Donation Spotlight for April!
I recently came across a great nonprofit organization called Bike Kitchen. Their website states:
"The Bike Kitchen teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to repair bicycles. The Bike Kitchen promotes personal development and provides leadership opportunities. Operating as a cooperative shop, we provide affordable ways to acquire and maintain a bike, encourage re-use and recycling, and work with community groups to get more people on bicycles."
How great! If you have some bikes or bike parts that you no longer need, consider donating them to this great organization!
650H Florida Street, San Francisco, CA
If you love discovering strange places, let me introduce you to Building Resources.
Building Resources is San Francisco's only salvage yard and a great source for reusable building and landscaping materials. With rows of old doors, windows, furniture, tumbled glass and tile, you can find things both strange and wonderful! I recently picked up a stained glass window I couldn't live without. Building Resources is also a great place to donate old house parts or garden art, furniture that has seen better days or scrap metal and wood. Stop by and get inspired!
701 Amador Street, San Francisco, CA
Sometimes we just need to be reminded of the basics! If you have an organizing project and don't know where to start, look no further than this quick guide! It's all about the basics.
1) SET ASIDE TIME: Block of 3 hours to start your project. Make this a time with no interruptions. No kids or phones!
2) START SMALL: Pick a room and choose a small area, such as your desktop or one drawer to start.
3) ASK QUESTIONS: For every object, as yourself, do you want it, love it, or need it? If the answer is "no" let it go!
4) CAN IT BE DONATED? Donate items that still have use! Check out my favorite donation organizations here.
5) HOW ABOUT RECYCLED? Can't donate it? Use the RecycleWhere tool to find recycling and responsible disposal options.
6) KEEP GOING: Stay focused on your chosen area and your work will pay off! If you need some extra help, feel free to book a session!
Top left photo: Pearl the Falcon. Bottom left photo of Recycling Center: Photograph © Sven Eberlein.
Right photo: Erin in hard hat and vest on tour.
Every Wednesday night I haul three bins into the sidewalk. One Black, one blue and one green. Of course, I had a general understanding of where my trash went, but now my understanding goes great deal further.
Recently I toured Recology's San Francisco Transfer Station and Recycling Center. On the tour, we learned about San Francisco's goal of zero waste - the most ambitious in the country - and how we can help achieve that goal by properly recycling and composting. We toured the Environmental Education Center, the Artist in Residence studios, sculpture gardens, and the dump transfer station. We also met a falcon named Pearl who is used to deter (but not harm) the many seagulls that flock to the station. She was absolutely beautiful!!
We then drove to the Pier 96 Recycling Center. This center really blew my mind! It's like walking into an octopus of conveyer belts! It's a 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art recycling center. Things are moving all around you. People and machines are hard at work sorting our recycling, and it's LOUD! It's actually kind of hard to comprehend everything that is happening as you walk through the center. It's amazing, enlightening and sobering.
The sheer amount of stuff we throw away and recycle is staggering. Of course, recycling is better than landfill, but that plastic will still be around in thousands of years, even if it's recycled. This trip really made me want to double down on my efforts to use less plastic and create less waste in general. Here is a great post by Sven Eberlein about the new center. It really gives you an idea of the size and feel of this massive place!
If you live in San Francisco, I highly encourage you to take one of these tours! They are free, happen twice a month and anyone can attend! Found out more here.
In my last blog post I wrote about greening your home by reviewing your cleaning supplies and personal care products. Here are a few additional ways to green your home and life that you may not have considered.
Support Local Green Business
The San Francisco Green Business Program makes it easy to find local certified business that meet high environmental standards. The guide has everything from architects & caterers to dry cleaners & grocery stores. PICK IT UP has been a proud SF Green Business since 2015! California also has a statewide Green Business Program if you are not in the bay area.
We all love our devices! But with the latest device, comes the inevitable e-waste. Green Citizen, a local non-profit dedicated to reducing e-waste, states "Although electronic waste only accounts for 2% of America’s trash, it’s responsible for over 70% of the nation’s hazardous waste." Green Citizen helps by taking ALL e-waste (anything that plugs in) and either responsibly recycling it or reselling usable items. They offer hard drive destruction to secure your information and even partner with local SF public schools to bridge the digital divide!
Green Citizen 1831 Bayshore Highway, Suite 2, Burlingame, CA 94010 (650) 493-8700
Safe Medication Disposal
It is important to safely dispose of old or unused medications. Flushing is not recommended, as these medicines can contaminate our waterways. If you are located in San Francisco, all police stations have medication collection bins with no police report needed. There are also many additional drop-off sites around the city. Check out this list of participating pharmacies on the SF Environment website
Each new green habit you adopt helps make our world a little bit cleaner. Of course I am always here to help with your home-greening efforts!
We all want our homes to feel safe, happy and health, right? For me, that includes making my home as eco-friendly as possible. Most of us recycle and have switched our light bulbs, but read on for some additional ways to green your home!
EWG's Skin Deep Guide & Healthy Cleaning Guide
Many of us use cleaning products in our homes and beauty products on our bodies without really know whats in them. Wouldn't you like to make informed choices?
The Environmental Working Group's website arms consumers with all sorts of information for making healthy purchases for yourself and your family. Look up your personal care products in the Skin Deep guide to see what score they get. Use the Guide to Healthy Cleaning to find products that clean without harming your health. Remember that some of the best cleaners are vinegar, baking soda and hot water!
Dispose of Toxics Properly
Once you have made the decision to get rid of all the nasty chemicals in your home, you need to dispose of them safely. Items such as chemicals, electronics, batteries, fluorescent bulbs and pesticides should never go in your trash bins or down the drain. If you live in San Francisco, you can schedule a free home pickup from Recology by calling (415) 330-1405. You can also drop items off at at the Recology Transfer Station (the dump) Thursday – Saturday: 8:00AM – 4:00PM. You can find out more information here. If you are outside of SF, call your local waste management company for information about safe toxic disposal.
All of these small decisions add up to a safer home and cleaner environment for all of us. Of course I am always here to help with your home-greening needs! Stay tuned for additional ways to green your home.
Being an organizer, means you haul a lot of stuff around. For the months of September and October, members of NAPO are challenged to post photos of each of their donation loads for the #NAPOCaresChallenge. The photos below document all of the donations I hauled and donated in September as well as the recipient organizations!
In case you were wondering, NAPO (The National Association of Professional Organizers) is an association of over 4,000 organizing and productivity specialists who are dedicated to helping people and organizations bring order and efficiency to their lives.
I have been a NAPO member since 2006. As well as being a national member, I am also an active member in our local Bay Area Chapter NAPO-SFBA. Being involved in this wonderful organization helps me to continually educate myself on best practices in the organizing industry. It also means I have a wealth of resources, in the knowledge of my fellow members, at my fingertips!
Do you have a few things around the house that you no longer want or need, but haven't gotten around to giving away? We all do. Maybe it's time to check out Yerdle.
Yerdle is a new website that's basically an online swap meet. The big difference with Yerdle is instead of using cash to buy and sell items, you use Yerdle Dollars. After getting an account, you post a photo of the items you no longer need. You then send it off to the purchaser with a prepaid envelope provided by Yerdle. By doing this, you earn Yerdle Dollars which you can then use to purchase other items on Yerdle. Their mission is to reduce the number of new things we purchase by giving and receiving items instead. So far over 600,000 items have been given on Yertle!
I love this quote from their About page "Our relationship with stuff is broken. We all feel overwhelmed by our clutter, even as we race along the treadmill of buying more stuff."
I couldn't agree more!
I have not used Yerdle personally, but it sounds pretty awesome! You can use the following link to get $35 in free Yerdle Dollers! If you do, I would love to hear about your experience.
When helping a client get organized, we often come across things they no longer need, but they just don't know what to do with. When it is something of a crafty or unusual nature, I automatically think of donating it to SCRAP.
SCRAP is one of my all-time favorite San Francisco donation sites. For almost 40 years they have been helping teachers, artists and other crafty folks get supplies at affordable prices. Walking into their Bayview warehouse is like walking into someones very well supplied and organized garage. There are rows of fabric, buttons, frames, paper and decorations and everything is lovingly sorted. There are also dolls, artwork and other unusual treasures awaiting you.
So the next time you clean out your craft closet, fabric stash or holiday decorations, take them to SCRAP and have a ball wandering through their wonderland. It's worth a trip!
801 Toland St. (entrance on Newcomb)
San Francisco, CA, 94124
Much of what I do as an organizer is help people to part with the things that they no longer love, need or want. Many people view these things as trash, but not me. Keeping things out of the landfill and moving them on to their new home, is one of the foundations of my business.
This core principle is also applied... to my kitchen! Composting is nature's original form of recycling. San Francisco has had curbside composting for over 15 years and at some point it becomes second nature.
A few years ago I decided to take my home composting up a notch and purchased a Worm Factory 360. The Worm Factory is a compact, super-easy vermicomposting bin. Yes worms! It still thrills me that I can toss a bunch of wilted greens, veggie scraps, egg crates and coffee grounds in and a few months those little guys have turned it all into rich organic fertilizer for my plants. Trash into treasure!
Think how much we could keep out of the landfill if every city had curbside composting? If you want to learn more check out the Global Compost Project web site.
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a
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