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The Container Store & Real Simple Want You to be Organized!

July 2009 Update – The contest has ended, but feel free to check out the Container Store and Real Simple.

Now is your chance to win an organized home!

It’s simple, “Real Simple” in fact! Enter every day between now and June 15th, 2009 to win the sweepstakes sponsored by Real Simple and The Container Store. The grand price is $3,000.00 worth of cool organizing swag along with the help of a “Real Simple” professional organizer to do the work for you.

We’ll, it’s not me helping you organize your home, but it’s a heck of a deal! Why not enter and win?


Montgomery County Electronic Recycling Events for 2009

picture-1-5As a professional organizer, I often find
that my clients have dead electronic equipment cluttering their closets or their garages.  The e-waste is there because they do not know what to do with it.  I appreciate they don’t want to simply toss the TV, computer, or microwave in the trash!  Most would agree, that our landfills are full enough.

I spoke with Peter Karasik who is the Section Chief of the Division of Solid Waste Services of Montgomery County.  We spoke about the upcoming electronic recycling events in Montgomery County.  He recommends to residents they stay in their vehicles as they approach the unloading zone.  They have staff who will unload the cars. This keeps the traffic moving and makes the process faster for everyone.

For the drop-off, electronics should not be in boxes or bags unless you have multiple small electronics or if want to keep cables or power supplies together.   Karasik estimated they could collect 20 – 40 tons of electronics during each collection date.   The e-waste is shipped off to a processing plant in Elkridge, Maryland called E-Structors.  E-Structors does all the data destruction, separates the glass, pulls the copper from wires, and cuts up circuit boards into 1″ squares.  Their process is EPA-approved and results in the materials being 100% separated and recycled. Nothing from their process ever enters the nation’s waste stream.  That’s incredible!

In my opinion, Montgomery County continues to lead the way promoting their recycling efforts.  They’ve published a calendar on their blog of the upcoming recycling events and you can subscribe to receive future dates via email.  You can also follow the recycling events on Twitter by following @GoGreenMC Here’s the full list for the my faithful readers of TheOrganizingAgency.com!

junky-laptop-312:00 PM – 4:00 PMElectronics Recycling Event at Poolesville High School
17501 Willard Road, Poolesville, MD 20837
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM Electronics Recycling at the Montgomery County Agricultural Center
16 Chestnut St Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Sunday, April 26, 2009
12:00 PM – 4:00 PMElectronics Recycling at Baker Middle School
25400 Oak Drive, Damascus 20872
12:00 PM – 4:00 PMElectronics Recycling at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School
4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda 20814

Note the program for electronics is open to all Montgomery County residents and businesses.

Accepted items include:

  • Small Electronic Appliances, Calculators, & Camcorders
  • CDs and Floppy Disks, CD Players, & Cell Phones
  • Computers & Computer-Related Products
  • Consumer Electronics, Copiers,Cords & Cables (including chargers)
  • Digital Cameras,  & Electronic Typewriters
  • Fax Machines, Microwave Overs, & Personal Digital Assistant Equipment
  • Printers, Projection Equipment, & Scanners
  • Telephones, Small Electronic Toys, Televisions, & VCRs,

I love that every single item collected is recycled!  Did you notice they do not accept videotapes?  I’m looking for a local resource for people to recycle VCR tapes.

If you live in Montgomery County or know someone who does, tell them to clear out their closets, garages, attics and basements.  It’s time to recycle all their electronics in Montgomery County, Maryland!

Professional Organizers Recognized For Excellence in Los Angeles

January was a busy month.  I spent n napolaawards+1 time traveling to California to work with my clients who live there.   While in California, I had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles.  The National Association of Professional Organizers, Los Angeles Chapter on January 30, 2009 hosted the 4th Annual Los Angeles Organizing Awards.  This red-carpet event was held at the beautiful Luxe Hotel off Sunset Boulevard in Bel Air, CA and sponsored by Office Depot.
scott-roewer-and-hal-sparks1-5Best described by NAPO-LA “The Awards recognizes the best in the professional organizing industry. Professional organizers who set the standard for home and business productivity will be acknowledged for their accomplishments, along with those products and services that help consumers and businesses organize anything and everything.”
I had a great trip to LA for the Awards.  During the day, I had the opportunity to lunch with the Northeast Organizing Diva, Krista Colvin who was a finalist for Best Organizing Blog, Organizing in Style.  That evening, once everyone was dressed to the nines, everyone had their red-carpet moment.  After having my photo taken, I enjoyed cocktails with NAPO-NY’s Past President Janine Sarna Jones,Organizing Expert and Life Coach on “Dr. Phil Show” Dorothy Breininger, David Bertnick, President of The International Association for Private Service Professional and NAPO‘s President, Standolyn Robertson.
awards2009-samsabourajodiewatsongiarussotlc-5TV Personality and Stand-up Comedian Hal Sparks was the emcee.  He kicked off the evening by ‘losing’ his jokes.  After emptying each suit pocket, he found the jokes stored in a plastic baggie, appropriately labeled ‘Jokes’.  Each joke was numbered and organized.  Hal has worked with a Professional Organizer in the past, so he created the perfect spoof to kick-off the Awards Ceremony.  Hal was a great hit and a wonderful addition to the evening.

Other celebrities in attendance Sam Saboura, Jodie Watson, Gia Russo of Real Simple, Real Life, and Brady Bunch childhood celebrity, Christopher Knight aka Peter Brady now of Green Plug.

Congrats to each individual and company for their recognition.  For a complete list of those nominated visit the official nominee list on the NAPO-LA Organizing Awards website.  Below is a complete list of the award winners.  Please check out their websites and products – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
img_0878_2-5And the winners are:
Best Organizing Product Retailer
Best Closet Design Firm
California Closets
Best Garage Design Firm
The Green Award for Most Eco-Friendly Organizing Service
No Wire Hangers
The Green Award for Most Eco-Friendly Organizing Product
Bamboo Laptop Stand from KangaRoom Storage
Best Office Organizing Product
Shelf Conversions by ShelfGenie
img_0880_2-5Best Home Organizing Product
Shelf Conversions by ShelfGenie
Most Helpful Organizing Technology
Microsoft Outlook
Best National Organizing Television Show
Real Simple. Real Life.
Best Publication Featuring Organizational Information
Real Simple Magazine
Best Organizing Website or Blog
Most Valuable Educational Resource
At the Awards ceremony hosted by the NAPO-LA Chapter, individual members of their Chapter and LA-based organizations were recognized for their achievements in their profession, their volunteerism, and service to the professional organizing industry.
img_0854-6Best Organizer as Coach or Mentor
Jean Furuya, The Office Jeanie
Most Innovative Organizer
John Trosko, OrganizingLA
Most Supportive or Organizer-Friendly Charity
National Council of Jewish Women
Volunteer of the Year Award
Heidi Chianta, Your Project Manager
The Leading Edge Award
John Trosko, OrganizingLA
The Office Depot Special Recognition Award
Stephen Covey

Organizing At Home, Residential Resolutions in 2009

“Residential Resolutions”
This year, make that list of attainable goals apply to your home.

2008_12_residential_resolutions_photo01+3‘Residential Resolutions’ was the title of an article featuring tips for getting organized in the new year.  Getting organized is a popular resolution, but many people don’t know where to start or how to stay organized.  The resolution to be clutter free and more productive is right up there with losing weight, spending more time with family and friends, to quit smoking, or to get control of your debt.  What I often hear is people don’t know how to get started with living an organized life. These organizing tips will help.

In this article, I offer a four week plan to get January started as the month to get organized!

Week One – It’s all about post holiday recovery.

Week Two – Attack your kitchen and beyond.

Week Three – Learning about cleaning ‘maid’ easy.  Yes, that’s cleaning made easy.

Week Four – Organizing your extremities, where I talk about an organized wardrobe, your organized car, and successful meal planning.

To read the details of this four week plan, check out the article on Rubbermaid’s website.

Free Electronics Recycling in Montgomery County

vcr-electronic-waste-3I often find dead electronic laying around the homes of my clients.  You can’t donate them, you don’t want to fill the landfills, so you need to recycle the electronics, right?  According to the site, Earth911, ‘e-waste is growing at three times the rate of other municipal waste and e-waste may be responsible for as much as 70% of the heavy metals in landfills, including 40 % of all lead.’  That’s insane, people!

There is a free electronics recycling event on December 14th in Bethesda, Maryland.  Now is your chance to make a difference.

The event is from 12 PM – 4 PM at Walt Whitman High School.  I recommend you get there early. Accepted items include:

Calculators Small Appliances
Camcorders Fax Machines
CDs & Floppy disks PDAs
CD Players Microwave Ovens
Cell Phones Printers
Computers & Computer-Related Products Projection Equipment
Consumer Electronics Scanners
Copiers Telephones
Cords, Cables & Chargers Small Toys
Digital Cameras Televisions (limit 3)
Electronic Typewriters VCRs (not the tapes)






If you can’t make it on December 14th, the Shady Grove Transfer Station has electronics recycling every day for Montgomery County residents!  No need to wait for those special monthly collection events.   There is a limit of three TV’s per drop off.

Shady Grove Solid Waste Transfer Station
16101 Frederick Rd
Derwood, MD 20855

* Please use the Car Entrance to the facility.
* Open daily 9:00 AM. to 5 PM (Sunday – Saturday)
* Household Hazardous Waste can only be received during these hours — please do not drop off this
material at other times.
* These hours are only for Montgomery County residents – sorry business owners.

Clutter Free Holiday Gift Giving That Is Both Meaningful and Useful

You know it happens.  The gifts you give often become clutter in the back of someone’s closet, or stuck in a drawer, or simply lost.  We also always have people in our lives who are the ‘hard to shop for’ type.  Sometimes they already have everything they need, yet you want to give them a gift.  In either case, in place of a physical gift, here are some meaningful and useful gift ideas – I promise they won’t end up in the back of the recipient’s closet.

bbcomlogoBedandbreakfast.com – Accepted at more than 4,000 locations, no blackout dates, this certificate can be the perfect get-away weekend idea, starting at $25.

justgive_logoJustGive.org – Make a donation in honor of the gift recipient, or give a friend a membership to a non-profit organization. At Just Give you can donate online to thousands of charities.

amexAMEX Gift Cards for Gas – Since we don’t have reindeer to pull our cars, everyone can use a little gas. Gift cards are accepted by most major fuel brands.
n larbordayGift A Tree – Plant a seed for a greener tomorrow with the Arbor Day Foundation.  With each $5.95 card purchase, a tree will be planted in a national forest that has been damaged by fire, insect or disease, and you’ll receive a Give-a-Tree card to present as the gift.  Buy more then 100 for only $3.95 each.

n fandango.gifFandango.com – Everyone loves the movies and having Fandango Gift Card makes going to the movies easier. Personalize your gift with a message and choose one of the many occasion-based themes! This gift can be emailed or printed for delivery.

n ff.gifFood and Friends.org – This is one of our favorite local charities. Your donation allows Food & Friends to serve more than 1,100 men, women and children, each day, who are living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses.  Just $25 provides enough food for a week of freshly-prepared meals.

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New Holiday Survey – Do You Make Time To Send Holiday Cards?

poll1I’m curious if the readers of theorganizingagency.com take the effort to send holiday greetings to their friends, family and colleagues.  If one of the answers below doesn’t describe you, leave a comment about your holiday card habits.

Do you plan to mail holiday cards this year?

  1. Yes, I do every year!
  2. No, I never do.
  3. Wish I could, but I don’t have time.
  4. Not this year, it’s become too expensive.
  5. I only send e-cards these days.

Please vote by putting one of these responses in the comment area of this blog post.


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Six Holiday Survival Tips to Help You Save Time And Money

woman-stressed-holiday copyIt’s not even December 1st, yet with Black Friday behind us, we’re already feeling pressed for time?  I over heard someone at the store saying, “each year I don’t think I’ll survive the holidays!”  The person with her agreed holidays were very stressful.  Wake up!  Holidays are not suppose to be stressful!  If you’re easily stressed during the holidays, keep reading.  I’m giving you six holiday survival tips.  I hope they make life easier for you.

  1. Wrapping Paper: If you run short of holiday wrapping paper, or simply want something more creative, use your child’s art work. Grandparents especially love this packaging. If you have rolls of unused wall paper, use it to wrap gifts.
  2. Save on Gas: Driving from store to store to buy gifts can be tedious, not to mention time consuming. Shop online for holiday gifts. Sites such as Amazon.com waive shipping charges!
  3. Gift Notebook: Have one central location for all your holiday lists and ideas.   You’ll include your shopping list, meal planning, notes on travel, sales fliers, etc.  Also, designate a folder pocket or envelope for gift receipts to make returns a breeze.
  4. New Tradition: Must a traditional holiday meal be rich in calories in order to make your family happy? Start a new tradition of health-consciousness dining this year. Consider polling your guests for their favorite dishes. Then look for low-calorie version recipes online!
  5. Say Yes: When someone offers to bring something to a party, or to help you out in any way, say YES! They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t truly want to help.
  6. Donate Decor: If decorating is part of your holiday celebration, edit and donate the items you’re no longer displaying in your home. This will make storage easier after the holidays.  This should be done before the holiday as many donation sites will not take holiday decor after the date has passed.

7 Time-Saving Tips for Mailing Holiday Cards!

A 15932Writing holiday cards can seem like a burden, but with a little patience and some proper planning, this otherwise burdensome task can become a meaningful way to send some holiday cheer. Here are 7 time-saving tips to simplify this process.

  1. Begin to address envelopes for the holiday card now. Try to do five to ten envelopes an evening.
  2. Once the envelopes are finished, write five to ten cards per evening.  The envelopes take longer if you do them by hand, so that’s why I do those first.
  3. Challenge a friend or relative to see who can get their cards in the mail first. Make sure to have a fun prize.  Involving a friend who you’re accountable to, will help you stay focused.
  4. Avoid long lines at the post office by going during their non-peak hours.  Statistically the slowest time at the USPS is 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.
  5. For the budget conscious, buy discounted holiday cards at the end of the season for the next year.  Next year, you’ll save time because you won’t have to go hunting for the perfect card.  I love saving time and money!
  6. Prior to mailing your cards, weigh one to ensure that you do not require additional postage.  Speaking of postage, buy a bunch of Forever Stamps if you mail letters each year.
  7. If you don’t like sending cards, consider a ‘holiday letter’ that is mailed out around New Years.  You’ll save time by not feeling the need to write a personal message in each card.

With these easy ideas, you’ll be able to maximize your time and simplify your life during the busy holiday season.

Container Store Offers Extension on Oprah Discount

We all love saving money, red_house_with_bow+1
and I want you to be organized, so I’m sharing this information with you.

Just in time for the holidays, The Container Store has extended their promotion for Oprah’s “Clean Up Your Messy House Tour”.

They offering a 20% savings through Sunday, November 30.  Yes, that’s 20% off everything in the entire store!

Now’s the perfect time to buy the organizing supplies you need to have an organized home for the holidays.  If you need help, give us a call or drop us a note.  Otherwise, get busy people!