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Posts in category: SavePlanetin60

The last 30 of 60 in 10, and Other Happenings

June 20th, 2012

The 2nd half of How to Get Organized and Save the Planet in 60 Days will begin in 10 days on July 1st. Join us for more practical eco-tips that also get you organized in your home, office or business. If you want to catch up, it's all here.

Meanwhile, stay tuned to this blog for the scoop on my upcoming weekend filming an episode of Hoarders. Cool, right! As a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, I am one of 8 Organizers chosen to join the team. We will be filming in the Haight/Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.

I expect this adventure to be illuminating in so many ways and fruitful for my practice.. and therefore, for you.

Whoop! Here we go. Filming starts this coming Saturday, 24 June!

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 26: Business Clutter Clearing - Start at the Mail Box

May 17th, 2012

Save Money Key

For businesses large and small, here's a planet-friendly tip: stop receiving mail meant for former employees by visiting the Ecological Mail Coalition. For every former employee entered into the site's database, a company will avoid 100 pounds of waste in undeliverable mail. That's equivalent to one tree! Since the estimate is that one former employee's bulk mail costs your business $18 or more, it's another win-win!

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.


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).

Meet Nancy Castelli