Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Safe Medication Disposal in Summit County, OH

Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority offers the following advice for disposing of medication without harming the environment. Check with your police department in your area to see if they have a similar program.

"Improper disposal of medication is a growing concern which can lead to environmental problems and contribute to prescription drug abuse, especially among teens and young adults.

The D.U.M.P. program is designed to provide Summit County residents with a safe and easy option for disposing of unwanted medications. Simply take the medicine to one of the several D.U.M.P. box locations in the county, and it will be safely destroyed, no questions asked. 

Just be sure to keep the medicines in their containers and mark out any identifying information.  Please note that the D.U.M.P. boxes are for pills, capsules, or liquids only; syringes cannot be accepted at the D.U.M.P. boxes.  For syringe disposal, call 330-926-5600.


Akron City Police Department
217 South High Street, Akron, OH 44308
Directions To This Location

Barberton City Police Department
576 W Park Ave, Barberton, OH 44203
Directions To This Location

Bath Township
3864 W. Bath Road, Akron, OH 44333
Directions To This Location

Copley Police Department
1280 Sunset Drive, Copley, Ohio 44321
Directions To This Location

Hudson Police Department
36 South Oviatt Street, Hudson, OH 44236
Directions To This Location

1494 East Aurora Road, Macedonia, Ohio 44056
Directions To This Location

New Franklin Police Department
5611 Manchester Rd., Akron, Oh 44319
Directions To This Location

Richfield Police Department
4450 W. Streetsboro Rd., Richfield, Oh 44286
Directions To This Location

Sagamore Hills Police Department
11551 Valley View Rd., Sagamore Hills, OH 44067
Directions To This Location

Stow Police Department
3800 Darrow Road, Stow, OH 44224
Directions To This Location

Tallmadge Police Department
53 Northeast Ave., Tallmadge, Oh 44278
Directions To This Location

Twinsburg Police Department
10075 Ravenna Road, Twinsburg, OH 44087
Directions To This Location

For more information about the D.U.M.P. program, please contact
Terry Tuttle at (330) 926-5630."

More on medication disposal:

Disposing of Unused Medication Responsibly

Decluttering Your Medicine Cabinet - Proper Storage and Disposal of Medications

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some of My Favorite Organizing Products - Mud Room

I thought I'd do a series on my favorite organizing products. Since the entry we use to our house is the mud room/laundry room, I'll start there.

When we enter our mud room, two sets of hooks hold items we shed. In the summer - wet towels, bathing suits and such. In the winter, book bags, coats and more. Without these hooks, our house would explode as people walk in the door. We also keep our collection of plastic bags here until they get recycled. In the past when our entry was tiny, we used a coat rack for the same purpose.

Boot trays hold messy shoes and boots in the winter. Our winters here in Northeast Ohio are long and snowy, so these are big floor-savers. In the summer they move out to the garage for mowing shoes:

Since our mud room is also a laundry/utility room, we keep our broom and mop here on the wall rather than taking up closet or floor space:

It's amazing how just a few things help keep the house under control!

More on mud rooms:

Organizing Your Mud Room

Expert Organizing and Design Tips for Your Foyer

Decluttering in 10 - Entry Way


Monday, June 27, 2011

Take Some Organizing Lessons from 11-Year-Old Actress Kiernan Shupka

The following shelterpop article by Amy Preise is a fun read. Maybe you can use it to inspire your child!

Feeling too lazy to tackle your closet? Shame -- and inspire -- yourself by browsing actress Kiernan Shipka's stellar organizing skills.

organize-closet-kiernan-shipkaJake Rosenberg for The Coveteur

Recently The Coveteur turned its lens on the adorable and precocious "Mad Men" star Kiernan Shipka -- she of the impossibly sweet dresses and enviable Mary Janes collection. We discovered that in addition to having a fantastic wardrobe, Kiernan's also wise beyond her years when it comes to closet organizing. Want her advice? Read on...
organize-closet-kiernan-shipkaJake Rosenberg for The Coveteur

Organize-Your-Closet Lesson #1: Seek out more space.
I love organization, so I split my clothes into two closets according to seasons," says Kiernan. "Though I have to go to the guestroom to pull my fall and winter items, it's still much easier than cramming all my clothes together in my one closet. I love 'space' in between hanging clothes."

organize-closet-kiernan-shipkaJake Rosenberg for The Coveteur

Organize-Your-Closet Lesson #2: Let your most-loved pieces double as decor.
"I love ballet. Ballet is its own being. It has its own vocabulary. I feel as if I am in a different world when I am in the ballet studio." So why shouldn't she give her ballet shoes a prominent place?

Organize-Your-Closet Lesson #3: Sort your things by type.
"I organize things by clothing type and by season," says Kiernan. "My dresses are together, as well as my skirts, hats, jackets, tops, scarfs, sweaters, and shoes! I hate a messy closet. I totally freak out when my closet is messy and I can't find anything. I like it to be as organized as can be!"
organize-closet-kiernan-shipkaJake Rosenberg for The Coveteur

Organize-Your-Closet Lesson #4: Seek out unexpected -- and mood-lifting -- storage.
You may not have SAG awards like Kiernan but surely you have old trophies that can double as jewelry stands. Or maybe a diploma to display with your perfume bottles? Work the pieces you're proud of into your space and you'll have a constant reminder of your successes. "I am so lucky to be part of such an awesome cast on Mad Men," says Kiernan. "Being awarded the trophies is just the cherry on top!"

organize-closet-kiernan-shipkaJake Rosenberg for The Coveteur

Organize-Your-Closet Lesson #5: Keep the floor a no-clothes zone.
We know it's hard to keep 100% of your clothes in your closet 100% of the time. Instead, designate pretty spots to stash items that you haven't had time to put away yet. We love how sweet Kiernan's frock looks on display by the window. Much, much better than strewn on the floor or over a chair."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Disposing of Paint Responsibily


As you declutter your garage or storage area, you may find some old paint you want to get rid of. Our local recycling center recommends the following for disposing of latex paint responsibly.

"Dried out Latex Paint (water-based) is an acceptable item for curbside trash.  To solidify follow these simple instructions:
  • Mix absorbent material (i.e. cat litter, sawdust, shredded newspaper) into paint and allow mixture to dry thoroughly.  Use a 50/50 mixture to ensure the quickest dry time; or 
  • Let the paint dry out.  Simply remove the lid and sit the paint can in a well-ventilated area (this works best for small quantities of paint); or
  • Pour thin layers (about 1" of paint) into a disposable pie plate or cardboard box lined with plastic and allow the paint to dry one layer at a time.  Repeat the process until all the paint is dry.
  • Once paint is dry, leave the lid off the can and place in your regular trash.
  • Recycle the steel cans!  
  • Place dried paint in box or plastic grocery bag to throw it out."
More on paint:

Magnetic Paint - An Innovative Space Saver!

Storage for Your Garage

Reorganize and Decorate with Little Cash or Carbon Footprint


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 4 - Before and After Pics

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to finish up this garage series. We have been helping a new foster daughter settle in and we've been helping our high school graduate move out. Unfortunately, the place she was going to move into did not come through on their promises, so we helped her move back in yesterday! Life is like that sometimes, isn't it? Now onto our garage ...

Now that you've sorted your items into your functional areas, you'll want to put like things together. After this step, it's time to evaluate storage options. Until you know how many like items you have, you don't know what you'll need to store them. 

Once you have put your like things together, you can look into hiring someone to install garage storage units; you can put in a do-it-yourself system; you can use what you have; or you can do a combination of the above. We chose to use what we have on hand.

For example, in the tool area, we chose to put all our screwdrivers together, all our wrenches, etc. In our stacking drawers, one is for batteries, one for adhesives, and a couple for miscellaneous items.

You may want to have a box with small drawers for nails, screws, nuts, bolts and such. However, if you only have a couple of nails, you wouldn't need a box with multiple drawers. You may want to have a peg board to hang tools you use most often.

Because we have up to four foster daughters, we have multiples of snow shovels and rakes. To accommodate these, we have a strip that goes the entire length of the garage wall and another half-strip that goes below the other one. Tools snap into the tool-holders on the strips.

We have built-in shelves to house long-term storage belonging to our children, sleds, and other items.

Metal shelves serve as our toy and sports storage. We also keep some of these in a plastic container should we want to take them on a picnic.

An old cupboard has become our gardening center. 

And we have some locked cupboards for gas for the mower and other dangerous items.

So there's our garage project. Here are the before and after pictures - before pics on the left; after pics on the right.

More on garages:

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 1

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 2

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 3


Monday, June 20, 2011

Summit County, OH Free Shredding Days

Take advantage of these free recycling days in Summit County, OH - a great way to get rid of some of that sensitive paper without having to pay for it. Locations and dates: 

Free shredding days!
Confidential recycling and shredding of your documents
Saturdays from 9 am - noon (rain or shine)

9699 Valley View Road
[Entrance at the Macedonia Administration Building]

Green’s Central Administration Building
1755 Townpark Boulevard 44685

City of Barberton Sports Complex 
841 Wooster Road West
[Enter Wooster Road West ONLY]

895 E. Tallmadge Avenue 

- Binder Clips
- Rubber Bands
- Binders
- Paperclips
- Report Covers
- Hanging Files
No Plastic, please

Only Summit County residents and businesses are welcome 
to visit any or all events.
All paper shredded will be recycled. 
Limit 10 file boxes or shopping bags. 
Visit www.Saswma.org for a coupon to receive 
a free gift made from recycled paper. 

More on recycling:

Managing Paper

Wait - Don't Throw That Away!

80 Awesome Ideas for All Your Old or Unwanted Books from Online Colleges


Friday, June 17, 2011

Simple Summer Meal

I'm always looking for quick summer meals that don't require a lot of time or heat. Today we had our main meal at lunch - I love doing that because our schedule can be more flexible the rest of the day. This is what we had:

Crockpot Barbecued Chicken
Ciabata Rolls
Broccoli Raisin Salad
Fruit Plate

The only thing that took any time was the broccoli raisin salad, which could be left out or swapped for something easier and faster. But I was in the mood for this salad and had an overabundance of broccoli that needed to be used up.

I cooked two chicken breasts (bone in) and eight boneless skinless chicken thighs for 3 1/2 hours on high, and they were done perfectly. I placed the breasts on the bottom of the crockpot (meat side down) and topped them with the thighs. One large bottle of barbecue sauce was enough to cover them. 

When ready, I deboned the breasts and served the chicken with some of the sauce spooned over it. There were five of us eating, and we had leftovers.

I had been eying these ciabata rolls for some time, and bought some yesterday. I heated them at 400 degrees for 5 minutes and served them with garlic Parmesan olive oil for dipping (just pour some olive oil on a saucer and sprinkle with garlic salt and fresh Parmesan). Or the rolls could be used with the chicken to make a sandwich.


The fruit plate consisted of sliced honeydew, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and strawberries. 

More on quick summer meals:

Quick summer meal

Quick, Frugal Meal

Hassle Free Dinners

Thursday, June 16, 2011

3 Tips to Staying Motivated While Downsizing or Decluttering

Today we took the first load of possessions belonging to our recent high school graduate over to her new place. We measured her room, planned where furniture would go, and unpacked what we brought. We'll continue to make trips each day until she is moved in. Now for today's topic:

In speaking with a client today, we discussed motivation. My suggestions: 

- Start in an area in which you want to work. Go with your urges! If you have the urge to declutter your pantry, go with that - motivation is a key to your success.

- Start where you can make quick progress: a drawer, a closet, a shelf. Your progress will motivate you to tackle another spot.

- Save paper, photos and such for last. This is the slowest, most tedious aspect of decluttering. If you start with paper, you'll easily become bogged down. If possible, do spurts of paper decluttering while watching a movie, on the phone, or riding in the car on a trip. 

More on motivation:

Clutter Statistics - Motivation for Spring Cleaning

Five Ways to Prevent Procrastination from Zapping Your Energy and Productivity

Organizing Drawers

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Small Business Owners - Plan Vacations Strategically Around Business Trends

According to a new survey from American Express OPEN (small business division of American Express) only 46 percent of small business owners will take a week's vacation this summer. Thirty-seven percent said they are too busy and 29 percent said they couldn't afford it.

Earlier in the year, American Express OPEN reported that thirty-four percent of small business owners take time off when theyre stressed or have had enough, up 10% from spring 2007. 

As a small business owner, your busiest time may be in the summer. Unless you have top-notch employees, this may not be the best time for you to take a break. 

As you follow the trends of your business, you will notice times during the year when your clients are busier and times when your clients may require your products or services less. For example, between Christmas and New Years may be a dead time for your business. Why not plan vacation time then? Or the month of January may be a slow month for your business - a great time to get away.

Just because much of the country may be vacationing during the summer doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your peak business time to take a vacation. Plan vacations when you have slow times. You may need to make special arrangements if you need to take your kids out of school, etc., but it's worth the extra effort.

Whatever you do, make sure you have time away from your work. You will return energized and invigorated from stepping away from your business. An essential time management tool!

More on vacations: 

Why Time Off Is Well Spent

Get Organized Month - Declutter Your Schedule - Take Some Time Off!

Helping Your Kids Pack for Vacation

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Local Recycling of Plastic Garden Containers

Today is my husband's and my 36th anniversary! It's hard to believe it! We are celebrating by taking an island-hopping cruise on Lake Erie. Now, on to our post for today ... what to do with those plastic garden containers without putting them in the landfill:

On June 18th from 9:00 – 4:00 Graf Growers Garden Center will be hosting their first Recycle Day where they will be collecting empty plastic garden containers. All sizes and shapes of flower pots, flats, packs, tags, and nursery pots will be accepted. Participants need to knock any clumps of dirt out of them before bringing them on that day. Graf’s is located at 1015 White Pond Drive, just off Interstate 77. 

Staff members and volunteers will help to unload vehicles and sort the plastics. Graf Growers Garden Center is offering this program as a service to the greater Akron community as part of their commitment to the environment. Plastics accepted will be recycled by a local company and used to manufacture plastic household items.

Refreshments will be served and Free Reusable Shopping Bags will be given to participants. (while supplies last).   

More on recycling:

A Refresher on Recycling Plastics

Recycling Compact Fluorescent Lamps (Lightbulbs)

Recycling VHS Tapes


Monday, June 13, 2011

Decluttering Seminar

Just wanted to  let you know that I'll be giving a Decluttering Seminar at Reed Memorial Library in Ravenna, OH on Saturday, June 23 at 2:30 pm. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Empty Nesters Store Their Children's Clutter Plus Their Own

An interesting article in the Daily Mail Reporter about Brits storing their kids' possessions. Definitely a problem - sometimes avoidable, sometimes not. Enjoy the read:

"British parents are looking after nearly £2.5 billion of clutter their grown up children have left behind, a study shows.

Young adults leaving home are using 'the warehouse of mum and dad' to store their belongings - adding to a mountain of unused goods across the country.

In total, homes across the UK are crammed with almost 47.5 million cubic litres of clutter - enough to fill Wembley stadium 11 times over.

Full of junk: Young adults leave billions of pounds of junk at their parents' homes, with some retaining their bedrooms full of clutter

Full of junk: Young adults leave billions of pounds of junk at their parents' homes, with some retaining their bedrooms full of clutter.

The total value of unused possessions is thought to be around £50 billion, with people storing pricey clutter such as jewellery, power tools and electrical goods in their lofts, spare rooms and even sheds. 

One in ten homes estimate that they're holding onto clutter worth more than £1,000, while a third - 35 per cent - have no idea how much their unused possessions are worth.

Clothes are the most hoarded item, with almost two thirds - 59 per cent - of people holding onto garments they haven't worn in at least a year.

Old paperwork comes next, with 57 per cent of those surveyed admitting to hanging onto receipts and statements.

Not the end: Despite adult children leaving home, their parents are still keeping lots of their possessions in storage

Not the end: Despite adult children leaving home, their parents are still keeping lots of their possessions in storage.

Over half of Brits also hang onto photos, frames, and holiday souvenirs - 55 per cent - while old schoolbooks, as well as toys and games are also cherished long after we've finished with them - 47 and 43 per cent respectively.

Research by insurance group LV= show that over a fifth of people are storing possessions for others, including friends, family, partners or even ex-partners or spouses.

And over half of this clutter babysitting has been spawned by lazy children, with £2.4 billion of forgotten possessions left at home for parents to look after.

Despite this, many parents confess to enjoy looking after their children's old stuff - one in five still sees their child's old bedroom as belonging to them, even after they've flown the nest, and one in eight say they enjoy the 'nostalgia' that keeping their childhood possessions brings. 

Others also cite practicality or nostalgia as a reason for holding onto the clutter - almost two thirds hoard possessions they think they may need in the future, while over half say sentimental value stops them having a clear out.

Some people have even managed to have the best of both worlds, with one in eight people storing possessions worth more than £1,000 in commercial lock-ups away from home.

John O'Roarke, managing director at LV= said: 'Our research shows that we are a nation of hoarders, packing our homes with possessions that we just can't bear to get rid of and even though we rarely use these items, we would miss them if they were damaged or stolen.'"

More on kids' clutter:

Helping Your Kids Turn Their Clutter into Cash

How to Live Graciously with Messy People

Recycle Stuffed Animals for a Cause


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Simplifying Summer Dishes

I'm re-posting this article from last year - who needs to do more dishes? LOL!

Drinking glasses seem to multiply during the summertime, don't they? Last year I came up with an idea to try to reduce the number of drinking glasses we use each day. I found a package containing four different colors of disposable plastic glasses. Each person chose a color. But I felt very un-green!

This year we found a box of eight large plastic drinking glasses - two in each of the four colors. Since these are sturdy and dishwasher-safe, I feel much better about using them. 

We only have two foster daughters at the moment, so we can each choose one color. If we get more girls, we'll let the girls use the colorful glasses and my husband and I will use other ones. 

It's amazing how few glasses we are using now! The only problem is that the colors don't always go with my color scheme. But I guess I'll live with it!

More summertime hints:

Mouthwash and Mosquitoes

Peace-of-Mind Vacation Check List - What to Do Before You Leave

Cook It Once, Serve It Twice

Foil - A Griller's Friend

Monday, June 6, 2011

More Ideas for Organizing Fun for Your Kids

I found another source of ideas for summer fun: 100 Days of Summer.

Great ideas, pictures, and websites with instructions. My favorite: making Coke Icees!

More on summer fun:

Planning An Intentional Summer for Your Kids

Organizing Summer Fun When Everyone is Bored: Water Spoons

Organizing Summer Fun When Everyone is Bored: Guess the Theme Day


Friday, June 3, 2011

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 3

So ... we've removed trash, recyclables and items to donate. And we've determined functional areas for the garage. The next step is to sort.

I'm not one who likes to remove everything from the area unless the area is too crowded. If there are some things in the correct place, why remove them? 

I like to start in one corner when I sort. It helps me stay focused. Now that I've determined functional areas, I know exactly where something goes if it's not in the correct place.

I have containers for trash, donating, giving away to specific people, does not belong in the garage, and recycling. If you want to sell some of your items, you can create a container for that. 

This is a big job. Just keep sorting until you've made it around your garage. As you sort, you may discover new functional areas you need to create. 

The object is to place items in the correct functional area. Don't put them away yet or worry about storage. 

When you've accomplished this task, do something to celebrate!

More on organizing the garage:

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 1

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 2

Three Steps to Decluttering

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bev Shares Downsizing Tips with "Smart Moves" Columnist Ellen James Martin

"Smart Moves" columnist Ellen James Martin wrote "Tips on Moving to a Much Smaller Habitat." I'm honored to be used as a resource for her column. Here's a copy:

It's not only empty nesters who are selling large homes and buying smaller domains. Many younger people facing reduced income and higher expenses are trimming living space to reduce costs.

"People are frightened economically so they're cutting down, often voluntarily. There's a major trend toward minimization," says Beverly Coggins, author of "Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence."

Even some who can afford to live big are downscaling their living space to simplify their lives and focus on other priorities, says Sid Davis, a real estate broker and author of "A Survival Guide to Selling a Home."

Davis tells how his son recently downsized from a detached house with 1,800-square-feet of living space and a large plot of land to a 1,300-square-foot condo-townhouse with no yard. His motivation for moving wasn't money. He simply wanted more time for friends and hobbies.

Though he'd lived in the larger house for only three years before putting it on the market, Davis' son had to cull through many accumulations, including tools and excess furniture, before moving. 

Indeed, those moving to a living space with much less square footage and storage capacity must make tough choices. In many cases they must decide among items they truly want to keep but can't accommodate in the new space, like mementos from family vacations and overseas trips.

"When you're going to a smaller house, you must decide which things have the most meaning for you," says Coggins, who runs her own professional organizing company.

A professional organizer since 1995, she says she's learned it's best for those downsizing to break the work into chunks rather than to attempt marathon sessions.

Here are several tips for those planning to move to a smaller domain: 

  • Free yourself of extra furniture early in your transition.

    For most people, one major step toward downsizing involves dispensing with large pieces of furniture. Beyond precious antiques and family heirlooms, many find this process relatively easy because they don't have sentimental attachments to most furniture.

    Davis suggests one way to clear space and furniture quickly is to put it up for sale. He tells how, using classified ads in local newspapers, his son quickly dispensed with several oversized pieces that wouldn't have worked in his townhouse.

    If you have valuable antiques to sell, however, you'll probably want to find a reputable dealer. But more routine items of furniture as well as household belongings can be effectively sold through an informal sale.

    "People are surprised at how much money they can make through a local garage sale," says Davis, who recommends that downsizers work with neighbors to attract more interest to their event.

  • Avoid storage unit costs by eliminating superfluous items.

    Many downsizers succumb to the temptation to place their belongings in a storage unit before they move. But Coggins strongly advises against this course if you can avoid it.

    "Storage units are expensive. And for most people, they're just an excuse to postpone making decisions on stuff they need to eliminate," she says.

    When working with downsizers, Coggins encourages them to dispense with many items, including clothing that's too small or large, especially if they haven't used it for a year or longer. The same applies to many other household items.

    She says many people feel especially anxious about letting go of things given to them as gifts from relatives or close friends. But she says such guilt feelings are needless.

    But while you may not be able to take everything you love to your new, smaller place, Coggins suggests you take photos of the treasured items, like a grand piano passed down in the family. These can be framed and hung up in your new domain.

  • Consider using pickup services offered by charitable groups.

    Many downsizers find it easier to let go of extra belongings if they know they'll go to good use. That's why Coggins and other professional organizers often advocate contacting charitable organizations interested in collecting serviceable items.

    Very often charity groups will pick up items from your home, a convenient way to free yourself of clutter. Also, with a pickup appointment, you'll have a definite deadline for your work, which can serve as a motivating factor.

    The Salvation Army, for example, offers pickup services in many areas. To learn more or schedule a pickup, visit the organization's website, www.salvationarmyusa.org.

  • Seek to stay oriented to the positives in your future.

    Nowadays the reality is that many are downsizing because they have to cut expenses. Yet many who must move to a smaller home find that doing so has its favorable points, including less financial stress.

    Coggins also notes another benefit of downsizing: With fewer home upkeep demands, you'll have more time to focus on the people most important to you.

    "When they downsize, many people realize more fully that it's relationships, not stuff, that brings happiness," she says.

    More on downsizing:
    Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence

    You Can't Downsize Memories

    Downsizing - Factors to Consider when Choosing a New Residence