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Hoarding of Denim Continues for Charity

Declutter-Denim-5Last week, I wrote about a professional organizer in Washington, DC who happened to also be a hoarder – a hoarder of denim.  I’ve been collecting denim for Habitat for Humanity since April.  I wanted to share this update with you.  As of May 17, 2010, I’ve collected 376 pairs of jeans.  In my last post, I mentioned my goal is to collect 5oo pairs total.  It takes 500 pairs to insulate one entire Habitat Home.

If you live in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County or Prince Georges County in Maryland and you have jeans to donate, please leave a comment below.  I’ll make arrangements to pick up the jeans or provide you my postal address for delivery or mail. You can also drop off jeans before May 23 at Vastu located at 1829 14th ST NW, Washington, DC.

Thanks for supporting this worth while adventure.

Special thanks to Steve Oatmeyer, a friend and talented graphic artist who created the denim graphic for this Declutter Your Denim Drive.

Professional Organizer in Washington, DC is a Hoarder. Can You Help?

Many of my Facebook Fanpage followers are already aware that I’m a hoarder.  That’s right!  I’m a  professional organizer and I’m a hoarder!  Wait – don’t get the wrong idea.  I’m not living among piles of stuff like you would see on A&E TV’s hit series Hoarders, I’m only hoarding denim.  I’m collecting jeans for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, Maryland and I’m trying to collect 500 pairs of your used denim.

Habitat for Humanity is collecting denim for the COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN® denim drive.  All donated denim will be recycled into UltraTouch™ Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation for Habitat for Humanity homes.  What I love is that UltraTouch™ contains no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. There are no VOC concerns when using UltraTouch™, as it is safe for you and the environment.  This makes it very easy for the volunteer Habitat home builders to install the insulation.

denim-3So why am I trying to collect 500 pairs of jeans you ask?  It takes 500 pairs of jeans to insulate one Habitat for Humanity home.  As a professional organizer who encourages people to declutter their closet, I thought, why not turn the unwanted denim of my clients into something good.  I began telling clients and friends about my idea right before Earth Day.  I started my efforts by posting notes on Facebook, on my Twitter profile, and emailed other members of the National Association of Professional Organizers asking everyone to donate jeans and to help me spread the word.  Now I’m taking it to you, my readers.

I’ve been blessed so far with my collection efforts, but still need help to reach my goal of 500 pairs of jeans.  One client donated over 50 pairs from her family. Real Estate Agent, Hub Krack told his friends and clients and dropped off 18 pairs of jeans. At the NAPO Conference in Columbus, Ohio, 67 pairs of jeans were donated by numerous organizers attending the conference.  Professional Organizer Tanna Clark of Nashville, TN wrote a check to Habitat for Humanity for $125.00 to help cover the cost of shipping of the jeans and many others donated cash.  One of my favorite local furniture stores, Vastu is currently accepting donations of jeans on my behalf until Sunday, May 23rd.  Read more about that on their blog post, Declutter Your Denim.

Currently I have 338 pairs of jeans, but it is not enough.  Can you help spread the word?  Please announce it on your Facebook status.  ReTweet this blog post on Twitter.  Clear out your closet and donate your denim to Habitat.  Comment here about recycling efforts in your community.  Or, if you’re a fan of Habitat for Humanity, tell us why.  If you have jeans to donate, tell me how I can reach you and I’ll schedule a pick up date or you can drop them off at Vastu.

denim IMG_2103-3I will be collecting denim until I reach 500 pairs or until August 20th, which ever comes first.  Officially denim is being collected through August 20th at the following locations:

Habitat for Humanity ReStore
9100 Gaither Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Amicus Green Building Center
4080 Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895-2465

Self Storage Plus
851 E. Gude Drive, Rockville, MD 20850

Learn more about the recycle process in this past blog post on denim recycling.

Too Much Stuff? Free Organizing Help With Rubbermaid & Scott Roewer

headerThe National Association of Professional Organizers for years has celebrated January as Get Organized Month, and this year is no different!  You likely  know someone who’s proclaimed that in 2010, they would finally get organized.  Or is this your year to banish the clutter for good?  Either way, free tips and suggestions for get organized and staying organized are always desired.  So, together with Rubbermaid I’m here to help.  Rubbermaid is hosting a Get Organized Month – 5 Day Twitter Chat.  I’ll be guest tweeting for Rubbermaid on the topic of “Too Much Stuff”.

Join me on Tuesday, January 12th from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST time. I’ll be tweeting about your organizing problems and offering solutions.  Also, the nice people at Rubbermaid will be giving away products each day to help you get organized!  How cool is that?  In order to win you simply need to participate in the discussion on Twitter.  They’ll randomly choose four people  to receive prizes.

To join the Chat and win:

  1. Create a Twitter account (if you do not already have one). Go to www.twitter.com to sign up for a free account.
  2. Follow myself and the two Rubbermaid hosts
    You can find me on Twitter – Scott Roewer @TheOrgAgency
    The Two official Rubbermaid hosts are:
  3. Jim Deitzel: @Rubbermaid & Erin Gentry: @RubbermaidErin
  4. Remember when you are referring to us or asking us a question on Twitter to either reply or use our entire Twitter handle (i.e. @TheOrgAgency)
  5. Use the hashtag #Rubbermaid for the contest. You must use the #rubbermaid hashtag in your tweets to qualify for prizes. Also, search for the #rubbermaid hashtag to follow along with the conversation.The chat continues on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Check out the schedule and the hosts below.

7 Packing Tips for Holiday Travel

woman-sitting-on-suitcase-4 Perhaps it has happened to you.  After waiting in the long line to check your bag, you finally reach the airline ticket counter. It’s 10 AM and you’re already tired from getting up early to pack since you waited till the last minute.  The not-so-chipper ticket agent tells you to place your suitcase on the scale.  You begin to sweat, because you dread this moment each time your travel.  Will your bag be too heavy?  You struggle to place your overfull suitcase on the scale and cringe as the digital numbers read, 57 lbs.  At 7 pounds overweight, that’s a $50 one-way service charge.  In the old days, you might occasionally meet a nice airline ticket agent who would have let it slide.  But in the days of restrictive policies and baggage fees, this is not likely to happen!  Don’t let the airlines rip you off.  I use a digital scale to weight my suitcase at home if I plan to check my bags.

eaglecreek-bag1-5With the onset of baggage fees, more people attempt to carry on their bags.  If you’re traveling this holiday season, that means there will be a lack of overhead storage space.  Carrying on is great, but you don’t want to fight with a bulky bag.  Be sure to start with a light suitcase.  My favorite suitcase is the 22″ Hover Craft by Eagle Creek – it’s light, compact and easy to maneuver through crowds.  The matching Travel Tote has a sleeve that slides over the handle of a rolling bag making it the perfect, personal carry on bag.  Be smart by packing light, packing efficiently, and by planning ahead when you travel.

Packing Tips

  1. Limit the amount of clothing you take.  Lay out what you think you’ll need and then put half of it back! Pick colors that you can mix and match to maximize your wardrobe.
  2. When selecting clothes for your travel, know that cotton, wool, and knits wrinkle less when transported.  Also think about all purpose shoes that you can wear for multiple outfits.  Shoes should be placed in bags so they don’t get your clothes dirty. I love the ‘Shoe-Ins‘ shoe bags from The Container Store.
  3. rolled-jeans-3Roll you clothes and place items that won’t wrinkle on the bottom.  Next, drape long items on top.  Smaller items like belts and accessories should line the side of the suitcase.
  4. Carry or wear your fine jewelry.  I recommend a film canister with tissue for earrings, rings or other small delicate items.
  5. If traveling with small family members, make a checklist so you can use it to remind yourself of what you need.
  6. Be aware that flying with a car seat or stroller may cost you more.  Most airlines still allow parents to check car seats and strollers with no additional fees.  Double check with your airline to make sure they don’t count a car seat as a second piece of luggage.
  7. Pack early!  Whenever you think of something to take – put it in the bag.  Keep a running list so you don’t have to unpack to see if you’ve already tossed it in the suitcase.

zipper-cube1-3Bonus tip – Never carry full bottles of product with you.  Create your own travel size bottles of lotions and makeup.  Checkout these 2 oz. clear jars, or these 3 oz. flip top bottles to make your own travel size products.  Drop them in the clear zippered cube (size B) and you’re set to fly the friendly skies.

baggage-claim-sign-3There are many benefits to traveling light and carrying on your bags.  Your bags will likely will not get lost or damaged because they’re being handled by you.  When you arrive at your destination, you won’t have to fight the crowds at baggage claim.  That alone is a great incentive to carry your bags!  If you live in a city with mass transit at the airport, you’ll beat the crowd to the Metro or be in the front of the taxi line which can be very long during the holiday rush. And, if you have someone picking you up, you won’t have to worry if their trunk is full of clutter.  You’ll easily be able to place your bag in the back seat.

Wishing you a safe holiday travel season.

Home Sweet Home (Office)

One of my favorite modern furniture stores in DC, Vastu has a great design blog.  Recently they had a great post on home office design.  I wanted to share with you their words of wisdom.

Home Sweet Home (Office)
Designing your home office can be challenging.  It needs to complement the design aesthetic of the rest of the house, but be different enough that it promotes productivity while in the space.  Your home office may not even be a room of it’s own, but need to exist in a space that has other functions like a guest room, bedroom or living room.  Well the Vastu Design Services team is here to help!  Here are a few suggestions and products to consider when designing your work space at home:

desk-copy1-3 Wall-mounted desk system. Think about having a wall-mounted desk system installed, especially if you have a small space.  You have the surface area you need to work without taking up as much floor space as a traditional desk would.  Here’s a look at a wall-mounted desk system used in a bedroom…

Dual purpose desk chair. Have your desk chair be the same chairs you’re using around your dining table.  This way when you have dinner guests, you can easily add additional seating and maintain a uniform look around the dining table.

Storage, storage, storage. When designing any space, be sure to consider how much storage space is required to make your space work for you. This will help to make selections of furniture and organizational pieces easier.

Don’t ignore the floor. Depending on the flooring in your home office space, you may want to consider an area rug.  If you have wooden floors, it’s a great way to add warmth to the space, bring in color and define the work area.

Set the mood. Think about what mood you want the space to evoke. Fast-paced, upbeat environment or a relaxed, calm space? This will help in your selection of materials, finishes, fabrics, colors and accessories.

Color! Color! Color! Painting or adding some sort of wall covering to the walls (either a pattern or texture) will make a world of difference in the overall look of the space. Stark white walls are never an option! Walls with color will bring life and character to your home office space which will help in motivating you to want to do work.

Closet Organizing – How to Install an elfa® Closet

closet movie8I work with elfa® frequently and find it rather easy to install.  The product is affordable, very sturdy, and flexible enough to use in most any space.  If you enjoy simple, do-it yourself type projects, this how-to video demonstrates how you can install your own elfa® closet system from The Container Store. This is the eighth video in a nine-part series on how to organize your closet like a pro.

Be sure to review the seventh video in this series, where I explained the closet parts, tools, and important safety considerations.

What’s your biggest challenge in your bedroom closets?

Here are the previous videos in this how-to series.

Organizing Your Closet – A How-To Series

Organizing Your Closet – Measuring and Planning Your New Closet

Closet Organizing – Removing the Old Closet

Closet Organizing – How to Sort & Downsize Your Closet Clutter

Closet Organizing – Sorting & Organizing Your Linens

Closet Organizing – Sorting & Organizing Your Clothes

Closet Organization – Steps to Install an elfa® Closet System

Electronics Recycling in Montgomery County Maryland – This Weekend!

In April 2008, the Consumer Electronics Association published a Market Research Report called: Trends in CE Reuse, Recycle and Removal which reported the average American Household has 24 electronic products per household. I don’t know about you, but as I look around my apartment, I have MANY more then 24! With that said, when it is time to recycle the items, we all must do our part to recycle the electronics.

This weekend, Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services is hosting another FREE electronics recycling event.

Sunday, July 26, 2009, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Sherwood High School
300 Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860

(The event will be held in the parking lot behind the school and near the school’s stadium.)
They also accept electronics daily at their Solid Waste Transfer Station.
Full electronics drop-off event collection schedule can be found on their website.
recycle_e-3Accepted items include:

      small electronic appliances
      CDs and floppy disks
      CD players
      cell phones
      computers and computer-related products
      consumer electronics
      cords and cables (including chargers)
      digital cameras
      electronic typewriters
      fa machines
      microwave ovens
      personal digital assistant equipment
      projection equipment
      small electronic toys

If you’re curious what exactly happens to the items after they’re collected – read this post.

Closet Organization – Steps to Install an elfa® Closet System

closet movie7We’re excited so many of you have been following this how-to closet organizing video series.  Now that we’ve sorted all the ‘stuff’ from the closet, and removed the closet system that wasn’t working, we are ready to begin installing the new elfa® system from The Container Store.

In this video, I’ll show you the tools necessary to install the closet, explain the various hardware pieces, and share with you a few safety concerns.  This is a 3 minute video and it is the seventh in a series of nine videos.

If you have questions about any of the tools, or hardware, please do let me know. The eighth video will actually show the step-by-step process to install the closet. Installing an elfa® closet is an easy, DIY project for most anyone.

Here are the previously posted videos in the how-to organize your closet series.

Organizing Your Closet – A How-To Series

Organizing Your Closet – Measuring and Planning Your New Closet

Closet Organizing – Removing the Old Closet

Closet Organizing – How to Sort & Downsize Your Closet Clutter

Closet Organizing – Sorting & Organizing Your Linens

Closet Organizing – Sorting & Organizing Your Clothes

Hiding Money at Home Can Bring A Wealth of Woes

Recently I was interviewed by MSNBC for an article, “Money Hiders Risk A Wealth of Woes, Feelings of economic insecurity can lead to cash stashing“.

Most people have some cash available at home. However, I have found clients do not always take appropriate steps in securing their cash. As quoted in the article by MSNBC, I said.

“I’ve found money taped to the back of headboards, in clothes pockets, under loose floorboards, in fake books, and in shoe boxes,” says Scott Roewer, a certified professional organizer from Washington, D.C., who also does estate sales. “It’s amazing what people come up with to hide their money.”

trash-3Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a Tel Aviv woman who purchased a new mattress for her elderly mother and tossed out her lumpy mattress. What she didn’t know is her mother had stored her 1 million dollar life’s savings in the mattress, now buried at the dump.

I work with individuals of all ages, and find that all age-groups hide money. I typically urge my clients with cash or other valuables lying around their house to either deposit the cash in the bank, put the valuables or cash in a fireproof safe, and to tell someone where they’re hidden the items, even if they do it via a note in their will.

“I advise against hoarding cash,” he says. “I’ve seen instances of fire, robbery and accidental death where clients had money hidden but nobody knew and it was gone forever.”

Do you stash money at home or have any interesting stories to share about hoarding cash? What steps have you put in place so your money is not lost, forgotten about, or lost? You can read the entire MSNBC article here.

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Closet Organizing – Sorting & Organizing Your Clothes

closet movie6How many times have you said, “my closet just isn’t big enough”? Well the truth of the matter is, your closet is probably large enough, you simply have too much stuff! I’ve worked in a few hundred closets, and I find people use the wrong accessories to store their clothes, and don’t take the time to fold or hang items. Instead, they shove the clothes on shelves and expect their clothes to not be damage, wrinkle free, and they expect to find a ready to wear outfit in a timely manner.

In this fifth video of my “how to organize your closet like a pro” series, I’ll demonstrate the steps you can follow to sort your clothes. I also talk about the proper types of hangers to use, and how to avoid some common mistakes people make in their closets. Watching this video may just save your favorite outfit from damage!

I’ve previously posted five videos in this series. To view the other posts, please visit the links below. If you have any clothes storage tips you’d like to share, please comment below.

Organizing Your Closet – A How-To Series

Organizing Your Closet – Measuring and Planning Your New Closet

Closet Organizing – Removing the Old Closet

Closet Organizing – How to Sort & Downsize Your Closet Clutter

Closet Organizing – Sorting & Organizing Your Linens