T’is the Season for…..Catalogs

Unwanted catalogs, credit card offers, donation requests really seem to swamp us this time a year and can really clutter up our homes and offices. Yesterday alone 7 catalogs and 2 donation requests came into my home. Some of the catalogs and donation requests came from groups that I have never used. Many companies send this mail because they have bought our information from a data broker.

More than 100 billion pieces of junk mail are mailed to U.S. households each year, including 12 billion catalogs! That’s a lot of trees, people. Over 100 million trees are cut down each year to produce our junk mail and 1.72 million tons of junk mail ends up in landfills. Only about 40% of the junk mail is recycled.

So, what to do? I always recycle my junk mail but this is not enough. There are several sites to help you stop your junk mail. I have just signed up with a free one (although it asks for financial help) called Catalog Choice. I set up an account and listed the catalogs that came yesterday. It was easy to use but takes a bit of time to find your catalog in their lists.

Another option is to call up the number on the back of the catalogs and ask them to remove you from the list. By law, they must honor this. It would not take too long if you did each one when it comes through.

There are still some catalogs that I enjoy looking through even though I rarely buy form them. Those I will continue to let come to my home but will recycle them out very quickly.

The important idea is not to let catalogs become clutter in your home or end up in the landfills.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

10 Things to Throw Out Now

Sometimes we just want to declutter or organize our home but just don’t know where to start.
What are somethings we have in our home that take up space but are really “no brainers” when it comes to a quick, easy purge?

1. Excess paper– This paper can be computer printouts that you no longer need, copies of paid bills, unnecessary receipts, or even old newspapers and articles. Quickly sort through your mounds of paper stuck here and there and see how much can quickly go into the trash or recycle bin. Keep asking yourself, “Why do I need this?” and “What is the worst thing that can happen if I throw this away?”

2. Extra clothes hangers or speciality hangers you are not using. Open each closet door and look inside. Pull out all those old wire hangers or hangers that you bought for a specific purpose and never use.  Return the wire ones to your dry cleaner and recycle the rest.

3. Ratty bed linens and towels. Think about how many linens and towels you really need. Two sets of bed linens for each bed (you can also count the sofa bed) and 2 sets of towels for each person living in your home plus 2 sets for each guest room are usually plenty. Now take the mismatched and threadbare other linens and donate them to a vet or animal rescue center.

4. Extra vases and flower pots. Save the ones you have used in the past year and let the rest go. It will be great to have that extra shelf space. Florists will be glad to get your donations.

5. VHS tapes, cassette tapes, unused video games, CDs you no longer play. Why are you keeping these? If it is a really special VHS of a family wedding, get it digitized. These items take up a lot of space.

6. Exercise Equipment that you aren’t using. More people use a treadmill to hang clothes on that to use as intended. If you haven’t used this stuff in the past year, let it go and give someone else a chance using it. This is also true of water bottles. I have seen whole shelves of these bottles picked up at some event and then not used.

7. Make up and hair accessories. Let go of all those samples you got because they came “free” with a purchase. You might let go of those “free” cosmetic bags, too. Women’s shelters would love some of this. Curling irons, flat irons, rollers that you no longer use can also be easily given away. You’ll love the extra room in your bathroom.

8. Old electronics. Fax machines, printers, phones, cables, chargers, and items you have forgotten what they even are. Let them go. What cables and accessories you keep, put in plastic bags and label them.

9. Kitchen items that only have one use. Cherry pitters, crab mallets, grapefruit spoons, egg cups, or any item that you have not used in the past year. These really mess up your kitchen drawers and shelves.

10. Games, puzzles, old hobbies paraphernalia. If you no longer do puzzles, if you have not played that game in years, if you don’t really think you’ll use that wooden tennis racket, let it go.  Others may now enjoy what you no longer use. Donate these or give to friends and family.

Now, don’t you feel free?

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Junk Mail- Just Stop It!

Your name, address, and buying habits are tracked by companies and sold and traded on the open market. It’s usually a dead giveaway when some group misspells your name and then 20 more solicitations with the same misspelling crop up. For those mass lists, here are a few tips to keep from being on shared lists. 1. Whenever you donate money, order something, or fill out a warranty card, write in large letters “Please do not sell my name or address.” Some organizations have a box to check. 2. When you donate to groups like the Audubon Society, you can request that they only send out an annual renewal reminder. 3. If you get information from your investments via mail, you can request on-line reports or CDs instead. 4. Avoid filling out warranty cards if you do not require them. They are often for obtaining information and targeting direct mail. 5. If making a phone order or donation, retest that your account is noted that your name is not traded or sold to other companies. 6. Avoid “contests” where you fill in entry blanks. 7. If something comes to you via first class mail, cross out the address and barcode, circle the first class postage, and write “refused: return to sender.” 8. For credit card offers, call 1-888-5 OPT OUT. 9. For catalogs, call the company’s 800 number. Have your catalogs in front of you when you call. 10. For much junk mail, send a postcard of letter to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Assoc., PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643. Include your complete name, address, zip code and a request to “activate the preference service.” This will stop mail from all member organizations that you have not specifically ordered products from. It takes some investment time to clear the junk from your mailbox. The amount of junk mail sent is staggering – some 4 million tons, nearly half of which is never opened. Even reducing some of it helps our environment. Would love some input on how others stop junk mail.
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Just Trash It

Every now and then you have an organizing or clean up job that has a lot of clutter that needs to be hauled off. Old storage areas, barns, basements filled with many years of “stuff” come to mind. Sometimes it is material that has been left in an area that has become damp or too dry and the items are no longer useful.
This is where my friends at Just Trash It come into play. I have used this company more than once and the gentleman who come out to do the job are respectful, professional, fast, efficient, and strong. It is absolutely amazing to me the amount of material they can get into that truck and in such a short amount of time. I also like the fact that they can schedule fairly quickly.
It is also nice to know that when possible they will recycle material so that not all of it is going into the landfill. They will also drop off items to Goodwill or other charities.
If you find yourself in a position that their services might be helpful, call 770-399-5116.
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer