Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The world is changing. People today are going back to the basics. Part of it has to do with the economic climate and part of it is that people today care more about the planet and how what we do affects the planet and its people.

Personally, I care about my health. I seem to have gotten more “sensitive” to scents and chemicals as I’ve gotten older. Throw in a mild case of Asthma and everything seems to bother me these days.

So, I’ve slowly eliminated (or banished) a number of things from my home. Nail polish, polish remover and perfume have been banished from my home. My daughter has vowed to come up with an odorless and chemical free nail polish. And I hope she succeeds.

Cleaning products, harsh chemicals and toxic fumes have also been banned from my house. Replaced by “earth friendly” or “chemical free” or “green” products.

Watkins has a great line of “earth friendly” cleaning products that really work and don’t make me wheeze ! (

There are numerous sources of “green” cleaners. And going back to basics not only saves the earth but saves you money too !

A bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda can clean your entire house. You can use vinegar and water to clean windows.
Make a paste of baking soda and water to get rid of stains in your sink and countertops.
Unclog your drain by pour baking soda down your drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Step back as it will bubble up like a volcano!
Use a mixture of ½ tsp. olive oil and ¼ cup vinegar to use as furniture polish.
Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet to get out odors. Vacuum up after a few minutes.

These are just some of the ideas for earth friendly cleansers – and you thought they could just be used for

Plastic bags. Everyone knows that plastic does not biodegrade, yet people still use plastic bags for their groceries. Even my husband does! Why? Because we haven’t gotten in the habit of remembering to take the cloth bags out of the trunk of the car! It will take time to change our habits….but if each of us starts using cloth bags we can save thousands of trees.

Plastic and Styrofoam plates and utensils. There are now alternatives to disposable plates. Products that are biodegradable, compostable and sustainable. Try plates that are made from “sugar cane fiber”. They biodegrade in 60 – 90 days. Cups that are made from “cornstarch” biodegrade in 150 days. There are many site on the internet that have products available that are more earth friendly and won’t be around 100 year from now. An internet search of “going green” or “biodegradable products” will give you many options to choose from.

Going green is not a “trend”. It is a “must”. Because if we don’t get back to the basics and start eliminating the chemicals and pollutants we won’t have much to worry about. Because we won’t have a planet. Harsh, maybe. But it’s a reality.

It will take a lot of “organization” in our lives. Changing the way we do things and think about things. And that’s the first step. “ Thinking ” about things. And realizing that we have to start caring about ourselves and our earth if we are to have a future.

Go Green and help to save our planet ..... Start today !

Organizational Consulting Services

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yes, it’s getting to be “that time of year”…. And anxiety starts to build.

Why? Aren’t holidays supposed to be a “wonderful time of year” ? Of course they are…and they are also supposed to be about family and friends. Not “material things”.

Maybe with the current state of the economy people might now “get back to basics”. And learn to “enjoy” the holiday season.

That said I know that a number of my friends run around like maniacs and try to cram everything into the last minute right before the holiday. And the “joy” that’s supposed to be there….is only on T.V.

What goes into the Christmas holiday? Buying cards, sending cards, buying presents, wrapping presents, sending presents, decorating your house, decorating the tree, family dinners, holiday traditions….and so much more.

And all that is crammed into the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why?

Where is it written that you can’t write Christmas cards until two or three weeks before Christmas? Why can’t you write them… You can write out a few each day instead of cramming in a hundred cards in one sitting. The holiday police won’t come and get you!

Condense the time it takes to get cards ready by putting all of the people that you send cards to every year on computerized labels. It might be a bit time consuming at first but after that you can add, delete or change your list quickly. It will save you hours of writing out cards every year.

If you want to save even more time….get your cards pre-printed with your name on the inside.

If you want to save money….skip the (mailed) cards all together and send e-cards! One site that is free is They have cards for all occasions.

Take some time to sit down and make a “holiday schedule”. Put all of your parties, dinners, commitments on a calendar.

Plan your holiday meals and make a grocery list for each meal so that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute and forget something.

This year, instead of trying to do it all yourself divide the meal among your family / friends and have everyone make / bring something so that all of the work does not fall onto your shoulders. Yes, I know that “you” always do it all….but it’s time to let go and give yourself a break so that you too can enjoy the holidays.

Decorating the house and the tree. Some people go all out and decorate every room and multiple trees. Some people don’t decorate their tree until Christmas Eve. Some people don’t decorate at all. It’s all a matter of preference. But it should be a fun process and not a chore.

We have a tradition of decorating the day after Thanksgiving. It’s an all day process that includes Christmas music to get us in the mood. Singing at the top of our lungs. Champagne and snacks.

We talk about every ornament as it gets put up on the tree and my daughter whines about how embarrassing it is that I kept the ornament she made when she was five. I love that ornament. Almost as much as the one that I made when I was that age that I still have and proudly put on the tree every year.

The holidays are supposed to be about memories and tradition and keeping them is very important. No matter how horrible your year has been….by forcing yourself to follow tradition you too can find peace and a little happiness.

If you make it a fun day where everyone in the family takes part and helps it will not only get done faster but a tradition can be born and the kids will never know they had a “bonding moment”.

Holiday gifts….keep it simple and get back to the basics. I really look forward to my sister’s gift every year. She makes the best homemade pasta sauce and I am lucky enough to receive a gift basket of her sauce every year. One year she gave me something else and I was upset. She said she didn’t want to give me the same gift every year. But I really looked forward to it and a “ tradition “ was born. I make up a basket of dried herbs and herbed oils and vinegars that I make from my garden. Simple and made with love.

Everyone has a talent. Whether it’s cooking, baking, sewing, knitting or any number of other things. There is the ever popular “coupon book” idea. Kids can make up coupons for things like lawn mowing, babysitting, tutoring….

If you have a talent such as wallpapering or laying tile and your best friend doesn’t ….exchange your talent with her talent of decorating your house or having her cook you a few meals. You both get something you need and you also get the satisfaction that you helped a friend.

Gifts don’t need to be expensive and the most cherished ones are ones from the heart.

Wrapping gifts…. This is also a time consuming process. I don’t do it. I am the world’s worst gift wrapper. I stumbled across a sale of gift bags at Marc’s (3 for $1.00) and bought a ton of them in various sizes. Every gift is now put into a gift bag with tissue paper and I saved a ton of time wrapping and beating myself up over the fact that I am a terrible wrapper..

I always keep a supply of gift bags on hand….because you never know when you might need to give a gift throughout the year and wrapping paper is something that people tend to forget.

A good time to buy your supply is immediately after the holidays when everything is discounted 50 % – 75 %.

Wrap your gifts as you get them and have a spot set aside for them. But, you will need to keep a list of gifts that you already have so that you don’t forget what you have and who you bought it for. I keep a list for each family. Wrapping as you go is a lot more painless than sitting down and spending hours doing it at the last minute.

Start planning, organizing and putting your holiday plans into motion a little bit at a time so that you are not overwhelmed when they actually roll around.

Now that you have everything under control you can sit back and enjoy the holidays as they approach.

Organizational Consulting Services