Decatur Electronics Recycling Day

 For those of you who live in the metro-Atlanta area, the City of Decatur is hosting its bi-annual electronics recycling day on Saturday, October 30 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Decatur High School parking lot at the corner of N. McDonough Street and Howard Avenue.  The event is open to anyone, not just residents of Decatur.

Bring in your old cell phones, cameras, PCs, printers, stereos, DVD players, and other electronics instead of sending them into the landfills where they may leak mercury and lead.   You can even bring in televisions for a nominal fee of $10.  All electronics dropped off will be sorted and disassembled into raw materials or cleaned for re-use.  Batteries of any type may also be dropped off.

Almost anything with an electrical cord can be recycled at the event EXCEPT microwave ovens, furniture, light fixtures, large household appliances, lamps, or vacuum cleaners. 

For additional information about the event, please call Sean Woodson at 678-898-8562.  
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Kids Helping with Housework

Flickr photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Very often my organizing clients are entrepreneur moms who complain that they barely have enough time to grow their businesses, much less keep up with all the household chores. Sound familiar? When I hear this cry for help, I ask the mom how old her children are. If the children are over 3 years old, we discuss ways that the kids can begin helping with the household chores.

Like most projects, the secret to success first lies in proper preparation. So plan ahead and pick a day when all family members can pitch in. Gather supplies together, including snacks and drinks. Then encourage the kids to pick out their favorite up-tempo music for the occasion.

Next, assign chores to family members. Here are a few age-appropriate ideas:

AGES 3-5

  • Pick up toys and books and put back on shelves or in bins
  • Put away folded laundry
  • Help feed pets
  • Dust with socks on their hands
  • Clear and set the table
AGES 6-8
  • Vacuum and mop
  • Take out trash
  • Fold laundry
  • Put away groceries
  • Help with meal preparations
AGES 9-12
  • Help wash the car
  • Wash and put away dishes
  • Clean bathroom
  • Help with laundry
  • Rake leaves and pull weeds
AGES 13-17
  • Wash and fold own laundry
  • Wash windows
  • Prepare meals
  • Prepare grocery lists
Also remember that teenagers are often eager to make a little spending money. You may consider hiring them to help with basic household management tasks such as filing and entering info into accounting packages such as Quickbooks.

Delegating chores teaches the kids valuable home and life management skills while reducing your personal workload and stress. And after the hard work is done, reward your helpers by going out to a favorite restaurant, ordering take-out, or renting a couple of movies that the whole family will enjoy.

Switching Seasonal Clothes

For almost twenty years, my husband and I have lived in a cute little 1950s ranch house, and our lack of closet space has forced me to practice what I preach as a professional organizer. One thing that has worked for me is to keep my off-season clothing in the attic. Each spring when the temperatures rise and the flowers start to bloom, I haul down three or four plastic bins of cute summer dresses, skirts and shorts. I love pulling out what feels like a whole new wardrobe after not seeing it for six months.

Part of this ritual also includes me trying on most of the "new" spring/summer clothes to see which pieces will continue to earn the right to live in the prime real estate of my little closets. To make the grade, a piece has to fit well, be comfortable, and make me feel pretty. As I go through this process, if I realize that I need a garment or accessory to complete an ensemble, I add the missing item to a "To Buy" list on my iPhone. This habit helps me to better remember what I need when I am out shopping.

As I put away last season's clothes, I also determine what to do with those pieces that I didn't wear the past season. I ask myself why I haven't worn the piece (was it scratchy, too tight, too loose, unflattering, out of style?), and then decide if I still like the item enough to lug it back into the attic again until next season.

Some of my organizing clients have the luxury of having lots of closet space and may find it easier to store off-season clothing in the closet of a spare bedroom. And still others keep all of their clothes in one central closet year round but keep off-season clothing on the far ends of the closet with in-season clothing in the middle allowing for easier access to their "active" wardrobe.

Those clothes that don't make the grade should end up either being:

  • Thrown away if stained or otherwise damaged
  • Donated to charity
  • Sold online on sites such as eBay Classifieds
  • Taken to a local consignment shop such as Finders Keepers here in Atlanta
Though it is a time-consuming process to re-evaluate the inventory in your closet each season, it's worth the effort because of the time and anxiety it saves you. Imagine opening the closet and knowing that everything fits and is wearable. Even better, when your clothes aren't crammed into a tight space, they will look and last longer.

If a piece of clothing isn't working for you, it's less likely that you will wear it, so why not give it a second life in someone else's closet?

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2010 Word of Year: Inspiration

As January is coming to a close, I wonder how many of you created a list of New Year's Resolutions and, if so, have already failed to adhere to those resolutions?

A couple of years ago, I read about Christine Kane's idea of picking a theme for the year instead of a making list of resolutions. She suggests that, by choosing a Word of the Year instead of making a long list of resolutions, we can be more focused and deliberate in our intentions and actions throughout the year.

In 2009, my Word of the Year was "Courage," and I found many opportunities for courage to express itself. For example, I pursued genetic testing for the BRCA gene, a genetic defect found in many breast cancer patients like myself. Luckily, the outcome of the test was that I did not have the BRCA defect. Had the BRCA been present, I had resolved to pursue some pretty radical surgeries to decrease the likelihood of any cancer returning. Because I found the courage to take the test and face the results, I can now rest easier knowing that, with each passing year, my chances of long-term survival just keep growing.

I also had to tap into my courage when, after completing my life coaching training in the summer of 2009, I began the development of a coaching practice for other cancer survivors. Prior to my coaching training, I would have hesitated in serving this population because of a previous fear that surrounding myself with cancer survivors may attract more cancer into my life. I have since faced that fear and moved beyond it. For me, courage and the overwhelming desire to bring joy into the lives of other survivors trumped any fears I had.

Additionally, I faced a temporary fear of lack in 2009 when I firstsigned up for Christine Kane's Uplevel Your Business program. But once the program started and I began to learn valuable lessons in business development, I quickly realized that this investment in myself and my business would pay off and increase my prosperity. I enjoyed the experience so much that I have signed on for Christine's Uplevel Your Success program in 2010.

This year, my Word of the Year is "inspiration". I hope to both inspire and be inspired throughout 2010. In my organizing business I want to inspire my clients to take bold steps in order to reclaim their space and time. I also aspire to set a good example by living my life with more focus and purpose. I hope this, in turn, will inspire both my organizing and life coaching clients to do the same.

For 2010, Christine Kane has put together a great little free download called "Your Word of the Year Discovery Tool". Click on this link to see a video of her describing the value of the tool and the process. I invite you to download this tool and complete the exercises.

Once you've decided upon your Word of the Year, I'd love to hear what you'll be focusing on improving in 2010!