AuthorScott Roewer

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Free Shredding for Montgomery County Maryland Residents

ID theft is a rapidly growing challenge faced by everyone. One way to protect yourself is to take advantage of this free “community shred” for Montgomery County residents. NBC 4, Shred-it, and PNC Bank are co-sponsoring the event this weekend. Each resident can bring up to 5 boxes of paper. No business papers are accepted.

© Copyright 2005 Corbis CorporationDate: June 28, 2008
Hours: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Montgomery County Fairgrounds
* The Perry Parkway entrance will be the only one open that day, June 28th.

They’ll accept:

  • All types of paper; (staples and papers clips are OK)
  • Empty binders;
  • Unwanted/expired credit cards; and
  • Computer disks (disks may be shredded off-site).

For more information visit NBC4′s website.

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Goodwill in Maryland Finds Painting Worth $40,600! Was it an Organizer’s Mistake?

TE.GOODWILL25P2As an organizer, I often take clients’ donations to Goodwill. I rely on the client to know the value of what they own. Occasionally I’ll ask a client if we should sell an item or have something appraised before we simply put it in the donation box. Usually, they say, “Oh, that? It’s fake.”

The story was very different in Easton, Maryland, when a painting worth more than $40,000 was donated to Goodwill in error.

This impressionist street scene, “Flower Market” by Edouard-Leon Cortes, was dropped off at an Easton Goodwill store. An employee noticed the unusual painting and plucked it out of the day’s donations for special attention. The painting featured a gold embossed nameplate bearing the artist’s name and the painting’s title. The employee Googled the artist and compared the signature found on the painting with online sources. Excited the painting might be particularly valuable, Goodwill sent it to Sotherby’s for cleaning, authentication, and auction. Goodwill says that even if the owner didn’t intend to make such a large donation, she is out of luck because donations are not tracked and each is considered a legal and final transaction.

edouard cortes painting (pre auction)

Just imagine, this beautiful work of art might have been yours for $100 at Goodwill.

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What You’ve All Been Waiting For

iphone-2.0Today at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco Apple announced that the new iPhone’s 2.0 Software will have Microsoft® Exchange. So, for all you business types, you can now have push email, push contacts, push calendar, auto-discovery of your exchange server, global address look-up, and remote wipe if your iPhone is lost or stolen. They’ve also added secure VPN services from Cisco and other network services demanded by the Enterprise market. Everything that Apple was told Enterprise users want, they’ve built in.

And for the rest of us, they are introducing MobileMe – “Exchange for the rest of us” – to replace the .mac service. Those who already have .mac accounts will automatically be upgraded. I’m certainly going to keep my $99 yearly subscription so I can sync my two macs and iPhone, all in real time.

Oh, did I mention the iPhone’s new price of $199 for the 8GB model? They go on sale July 11th.

Please note, my birthday is July 10. *hint, hint*

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DC Increases E-Cycling Efforts & Document Shredding Service

computer_junk+1The Institute for Local Self-Reliance estimates that 75% of obsolete electronics are currently being stored, which will one day result in a massive disposal issue for the country and the world. Perhaps that’s why Mayor Adrian M. Fenty kicked off this new program.

Mayor Fenty announced the District began itsfirst permanent free, weekly Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and electronic recycling (e-cycling) drop-off site, at the Benning Road Trash Transfer Station on May 17, 2008. In addition to the HHW and e-cycling collections, the District will also offer the metropolitan area’s first permanent weekly document shredding service for residents at the Benning Road Trash Transfer Station, which began May 24. The Benning Road Trash Transfer Station will be open every Saturday, excluding holidays, from 8 am to 3 pm. Weekly HHW and e-cycling collections will begin this summer at the Ft. Totten Trash Transfer Station.

Items will be removed from your vehicle and placed in roll-away containers for disposal.

Acceptable HHW items include:

  • shredding+1Leftover cleaning and gardening chemicals
  • Small quantities of gasoline, automotive fluids & antifreeze
  • Pesticides and poisons
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Paint and solvents
  • Spent batteries of all kinds
  • Automotive fluids
  • Asbestos tiles

All electronics will be broken down into parts and recycled or disposed of safely. The computer hard drives will be wiped clean three times using US Department of Defense high-level security wiping procedures.

Sorry, but they don’t want the following items:

  • recycle_symbol+1Ammunition
  • Bulk trash
  • Wooden TV consoles
  • Propane tanks
  • Microwave ovens, air conditioners and other appliances
  • Radioactive or medical wastes

For information about this exciting new HHW and e-cycling program, visit DPW’s website or call the Mayor’s Call Center by dialing 311.

Happy recycling!

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Stylish Bike Storage – Direct from the U.K.

40581.BFB2FCA0+1A client was looking for a method to store his bike off the floor in his condo, but not on a ‘typical’ rack. So while cruising the Unica Home web site, I found the the Cycloc Cycle Storage, described as “an amazing, brilliantly simple design and winner of numerous awards including the Time Magazine Consumer 2006 Product Design of the Year.” Design awards include:

  • 2006 winner of Consumer Product Design of the Year awarded by the plastics industry
  • Design and Art Direction Award, U.K.
  • Design Award Week, U.K.– Most Outstanding Product Design

40581.220608DB+1I like the unique shape, which guides the bike frame securely in place and can accommodate a wide range of frame shapes. My only concern is varying bike frame thicknesses. The Cycloc provides additional functionality in the form of storage for your biking accessories, although no photos demonstrate this purpose. I can imagine you tucking your riding gloves in the middle of the Cycloc. The Cycloc ships complete with mounting instructions, but you’ll need to buy fasteners based on your wall type and bike weight. Once hung, you can even lock your bike up in a public space by inserting a special lock.

40581.537324FA+1For $135, you can select from green, white, orange, and black. The green, white, and orange are made of new MDPE plastic, while the black Cycloc is made of 100% recycled MDPE plastic. Shouldn’t that be the “green” model? Anyhow, it’s about 11″ in diameter.

Happy riding!





Hire A Professional Organizer – 10 Questions to Ask First

Many people ask me what kind of questions they should be asking a professional organizer. Here are my top 10.

  1. house_number10_large+1Ask for references and be sure to check them.
  2. Find out their professional involvement. I believe you should hire someone committed to their profession and continued education.
  3. Determine what your investment will be up front by asking how they charge. Some organizers charge by the hour, others may charge by the project.
  4. Ask the organizer if he/she specializes in any particular area of organizing (technology, chronic disorganization, closets, etc.).
  5. You probably want to work with someone experienced, so ask how long he/she has been in business and if she is a Certified Professional Organizer®.
  6. Ask if you will be working with the person you are speaking to or if you will be working with an employee or subcontractor.
  7. Determine if he/she has a minimum number of hours or if you are obligated by a contract.
  8. Every organizer works differently, so ask how he/she will approach your unique situation and what the process entails.
  9. Ask him/her to describe her typical organizing project and client. Does the description sound like your situation and what you need?
  10. Finally, if you’ve tried getting organized before, ask why he/she thinks his/her service will be a better fit for your circumstance.

Your professional organizer and you are a team. An organizer cannot perform effective services for you unless he/she knows what is important in your home or office and how that space functions. It’s in your best interest to find someone who shares your views. Base your final decision on a professional organizer who has the expertise, skill set, and personality which best suits you to help you achieve your goals.

Good luck!

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Closets Finally Organized

closet1_combo1+!This incredible closet organization project was featured by The Washington Post in their August 9, 2007 edition of “House Calls”. Check out the complete article online.

As written by Jura Koncius:
The Before: “Soon-to-be high school student Maureen Zimmerman wanted a space that matures as she does. She needed help tossing, tidying and getting organized. Zimmerman’s room has two big closets: one packed with clothes and accessories, the other with Beanie Babies, craft supplies and photos. She had no shoe storage and her jewelry was jammed in a shopping bag. Zimmerman’s DVDs and CDs were scattered everywhere.”

The Room Owner:
This soon to be freshman was 13 year old, Maureen was ready for high school, but her bedroom was stuck in childhood. It still held her toy chest, Dr. Seuss books, old Halloween costumes and more than 100 stuffed animals. Two large closets were bulging. Shopping bags piled in one corner contained a jumble of graduation presents, earrings, CDs and used notebooks.

The Designers Critique:
“Scott Roewer, a professional organizer for The Organizing Agency, says: Keep similar things together and get out-of-season items put away. He suggests using bins and baskets as tools for giving everything a place to go. They shouldn’t be too big, Roewer adds, or stuff will get buried in them.”

closet2_combo1+1 closet3_combo1+1


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CD Storage – If You STILL Have Jewel Cases

40676.12C045AD+1For many people, they’ve ditched (and hopefully recycled) their CD jewel cases and stored their CDs in a CD wallet similar to these. However, if you’re blessed with space and have numerous CDs, check out this system.

Unica Home promotes that music lovers can alphabetically organize their compact disc collections from ABBA to ZZ Top with these black polypropylene dividers for only $30.00. They’re just in time for Father’s Day!

40676.0B18D43A+1Each divider is printed with thousands of bands and artists in alphabetical order. They’re 6.7” x 4.8” in size, so be sure to measure your shelves. Is this method a bit over the top? Perhaps. But, for those who own thousands of CDs this product may be just what the ‘organizer‘ ordered!




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Portable Bulk Trash Removal Dumpster – Really!

New on the market is Bagster®, a portable trash dumpster made of a unique, woven material that can hold up to 3,300 pounds of household junk, construction debris, and even yard waste.

The process is simple:

  • 4_green_the-bagsterBUY the Bagster bag from one of the retail partners for $29.95.
  • FILL with up to 3,300 pounds of household junk, construction debris and yard waste.*
  • GONE after scheduling collection with Bagster on the phone or online, and paying the collection fee. Bags are gone in 1 – 3 business days. You need not be home for pick-up service.

The cost for a pick up in the Washington, DC area is $129 for the first bag and $99 for each additional bag.

Important to note, you can not put the following items in your Bagster bag; Appliances, Electronics, Tires, Food Waste, Large Stumps, Toxic/Hazardous Waste, Railroad Ties, and in some regions, Yard Waste.

I recently saw the bags for sale at True Value on 17th Street, near Dupont Circle. Find a retailer near you by visiting the Bagster’s web site.

If you live in an area without a drive way or which has a tall fence or landscaping element that prevents the bag from being more then 5 feet from the cube, be sure to check out the policies on bag placement.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post on the differences of using a service like Bagster as opposed to a local junk removal company.


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Shoe Organizing With Style – Every Summer

3_teal_mypairtree-103x300If you’re a woman, you likely love summer for the chance
to show off your pedicure. Right?

Ok, well maybe it’s just because you love flip-flops? Either way, check out this cool option for storing, uh, hanging your flip flops. According to the Web Site, “My Pair Tree is a one-of-a-kind hanging shoe rack that holds six pairs of your favorite flip flops, crocs and sandals. Ready to hang from just about anywhere, let your latest styles bloom!”

They have a lovely selection of ribbon colors to choose from, allowing you to customize your hanger. The special hook designed for this product will hold flip-flops, Crocs, or sandals. Priced at $16.95, this shoe storage system will fit anyone’s budget!

Thanks to Jon with My Pair Tree for sending us two samples last month. I used them as door prizes when I spoke to Junior League of Washington on April 28, 2008.

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