft water, which means you can use about half the recommended detergent per load!

For the Planet, Turn Your Trash into Usable Stuff!

February 22nd, 2010

You often hear the story about the young guy who gets famous with some techno business idea and you may think, darn I wish it were me. This story is so super fine and cool, you won't be green with envy, but it is green! Terracycle was founded in 2001 by a 19 year old Princeton Univ. freshman named Tom Szaky whose dream was to find a more responsible way of doing business that was not just good for the bottom line, but good for the planet and for people.


Terracycle is an extraordinary operation that turns your “trash” into useable stuff. Send them your juice bags, for example, and they will turn them into colorful purses and pencil cases and resell them at Target or Walgreens. They’ll even donate money to your charity of choice for each item you send them.

Cookie WrappersTo participate in the Candy Wrapper Brigade, for example, all you do is sign up online and you will receive prepaid postage labels and collection materials from Terracycle. Once you collect enough candy wrappers to fill a collection bag, you affix the prepaid postage label and drop it off to UPS. The program is designed for schools, universities and other non-profit organizations that get money back for each item collected.

As of this writing, Terracycle has over 8.6 million people collecting trash, are making 181 products and have donated $562,000 to charities.

Go Tom. Get Green.  ...and the planet lives on.

Get Rid of Your Tech Gadget Clutter!

January 4th, 2010

There's a great way to get rid of your possibly valuable but definitely toxic to the planet high tech devices and gadgets.  Check out www.gazelle.com.  At the site you can calculate the value of your gadgets; they will give you a quote and even send you a box or envelope to mail it to them (with prepaid postage!)  Gazelle will resell or recycle the product for you. Buh bye clutter and the check is in the mail! It’s all good. A small step towards clearing some of your more valuable clutter.

By the way, you will likely get a little less for the higher worth items then you might if you used eBay or Craigslist to sell them. But, really, how long has that Sell on Ebay pile been sitting there in the corner. Your time may be much to valuable for that!

Meet Nancy Castelli