How to (Safely) Get Rid of Old Tech Clutter
Electronics are far more disposable than they were decades ago; when technology advances or when something breaks, we tend to replace old devices instead of getting them fixed. Unfortunately, old computers, music players and peripherals like cables and hard drives can’t or shouldn’t just be thrown in the trash. These things need to be recycled properly so that your personal data stays safe and so harmful components don’t become environmental hazards.
Here’s how to safely get rid of all of those tech devices.
Just like any major decluttering project, the first step is gathering all of your electronic devices and putting them in one spot. That likely means it’s time to clean out your home office desk drawers and cabinets, your nightstand drawers, your closets, the home entertainment center, that junk drawer in your kitchen and anywhere else tech clutter may be hiding.
Look for things like:
- Cables for your TV, stereo, camera or MP3 player
- Controls for devices you no longer use
- Digital cameras
- Rechargeable batteries
- Laptops, monitors, computer towers
- Keyboards, mice, webcams, external hard drives
- Game consoles and controllers
- CDs, DVDs, floppy disks
Separate everything into two piles: keep and recycle. Importantly, if you discover that a piece of electronic equipment still works, but you no longer use it, you may consider selling it if it’s still worth something. As you review each item, figure out if the item still works, if anyone in the family still uses it and if it’s of any use to you.
Items you’ve decided to keep
You’ve decided to hang on to that digital camera or portable speaker—make sure it’s stored properly. Whether in a cabinet in your home office or in your reach-in closet, it’s best to store devices in a protective bag, to keep it free of dust and dirt. Use bins and baskets to store these items in one place. If it’s cords you’re holding onto, you may want to label them for future use. DVDs and CDs should be stored in their original cases or in a CD book.
Recycling through retailers
The easiest option for getting rid of computers, small speakers, peripherals, gaming consoles and most other small electronic devices is to turn to big box electronic retailers like Staples or Best Buy. You’ll likely have the most luck recycling these devices there because they accept a variety of devices and their associated cords and chargers. Check out Best Buy’s Recycling Program and Staples’ Recycling Program.
Importantly, if you’d like to recycle an old computer monitor, you may be charged a fee.
Cellphones are even easier to recycle. While big box retailers will accept these devices, you may be able to stop by your local grocery store or department store to recycle your phone. Look for recycling bins at your local Whole Foods or even in your shopping mall. Your phone manufacturer may also accept old tech you no longer use. Check out Apple’s Recycling and Trade-Up Programs that allow you to recycle or even get a gift card for your old cellphone, iPod, laptop or electronic device.
Recycling through charitable donations
Charities also accept electronic devices. If you’ve got a few cellphones you no longer use, consider donating them to Cell Phones for Soldiers. Goodwill and The Salvation Army also accept some electronic devices in all conditions.
How to recycle CDs and DVDs
Getting rid of old CDs and DVDs might seem like a no-brainer—they’re not bulky and they’re plastic, so you can toss them in your recycling bin, right? Wrong. CDs and DVDs are made from a special type of plastic that most likely can’t be recycled with other containers. Instead, you can donate music and movies to local thrift shops or charities, or send them away to be recycled safely through programs like GreenDisk and the CD Recycling Center. There may be a small fee involved to cover the cost or recycling these items.
Getting rid of personal data
Before you recycle laptops, digital cameras, hard drives or cellphones, remove all your personal data and restore the device to factory settings. The process for doing this is a little bit different for each device; however, it’s important to note that simply deleting files on a computer isn’t enough. To purge your device of things like saved passwords and other identifying files, you need to completely reset it.
To reset most cellphones, take a look at this CNET guide or these instructions from Apple. If you’re donating or recycling a digital camera, be sure to first remove the SD card. Laptop and computer hard drive resets vary from operating system to operating system, but you can usually reformat and wipe a hard drive through Settings. Check out this guide from Consumer Reports.
If the laptop or computer you’re recycling no longer works, you can also manually destroy the hard drive before recycling it—just remove it from the computer, unscrew the hard drive and use a hammer and nails to break the actual hard drive. Just be sure to wear safety goggles before you get started!
This article was wrtten for Closet Works Inc. For the full article, follow this link: Tech Equipment Recycling
For help sorting through your electronics and coordinating their donation, visit Organize Me! LLC
Benefits of an Ample Mudroom
From Closet Works
The chill of late fall and winter is finally here, which means bundling up. When snow falls in a few short weeks, you’ll add winter boots to the mix, too.
The best place to keep all of this gear is near the door. It makes sense to create a storage area near the entrance you use every day.
Entry storage solutions aren’t just for homes with a dedicated foyer. As long as there’s enough space near the door, you can create an area where everything has its proper home.
First Things First: Banish Clutter
Before you begin planning your entryway or mudroom storage, get a good idea of what you need to store. If your entryway is a landing zone for things that you’d ultimately like to store someplace else, clear those things away before assessing how much and what type of storage you need.
With the addition of baskets, drawers or rollouts, any small items that pile up can at least be stored neatly before they’re put away. If items end up getting stored in your entryway —your mail or your kids’ lunch boxes, for example—then you should plan to incorporate storage for them. A shelf or some rollouts will do the trick. Maximizing space and creating enough storage will help your entryway stay clutter-free.
A Bench with Shoe Storage is Smart
What happens when you walk through the door? If you’re like many people, you kick off your shoes or even place them neatly together against the wall. If you add an entryway bench with storage underneath, the whole area will look tidier—and it’ll help you keep your family from tracking dirt and snow through your house.
Coat Storage Can be Hidden … or Not
Adults usually have no problem taking off a coat and hanging it in a closet or wardrobe. But in a household with kids, hooks in open areas function better. They’re easier to reach and require less effort.
You can also have both a wardrobe-style closet plus a row of hooks. This is a good idea if your storage area is smaller and the hooks are mounted above a bench. Short jackets can hang above the bench, and longer coats can go inside the wardrobe.
Add Cabinets, Shelves and Rollouts for Everything Else
You’ll also have to consider everything else you take with you when you leave for the day—hats, sports equipment, gloves, scarves, pet accessories and more. If you’ve got the room, add a cabinet or two, some shelves and baskets or a few convenient rollouts. Corralling odds and ends near the door creates a place for them to live and minimizes the chance of losing one glove or misplacing the dog’s leash.
Entryway or mudroom storage doesn’t have to be elaborate, and it doesn’t have to be built in. Even a few feet along a wall is enough space to create an attractive, hardworking organization center that everyone can use.
When you work with the Designers at The Closet Works, you’ll end up with the right components in the right size for the space that you’ve got. It might be nothing but a bare wall right now. But once installed, your entryway storage system will look like it was born to be there. Because it was. Schedule a free design consultation today.
When you need help getting organized, reach out to Organize Me!
Reach In Closet Design Ideas
From Closet Works
Reach-in closets are often found in older homes and smaller apartments, and can be almost anywhere in the house. Of course we would all love more storage space, but that’s not always an option. Typically, reach-in closets are outfitted with a simple rod and shelf for hanging clothes and some folded storage, but not much more. But even with the small space that a reach-in closet affords, you can turn it into a lean, mean storage machine with some clever design ideas.
Bedroom closets are always a challenge to keep organized, but custom-built elements that take advantage of every square inch of space can provide you with solutions that meet your unique needs and help you maximize any amount of space that you have. These custom creations take closets from cluttered to clean with ease.
The best part about choosing a custom solution is that it’s built specifically for all your stuff. You know if you need more room for shoes and less room for hangers, or vice versa.
Well-designed closets aren’t just great for the adults in the house—your kids would also surely benefit from custom storage. Kids are notoriously messy, but a custom closet can help them keep their clothes, shoes and sports equipment in view all the time.
Reach-in closets in other parts of the home also present unique storage challenges. You don’t have to settle for stacks of papers, disorganized files and messy drawers.
It’s easy to avoid organizing important documents. Receipts, forms and mail pile up in one spot until you’ve got several hours’ worth of filing to do. Make this process easier from the start with a custom office closet that includes deep corner shelves for storing files, books and other office supplies.
Linen closets are the prime place for custom storage because of the items you need to keep there—bedding, extra pillows, towels, wash cloths and even toiletries won’t fit nicely in a hallway closet that may include just a shelf or two. It’s important that this space look guest-friendly; add baskets that will help keep linens smelling fresh, as well as several shelves to help you make small, neat piles of bedding and towels.
Sometimes even a custom closet doesn’t provide enough storage. If that’s the case, you can also add a custom wardrobe to any room, designed to fit your storage needs.
Getting and keeping your home organized will always be a challenge. But a custom closet design can make it much easier on yourself and your whole family.
To get the full article and your custom closet, visit Closet Works!
For help getting your closet organized organized, contact Organize Me!
A lot of Clothes in No Space!
- Use ALL available space, but keep it organized.
- Keep out-of-season (winter/summer) clothes out of the way.
- You’re more likely to wear something if you can see it.
- Keep 1-2 hooks empty for quick-n-dirty clean up
- Don’t forget the backs of deep shelves, and high-up places.
1. Try installing a second closet rod above your main one. Buy a stool or a reaching rod for access.
2. Matching hangers makes everything look so nice.
3. Cascading hooks are genius and work with almost any hanger. Use two at a time!
4. You can get a tiered hanger for skirts.
5. Skirt hangers with spring-clips and smooth rubber grips are best.
1. Fold all knit items to prevent hanger bumps.
2. Got deep shelves? Fold clothes appropriately. If you still have space behind your folded clothes store your out-of-season sandals/sweaters back there.
3. If you are using a dresser or other drawers, stack clothes vertically rather than horizontally.
5. For open shelving, be sure not to stack so high that it tumbles.
Shoes & Boots
1. Use an over-the-door shoe organizer. Ideally, look for ones where you can put both shoes in one slot.
2. Small cheap bookshelves are great for boots. Check your local Craigslist for cheap ones.
3. Some people love keeping their original shoe boxes but this can add to clutter
1. Stuff bags with tissue to keep their shape. When using a bag, leave tissue as holding space.
2. Sit them on a shelf rather than hanging them to prevent handles from stretching out.
3. Use bookends to keep them up.
4. If you must hang, use an over the door coat rack to hang bags, and even hats.
6. I love having a junk bowl or box for the things that I often but not always keep in my purse like hand sanitizer or a different sized wallet.
1. Hang scarves on towel racks
4. Items that you intend to use infrequently can be hidden away in boxes. Those are Ikea, and hold travel organization tools, special occasion undies, and hats.
For the full, informative article, visit Life Hacker.com
To get help fulfilling all of these organizational dreams, get in touch with Organize Me!
5 Favorite Design Trends of 2017
Posted by Classy Closets
Classy Closets put together their favorite trends at the beginning of this year. Check out the article and see how many trends you followed this year! Based on their article, “Top Ten Home Design Trends in 2017” – we’ve chosen our top favorite trend:
1. Satin Brass
Satin brass is a brushed or muted metal that offers a warm, non-reflective finish to your home, without the high price tag of other metal finishes. Hardware has long been hailed as more than just an afterthought and instead helps to pull your entire design-style together.
Marble is in for 2017! Although marble has never really been out, it’s making a big entrance again this year. As a design staple in beautiful spaces for generations, marble adds instant elegance and quality. Marble can be added to almost any space in your home: kitchens, bathrooms, libraries, home offices and even closets!
We’ve been huge fans of green for a long time, so we love that green is finally getting the love it deserves. You won’t have to look far to see a lot of green interiors this year. From light olive green to jewel-toned jade green, green will be blowing up your Pinterest feed in 2017!
“Contrary to minimalism we are seeing much more maximalism. Gone are the super clean, plain, unadorned rooms of the past few years. Lines remain clean but prints are layered in and colors pop. More is more and it’s super fun.” – The Decorist
Finally, we close our list with a design trend that’s been around for centuries in Scandonavia and is making a major splash in the United States. So much so that Pinterest predicts it as a major home trend in 2017: Pinterest Predicts the Hottest Home Trends of 2017.
5. Hygge (hoo-ga or hue-gah)
So, what is hygee? Hygee has been explained as a feeling of comfort, joy in the simple and natural, togetherness or cosiness.
The Lux Pad describes it:
“Pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ or ‘hue-gah’, the word is becoming increasingly recognisable and was originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing. Developed into a concept and way of living by the Danish in the 18th century when it first appeared in writings of the time, the country hasn’t looked back since. Hygge is the art form of creating intimacy in any given moment.
Normally a social occasion for loved ones to get together to experience the comradeship, warmth and contentment of the event, it can also be enjoyed alone to calm the nerves and sooth the senses. An idea which not only breaches weather and seasonal barriers but also social ones, it is something everyone in Denmark partakes in and it has spread through to every aspect of Scandinavian living to become a part of the national consciousness. Appreciating the small joys in life at all times, hygge followers have tapped into a source of happiness which the rest of the world can greatly benefit from in an ever-evolving technological society.”
For the full article as published by Classy Closets, Click Here
When you need help decluttering so you can begin your home decorating, Contact Organize Me!
Prep Your Closet & Wardrobe
Get Ready for Fall & Winter
Edit Your Wardrobe
Take some time to review your summer clothes. Decide what you’ll keep for next year and what’s taking up too much space in your closet before moving clothes to your overflow closet, packing them or just moving them to a corner of your closet. This will help you declutter your summer clothes so you don’t need as much space to store them off-season.
As you clean, make three piles: donate, sell and trash. Be honest in your assessment of each piece. For example, did you avoid wearing that maxi dress for the second year in a row because it’s a tad too small? You should also consider donating or getting rid of clothes that are out of style, lower quality than what you currently wear or items that have a tear or stain that you know you won’t repair.
Once you’ve sorted through your summer clothes, shoes and accessories, donate the items you no longer need.
Launder Summer Clothes
Before you put away summer clothes, dry-clean, hand wash or launder your clothes. Doing this helps prevent invisible spots from setting in over time; your clothes will also smell fresh and look better when you do the closet swap next spring.
Organize Your Closet
The tricky part of switching from summer to fall is that cold-weather clothes add bulk to your closet. In some cases, this means getting creative about storing sweaters, heavier dresses, boots and scarves.
Sweaters and other knits are best stored folded on shelves. If you’ve got a large scarf collection, you might keep them in a few different places—a few stashed away in a drawer and tied on some hangers. Free up some precious hanging storage and drawer space and make it easier to see all of your scarves by adding multiple hooks. Even better, add custom scarf storage where you can drape multiple scarves in one spot so everything is in the same place.
Try storing boots in their original boxes (plastic containers work well, too) on the floor or a shelf. Keeping flats, sneakers and booties in cubbies and on shelves will free up floor space for boot storage.
Review Seasonal “Staples” & Protect Winter Boots
Review your winter staples to ensure they’re free from stains and tears. Assessing everything now will ensure you know what you need when it comes time to shop. Depending on how well you preserved your clothes from last winter, you may also want to get some coats and heavier items dry cleaned before wearing them.
Take inventory of boots and winter shoes during this swap and treat them before the season starts. You’ll avoid not being able to wear a pair of shoes on a rainy or snowy day because you haven’t gotten around to protecting them.
For help sorting through your clothes and getting it all organized reach out to Organize Me!
How to Downsize
An Empty Nester’s Guide
If you’ve just returned from dropping your children off at a university, or they graduated in May and are officially out of the house for good, downsizing your space might be on your radar.
Selling a large home and moving into a smaller one not only holds the promise of making life easier to manage, it can also be more cost effective. But if you’ve been in your current home for a couple decades, you’ve likely amassed a lot of stuff. When is the last time you cleaned out your attic or garage?
The key to downsizing effectively is taking a systematic approach to planning your move and organizing the space. Here are some tips.
Declutter First, Slowly
Getting rid of things you no longer need or want isn’t for the faint of heart. To manage the process of first reviewing your stuff, use these tips:
- Tackle cleaning out spaces slowly over time. You don’t have to tackle the basement and the linen closet on the same day.
- Make three piles: “Keep,” “Donate” and “Trash.” Don’t make a “Maybe” pile
- Decide if you want to include a “Sell” pile (only if you actually intend to sell items).
- To help you make decisions, ask yourself questions like, “When is the last time I used this?” and “What purpose will this serve in my new home?” If you can’t remember the answer to the first question or you don’t have an answer to the second question, it might be time to part ways.
- Choose where you’ll donate what you no longer need. There are many options depending on what you have to donate. Check first—some donation centers prohibit specific items.
Use Space Wisely
If you’ve made the decision to downsize, you might be concerned about keeping your new space clutter-free—whether it’s a smaller house, a condo or an apartment.
To make the most out of less space, use it wisely and consider storage options which make the most out of your closets.
- More hanging storage – If you’ve got small reach-in closets with one rod and a shelf, you can likely add a second rod to double hanging storage for your clothes.
- Hooks and racks – Add hooks behind the door or on the side wall of your reach-in closet or in your walk-in closet to hang bags or accessories. This is also a good spot to add a tie rack or belt rack so you’re not taking up valuable space elsewhere in your closet.
- Shelves and cubbies – Adding shelves and cubbies to a reach-in or linen closet is an excellent way to add storage that helps you avoid piling items on top of items, which can quickly contribute to clutter
If these solutions seem appealing to you, you could also go with a completely custom solution, where a professional Designer reviews the space and helps you maximize it. It’s a better way to ensure that all of your things have a place in your new, more compact home.
Beyond considering where you’ll keep all of your stuff, it makes sense to think multipurpose when downsizing. The spaces in your new home—and the furniture in those spaces—can pull double duty so you can get more out of them.
For example, choose an ottoman that doubles as a storage bin. Consider a kitchen island with cubbies on the side for small appliances or cook books. Maximize under-bed storage with containers or a bed with drawers below it.
And when it comes to sleeping arrangements, you can opt for a sofa bed or even a Murphy bed.
For the full article, visit Closet Works
When you need help getting your empty nest organized, reach out to Organize Me!
Kid’s Party + Your Home = Disaster
How to have a kid’s party & keep an organized home
It’s pretty much a fact of life. Where there are children, there will be a mess. Especially if you have 30 of them running around your house. The thought of having dozens of kids in your home and the mess it may leave can drive a lot of parents to avoid a party. This doesn’t have to be the case however; you can host dozens of people and be left with only a minimal mess.
By taking the proper steps you can decrease the chaos and clutter in your home. You’ll have to take some time in advance to think it out. Consider the following:
- Plan ahead. Try to come up with a list of all the details you will need to consider. This especially includes areas that you fear will get messy the quickest or will bother you the most.
- Clean your home. This includes making sure all trash and recycling cans are completely empty – including the bathroom trash.
- Create a fun area for items. Especially for jackets and shoes, create a space that encourages guests to put their items there. Do something simple like plastic bins or check out the pictures below for some ideas!
- Make it obvious. Clearly display to your guests where items belong especially trash, recycling, gifts and your toys. Place trash & recycling bins right in the middle of the party area. Create a clear area for gifts and mention that you will be opening them after guests leave.
- Prepare your bathroom. Make sure you have extra toilet paper out in the open. Empty your trash cans and fill up your soap. Display your hand towel in the open and leave and extra one out on the counter.
- Have a ready-to-go yard. By having an inviting yard, you can encourage guests to spend time outside. Leave a limited amount of toys outside to decrease the mess left behind. But include trash cans outside too!
- Use simple crafts. When planning activities, keep crafts to a minimum. Try to avoid glitter, projects with scissors and anything else that can leave little pieces behind.
- Leave a small amount of toys out. The less toys you leave out to be played with, the less clutter they will create!
- Prepare healthy snacks. Don’t go crazy giving your guests foods that are high in sugar, this will only amp up the craziness. Provide fruit, vegetables, flavored rice cakes and other healthier foods for munching. Leave the cake for the end and send your guests off with their sugared up kids!
- Enforce the rules. When guests arrive, make sure they have a clear vision of where stuff is and goes. Show them the lead by having yourself and your child properly clean up too
- Expect some mess. Regardless of all your efforts, there will still be a mess. You can’t completely avoid trash left behind, toys laying around your house and other people forgetting their belongings.
Check out Pinterest for some of these ideas: Organize Me! LLC
When you need help getting your home ready for a party, get in touch with Organize Me!
Here’s how to organize you desk
Your desk is your command center. How well it’s organized can help set the tone and productivity level
“Surveys show the average person loses an hour a day to disorganization,” said Lisa Zaslow, a professional organizer in New York City. “It takes much less time to get and stayed organized. Think about how frantic and stressed you are when you can’t find something.”
Here’s how experts suggest organizing your desk for maximum efficiency and productivity:
Get your layout right
Your monitor should be in front of you at eye-level and about 17-inches from your body, according to Zaslow. Put frequently-used items, like the phone or supplies, on your dominant side to avoid having to reach across.
Mind your office supplies
Supplies used every day can go on the desk. Items used a couple times a week should go in a drawer under or to the side of a desk. “Getting up even just once a day for a pencil or paper clip is shutting your brain off a project you are working on and you will have to come back and re-center,” said Amy Trager, a professional organizer in Chicago.
It’s also best to group like items together. “All your office supplies should be kept together, not split up in multiple drawers,” said Andrew Mellen, a professional organizer.
Go easy on reminders.
When it comes to sticky notes, moderation is key. Framing your monitor with notes isn’t the most effective. “They’ve lost their usefulness at that point,” said Trager. Use them for important short-term reminders.
Don’t go overboard with personal knick-knacks
Maintaining work-life balance is hard, especially on your desk. Family pictures, vacation souvenirs and other trinkets can provide positive feelings during the work day, but too many mementos can be a distraction.
“Our eyes pull every single thing in front of us and our brain processes it — even if we don’t realize it,” explained Zaslow. A desk full of stuff means “that is a lot of work and editing for you.” She recommended keeping no more than three personal items on a desk.
Control your inbox.
E-mail is a convenient way to communicate, but it can also be a major distraction. If it becomes too much of a distraction, Trager recommended designating certain time periods throughout the day to check and respond to email. “The rest of the time is for work.” Also, don’t be afraid to disable the pop-up notices of new mail if it interrupts work flow.
Embrace white space
Keep a paper-sized free space to your dominant side as a designated work space to make it easier to review or sign documents.
Prioritize your work flow
Only keep relevant and active projects and documents on your desk. When work gets backed up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stall productivity, so here’s how Trager recommended grouping projects to prioritize:
1) Important and urgent
2) Urgent, but not necessarily important
3) Important, without urgency
4) Non-urgent, and not important
She added vertical file holders help avoid stacking folders on top of each other and overlooking the ones not on top.
Keeping a desk organized requires frequent upkeep and assessments, so be sure to take a weekly scan of your desk to make sure everything still deserves a spot on your work space.
When you are ready to get your home office in order, contact Organize Me!
For the full article by CNN Money, click here
Whether you sat in back-to-back meetings all day and didn’t accomplish much “real work,” you spent your commute in traffic or you simply have too much to do in too little time, it’s easy to get stressed out every now and then.
One area of your life that may be contributing to feeling stressed could be coming from where you least expect it: your closet. Searching for a shirt hidden in a sea of hanging storage, struggling to find a misplaced pair of shoes or even untangling a mess of necklaces to find the right one during your morning routine can throw off your whole day.
If this is a frequent occurrence for you, it may be time to consider embracing feng shui. Understanding how to create a space with good energy flow could just be the medicine for what ails you.
What is Feng Shui?
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement. The goal is to organize your surroundings to create harmony and balance – transforming your space to enhance your life. It’s thought that showing respect to physical spaces—yes, even your closet—can bring more peace to your life.
Maybe it’s been a little while since you really took a look at what’s taking up space in your closet. Take some time to review the clothes, shoes and accessories in your closet to see everything—even the items lurking out of sight.
We often stress here to get rid of old clothes, ones that are a touch too small or have stains and holes that can’t be fixed. But it’s also important to get rid of any random items that don’t belong in your closet. Find things you can relocate to other spots in your home to create more space. The practice of feng shui sees clutter as blocking the flow of energy in your closet and life.
After discarding or donating things you no longer need, take a look at everything you’re going to keep. Color is an important “tool” in feng shui that can shift energy in a space. Start by organizing different items by color, then type. For example, first put all your blue shirts together then organize those shirts by shirt length or type. Repeat these steps for each color and type of shirt.
Spruce It Up
Take a look at what your space may be missing. Good lighting, some meaningful décor and even a fresh coat of paint could make all the difference in bringing in good energy. Paying attention to these details in your closet can help the space feel refreshed.
Make sure you have everything you need to organize and shape your space. Analyze if you’re maximizing the utility of each drawer and hanging storage space, or if you need to find a new way to organize your things. It may mean just adding clear storage bins and drawer organizers or it could be time for a bigger upgrade to a custom solution to create a calm, decluttered space.
For the full article, click here: Feng Shui Basics from Closet Works
When you need help completing your organizing journey, contact Organize Me! here: Contact Organize Me!