Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

10 Tips to Live Clutter Free

October 22nd, 2013
clutter-free

A healthy home makes a healthy mind…

Many of us live in homes that are full of clutter. We have little bits and pieces everywhere we go. Knick knacks and gifts, forgotten tools, broken parts, paper and mail and tons of other little things add up to a big mess. Not only is clutter bad for the look of your home it is also bad for your health. Living in clutter raises your stress levels and your blood pressure. Searching for lost items in clutter means wasted time. Clutter also provides a way for dirt and grime to build up, causing unhealthy living conditions. Not to mention that clutter can hide damage, like from mold, or provide a great hiding place for pests like roaches and mice. All in all, clutter is more dangerous than you would think. But how do you start ridding your home of clutter? Here are some helpful tips to live clutter free:

 

  1. Clutter Stops at The Door – To get started you need to make a rule. No new clutter. That means that every new thing you want to bring into your home must have a place to go and a valid reason for being there. I started small. The mail did not come in the door. Junk mail went in the big outdoor trash can. Coupons got cut outside and placed into their slot. Bills were paid immediately or stored in the ‘to be paid’ section of my inbox. Just this little step helped a lot. By limiting what you bring in you can stop adding to the mess and make it possible for even your small efforts to make an impact. It is like digging in sand; if you don’t stop the hole from refilling you are just wasting your energy.
  2. The Technology Intervention – Paper free is the way to be. Technology gives us ample opportunities to save paper ad even photos without having to actually have something physical on hand. Scan your bills, important document and even photos into your computer. Then trash the rest! If you are worried about losing it online, try cloud storage or a backup hard drive. A million papers can be stored in a tiny file online. Take it from me, getting rid of the paper really helps!
  3. Fix It or Forget It – Throwing away broken things seems to be a big stigma to some people. However I have a theory. If it has been broken for more than two weeks you should just throw it away. Why? Because it is obviously not that important to you. For big fixes like broken televisions or kitchen appliances you probably already got a replacement. Why are you hanging on to the old broken stuff? Unless you are a professional it probably isn’t even safe to try to fix it yourself. Instead take it to the scrap yard and get a few bucks or toss it. Even broken antiques are often a waste of time and space. No one will want to buy or inherit a chair they can’t sit on!
  4. Good For You – Keep in mind that not everything that is clutter is broken. Some things are perfectly good, and that is what stops us from getting rid of them. But think about it. Are you keeping things that are good or good for you? If you do not love it or use it then it does not matter how good it is. Get rid of it! Give it to someone who will appreciate it, donate it to a cause, or just toss it. It might seem bad, but in reality you are helping your health and mind so it is actually a smart move.
  5. Old is Not Gold – The big debate continues: is it junk or is it an antique? Just because something is old does not mean it is valuable. Don’t cling to old things because you think they will be worth something someday. Do some research and find out what the real value is, keeping in mind the current condition of the object. If it is worth a lot then sell it now. A bird in the hand… If not then get rid of it. Don’t cling to things you only think are valuable.
  6. The Collection Crazies – Why do people have the desire to hold onto everything. From baby shoes to toy cars to ceramic angels, people hold on to collections of things in order to feel connected to them. However how can you enjoy a collection if it gets so out of hand that it becomes clutter. If you can simply display your collection in a nice way then great. However if you have a room piled to the ceiling with your collection then you are in trouble. Think about what really matters to you. Stuff or relationships? Take a picture and sell your collection. Keep an item or two that are very special to you and get rid of the rest. Don’t collect just for the sake of collecting or trying to have it all. There will always be something more. Instead try to remember the love that caused you to start collecting and let go of the burden you have taken on.
  7. One Mountain at a Time – Little by little a mountain can be moved. That is how you have to take on clutter. You may get fed up with it all one day and swear to clean out the whole house. Don’t try to do that. You will just exhaust and frustrate yourself. Instead take it one day and one spot at a time. You can try to do one room a day or one room a month, it is up to you. Some of us have more to get out from under than others. For me it took four days of steady work to clean out one walk in closet. Don’t get frustrated and give up. Instead take it one small spot at a time and enjoy the small strides you make. If you keep it up you will eventually master it!
  8. Clothes Horse – Speaking of closets, some of us have clothes to blame for a lot of the clutter. No matter who you are or what you do you do not need more than one closet and one dresser. Most of us need far less than that. Take a look at your clothes. Are you saving clothes you don’t fit in any longer? Why? If you do get back to that weight you will want new clothes by then. Styles change so fast that only a few things can survive over the years. If you have clothes you have not worn in a year then get rid of it, barring fancy dress of course. Do not buy clothes that are on sale or in fashion just because. If you don’t feel comfortable in it at the store then you won’t wear it. Clothes that wrinkle easy, show sweat quickly, stretch out fast or bind up should be tossed. You have better things to do with your time than fool around with ill-fitting clothes. If you have been meaning to sew, hem, or repair the item for more than a month toss it. You will never get to it. Think about it: you probably wear the same few outfits every week. Why make it harder on yourself?
  9. Sometimes More is Just More – A lot of us think more is always better, but sometimes it is just more. Think about what is really important to you. Do you want to spend your time maintain, cleaning or picking up stuff, or do you want to spend time with your friends and family? The less stuff you have the happier you will be. It seems counterintuitive, but it is often true. Stuff holds you back, weighs you down, and sucks up your resources. Take the time to reduce your stuff and you will feel relieved in more ways than one.
  10. A Spot for Everything –Last but not least, make a pact with yourself to have a spot for everything in your home. If there is not room then maybe you need to toss something. I have made a deal with my family and myself. Every item in means another item must go out. A new shirt means an old shirt has to go. A new toy requires and old toy (of equal size) to hit the road. This helps me to not only have room to store items but to also keep clutter from taking over once again. It can be hard to stick to, but it is much easier to do it this way then to dig yourself out again in a couple of years.

As you can see, living clutter free takes a conscious effort but it is doable. These tips can help you to get rid of clutter and live a healthier lifestyle. When you do clean out the clutter you can call Fast Haul to come pick it up for you and save you a trip. Fast Haul’s junk hauling and trash removal services is always reliable in providing environmentally-friendly recycling and disposal for the Bay Area. Happy cleaning!

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com

How You Can Start Working In Your Garden

October 21st, 2013

Here at Fast Haul, we do a lot of backyard clear outs for folks who have gardens that have simply become overgrown. Once you’ve reconquered your personal outdoor space, there are lots of things you can do with it, including turning it into a home office. Find out more in this week’s guest post:

You probably think of your garden as somewhere you go mostly to relax, and you are probably focused mainly on making it beautiful as a result – perhaps with some space for the kids to kick a ball around.

But actually gardens don’t just have to be used on the odd occasion that you get time to yourself – you can actually perform many of your regular tasks and activities in the garden, and doing so will actually help you to feel more relaxed more of the time and to boost your health too.

And the holy grail of this must surely be taking your laptop outside and doing your job out there. If you ever bring home work with you, or if you are self-employed, then you will probably spend a lot of your time in a home office working away and might find yourself getting a little stir-crazy from time-to-time as a result. Imagine then being able to take your laptop outside, to kick back with your feet up and soak up some sun with a glass of juice next to you and to enjoy typing away to the sound of birds while everyone else sits in a cramped office.

Well that’s the dream, but actually it’s perfectly possible if you know how to make the most of your tech and your garden space. Read on and we’ll look at how you can work outside and be just as productive as you would inside – only hugely more relaxed and at ease.

Obstacles and Requirements

Before you can think about working outside, there are some minimum requirements that you need to consider. The first of these is of course power: while you might be able to charge your laptop most will only get you four or five hours before you need to plug in so it’s easier just to have a socket outside. The next is WiFi – mostly your broadband should reach your garden, but if it doesn’t then you should look at moving the box or investing in a booster.

Still with these things in place though there are a few issues to consider: dust and dirt getting on your laptop is one issue, as is having a comfortable position to lean, as is combating glare from the sun and not being a slave to the weather.

Office Pods

One way around these is to use something that’s becoming increasingly more popular at the moment: the office pod. This is essentially a small self-contained unit that you can place at the end of your garden. Normally this will utilise a minimalist design and a lot of glass so that you can enjoy the convenience of an office while at the same time feel as though you’re outside and away from the clutter and stress of your actual office.

Of course though not everyone can afford to build an ‘office pod’ in their garden unfortunately, so you might have to look into other options…

Approximations

So how do you build an office pod without building an office pod? Well one answer is to use a pop-up shelter which is much cheaper and more versatile but can still give you protection from outside while letting you keep the doors open either end.

Of course whether you are under shelter or not, you will also want a table to lean on and a chair so that you are at a comfortable height. Additionally you should invest in some kind of light for working when it’s dark, and perhaps a heater to warm you up.

If you don’t use a shelter then you might still have an issue with glare, in which case you may be able to use a glare protector (or just buy a device with a great anti-glare screen built in). In the future though you will be able to use an e-ink display for most of your tasks. E-ink tablets and smartphones running Android are already being developed, and once hooked up to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse they should let you do most of the work you would normally do on a computer.

Finally, add a few finishing touches such as a water feature or a fish tank and you can make this a truly serene and relaxing place to get your work done.

Today’s guest author, Robert Jenkins, is a part of the team at Rhino Shelter, a company dealing in temporary shelters. He is a complete movie buff and he enjoys watching the latest releases with his family when he gets free from work.

SF State Effort To Help San Francisco Achieve Zero Waste

October 14th, 2013

9670199476_8074a4d7d0_hTo help further advance San Francisco’s zero waste goal, San Francisco State University started the Office of Sustainability that will work to reduce SF State’s landfill waste by educating as well as advocating change about waste reduction and being sustainable to the administrative staff and student body.

So far, the Office of Sustainability has already urged the University to purchase products that are recyclable or compostable, to look for ways to reduce energy consumption and integrate sustainability into all aspects of the University such as adding more compost recycling and waste bins in residence halls to comply with San Francisco mandatory recycling and composting ordinance. The new department plan to tackle other environmental issues as well as such as economic development, natural vs. man-made environment, energy-efficiency, the food systems and water conservation.

Nick Kordesch, program coordinator of the Office of Sustainability, believes through events and education, SF State can have a huge positive impact on the environment. Some events they have hosted includes Park(ing) Day, which allows artist and activist to transform the student parking lot into a recreational park for a day in order to help curb carbon emission and the . Another educational event that will take place on Oct. 23, is the Campus Sustainability Day, which will give homage to some of the successful green movements as well as provide educational opportunities to students about future challenges they may face concerning today’s global climate change.

Source: http://www.goldengatexpress.org/2013/09/17/office-of-sustainability/

By: Ethan Malone

Mill Valley Women Start Trash Removal Program

October 3rd, 2013

nmij0907highwaysTwo Mill Valley residents, Jill Whitebook and Vicky Dehnert, took on the initiative to run a trash removal program after seeing for years litter piling up along Strawberry frontage road right by Highway 101 and wanted to put a stop to it. The non-profit Marin Clean Highway was founded in 2011 and is managed by volunteers who actively raises money needed to pay junk hauling and trash removal contractors to clean up the roads on both side of Highway 101 from Seminary Drive to the Tiburon Boulevard/East Blithedale exit.

Marin County has no budget for litter removal but Whitebook and Dehnert continued to beleaguer their county supervisor in granting them $5,000 to embark in their trash removal campaign. With the grant, they were able to hire hauling and trash removal contractors to clean up the road three times at a cost of $250 each. Whitebook and Dehnert are now trying to raise $20,000 to continue the cleanup maintenance for the next two years.

With the growing accomplishment they have made thus far, Whitebook and Dehnert hope to find a long-term sustainable solution for the road cleanup, more volunteers to perform fundraising and administrative tasks and more contributions.

Like Jill Whitebook and Vicky Dehnert, David Singer started his own junk removal and trash cleanup company due to the high demand for a cleaner environment in his city of Oakland. Through hard work and persistence, Fast Haul has expanded to serve various cities including Mill Valley and all of the Marin County.

Source: http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_24092674/mill-valley-women-start-litter-removal-program-seek

By: Ethan Malone

Clean Home, Clean Environment

September 19th, 2013

clean home, clean environment

As the weather cools down and summer comes to an end, I become increasingly excited for autumn, and all that the second half of the year has to offer, or what I like to call The 3 Fs of Fall, namely: family, football, and food. However, while autumn is a time for fun and festivities (two more Fs) our responsibility to the environment is no less in force. As you prepare for the fall season, here are a few housekeeping tips that will also help you stay eco-friendly.

Get Rid of Junk

As the weather cools down and the majority of your activities take place indoors, you may notice that you’ve accumulated some extra possessions that you have no need for. If you plan on having a lot of people over during this season, your home is also likely to house much more waste. Combine that with the upcoming Christmas season and you’ll find you have more stuff than you know what to do with.

The obvious solution is to just get rid of the junk, but be careful about how you dispose of certain materials. Old batteries, electronics, plastics, or anything containing powerful chemicals like petroleum cannot just be tossed in the garbage can and sent on their merry way to a landfill. Make sure you’re only throwing things in the garbage that can be easily broken down. Otherwise, consult an eco-hauling company to determine the best way to safely dispose of your junk.

Clean with Green

More people also means more mess. You can waste hundreds of dollars on cleaning products trying to keep up with it all, but many of these products can have a negative effect on the environment if released into the air or water. You can just as easily keep your house tidy and clean with baking soda and vinegar.

Distilled vinegar is a key ingredient in many common window cleaning solutions because it’s able to break up grease and dirt without damaging the surface. Simply dilute 1/4 cup of vinegar into a gallon of water for windows and other hard surfaces. If you’re not keen on that iconic vinegary smell pervading your home, add fresh lemon juice to your mixture.

Additionally, you can also use baking soda to tackle a number of different cleaning needs. Make a paste with baking soda and water when you need to scrub out tough mildew stains. If your dishes and pots have a lot of stuck-on food from last night’s football party, let them sit in boiling hot water and baking soda for 5-10 minutes, then rinse. When it comes to smelly or clogged drains, combining baking soda with vinegar in the drain can help clear the blockage and give your drain a fresh scent.

Mind the Air

As the weather cools down, you’ll probably be looking for ways to keep warm. Before you decide to switch on your heater or fireplace, take some time to inspect your vents and filters. Chances are, if you haven’t used your heating system in a while, that your vents have accumulated a fair amount of dust and debris that can prove hazardous during cold and flu season. The same goes for your fireplace.

Also, this buildup can be costly financially. Think of your ducts as arteries in the body. When they are clean and unobstructed, the whole system runs efficiently. However, if there is a blockage of some sort, the heart (your furnace or fuel) now needs to work overtime to produce the same amount of heat. Using more energy results in more dollars lost. In colder climates, this is even more important (Vancouver heating bills are through the roof enough as it is).

Author Details:

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He also has a passion for the environment.

 
 
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