Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One of my wishes came true! I'm an Ideal Bite!

A couple of years ago I came across this wonderful daily e-mail called Ideal Bite which gives people eco tips. It's fantastic. Recently, they started a local version and they featured me on their Los Angeles Bite!! Check it out here. I'm so excited! I don't know why they used that picture though. Which brings me to my next blog. I'll be posting some of my before and after pics on here since I can't get that specific link to work on my eco-organizer website. Hey, I'm an organizer, not an html author! Hahah. Stay tuned, and stay tidy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Press for The Eco-Organizer

Until I can update my website, I wanted to post some recent press mentions I've gotten. I was interviewed for Whole Life Times, a San Francisco publication and I was also mentioned in the blog for Re-nest. See them here:


Whole Life Times

Although they refer to me as the author of a blog instead of being an organizer, I'm cool with that. :)

I'll also be featured in the Ideal Bite daily tip for Los Angeles. Sign up for their daily green tip here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reuse Paper Grocery Bags

A lot of people reuse paper grocery bags by putting their recyclables in them, then taking them out to the bins. That's good, but they can be used many more times than that. Instead of using them as a recycling bin, try using them as a grocery bag. Just bring the paper bags from your last grocery trip back to the store with you. Stuff them all into one paper bag for easy carrying. Most grocery stores give incentives, such as entering a prize drawing (Trader Joe's), 5 cents off for each bag, or bonus rewards points (Ralph's) if you bring your own bag. My paper bags lasted a good 6 months before I finally collected enough canvas bags!

Once a bag becomes a little worn or starts to tear, then use it as a recycling bin. Easy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Keep It Simple

Sometimes I see people drowning in their own paperwork and to-do lists wondering,"How will I ever get it all done?!" The answer: you won't.

Please do yourself a favor and just let some things go. It'll be okay, I promise. Don't worry, if you don't organize every receipt by date, then by category, then by tax purposes. Sometimes, a big shoebox is okay and the sky will not fall. Just keep track of the right stuff. You don't NEED to know exactly how much you spend on purple shoes from neiman marcus every month. If the end result is to satiate your curiosity and you're spending 15 manic hours a month getting there, let it go! Just don't do it.

It's okay for a few things here and there to be a little less than perfect. Don't over-categorize. It's easier to go through 20 pieces of paper in one file than search through 10 files with 2 pieces of paper each. It also saves labels and folders.

If you just haven't gotten around to scrapbooking all those important family milestones, sort the photos into boxes by year or by family member. If you never end up getting around to the book, at least you'll have the box to look through about Jimmy's 1st little league game. It will be just as heartwarming. Trust me.

Don't worry. It'll be okay. Just let it go.... there you go. Now wasn't that easy? :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saving water is incredibly easy. Just do it.

As an avid container gardener, I use a lot of water on my many plants. 32 plants to be exact. I would use about 10 gallons every couple of days. I finally got around to putting a bucket in my shower to catch the "warm up" water. When it's full I water my plants with it. I now don't have to turn a faucet on to water my plants.

Bonus green points: the bucket is actually a refillable cat litter package that we don't use for cat litter anymore, reused.

Even if you don't have plants, you can use it to flush the toilet (just pour it in the bowl and it'll flush). There's simply NO reason not to do this. It couldn't be easier. Just do it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dirty Tricksters: Key Words To Avoid

Like any other greenie, I'm an avid label reader. But sometimes, the labels lie. It's easy to forget that most companies are concerned more about their profit than about your health or the environment. Some companies appear to care but are merely just cashing in on the current "green" marketing trend. Here are some keywords to avoid and why.

1. Natural
It may seem obvious that "Natural" is good, but there are no regulations whatsoever on the use of this word. One example that I found laughable at the grocer the other day is "Natural Cheetos®." Processed food is bad for you. There's no two ways about it. I don't care if they call it HEALTHY, it's just not. When food is processed, it is stripped of most or all of it's nutritional value. If you look at the label on these Cheetos® you'll notice the only organic ingredient is the corn. That's a great start, but it's heavily processed. It also contains many dairy products that aren't organic, natural flavors, maltodextrin (a vitamin/nutrient free filler) and lots of sodium.

If you must do chips, opt for plain Ruffles (potatos, salt, & oil) or plain Fritos (corn, salt, & oil).

Another rule of thumb about label reading, if you're really hoping to eat healthy, is: if you don't know what it is, don't eat it. Do you really think it's smart to be putting all kinds of mystery chemicals into your body on a daily basis?

2. Fat-Free
Fat-free foods that are labeled as such, usually include artificial sweeteners. There is limited research on the safety of such sweeteners, therefore they should be avoided. Truly fat free foods are fruits and vegetables. Some salt/fat alternatives can even give you a bad case of the runs. Who wants that?

3. Low-Carb
If you don't know this already, the no-carb diet is a joke. The human body needs carbohydrates to function properly. Good sources of carbs are fruits, and whole grains. White/refined grains are empty calories

4. Disposable

I don't care if it's non-toxic, recycled, unbleached, cruelty-free or 100% vegan, a disposable product is one of the worst things to buy in our current environmental situation. I don't care what the president of Swiffer says, their product is terrible for the environment because it's disposable sheets collect in landfills and slowly leach chemicals into our soil and water.
One of the best things you can do for the environment is use one thing over and over and over. This saves resources, saves energy, saves landfill space, and pollutes less. In my opinion, the biggest disposable evil is plastic bags. They are only used for 20 minutes or so and then stick around for over a thousand years. Just buy some reusable sacks and safe tons of petroleum, CO2, and landfill space. Go to ecobags.com or buy them from your local grocer.

5. Cage-Free or Free-Range
These claims are not regulated by anyone. Most of the time these animals are still kept indoors in cramped conditions, fed hormones, and given antibiotics.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Green Grocery Shopping

When you think about it, we support a pretty huge amount of environmental destruction when we shop at our local grocery store. We burn fuel getting there, we buy things wrapped in plastic shipped from all over the world, we create a steady stream of trash after we have consumed the items we bought– hey we may even bring home some toxic chemicals to spray around our homes! So there are plenty of ways in which we can all learn to reduce the environmental impact of our grocery shopping, and make ourselves healthier in the process. Here are 10 ways to get started.

1. When possible, go to your local farmer’s market rather than the big chain store. The farmer’s market offers primarily local produce, which means you won’t be buying blueberries shipped from Chile. And you can almost always find organic items, which means you are supporting chemical-free agriculture– that’s better for the Earth and for your health. Find a farmer’s market near you using the excellent site Local Harvest.org.

2. Buy as few things in plastic as possible– opt for metal or glass containers whenever you can. Plastic is made from a non-renewable resource (petroleum) and is often not fully recyclable (depending on where you live). Metal and glass, however, can be fully recycled almost everywhere.

3. Buy in bulk. Can you buy a big box of raisins rather than a lot of little boxes? Can you buy multiple servings of chicken and freeze some rather than buying lots of single servings? Remember that lots of little packages typically means lots of paper and plastic.

4. No surprise, bring your own shopping bags. To the question “Paper or plastic?” say “Neither.” Find reusable bags here.

5. Don’t use the plastic baggies for produce either– you can get great reusable mesh sacks for your greens. See them here.

6. When possible, buy organic and locally-sourced items. If you can’t get everything you need at a farmer’s market (most of us can’t), then try to do some reading at the grocery store. Can you buy food from your state rather than from across the globe? That means less fuel has been used to get it to you and less carbon has gone into the atmosphere. If your store doesn’t carry these items, tell them you want them to!

7. Buy less meat. Raising livestock is an incredibly resource-intensive process, and it also accounts for a very large part of our carbon emissions problem. To learn more about this issue review this United Nations report. Embracing a more veggie-focused diet is better for the environment and better for you health.

8. Cut down on disposables. Can you use a dish cloth rather than paper towels? What about cloth napkins? Do you really need to get paper plates for that BBQ? How about using a damp mop rather than a Swiffer?

9. Don’t buy toxic air fresheners and home cleaners. Do your family a favor and don’t poison them with chemicals. 100: the number of times higher that indoor air pollution levels can be above outdoor air pollution levels, according to US EPA estimates. Find greener cleaners here.

10. Finally, any chance you could walk or take your bike to the store? If so, you get a big green star! And an excuse to eat an extra cookie.

Do you have other ideas? Please share them in the comments section.

Courtesy of Low Impact Living, By Jessica Jensen