CD and DVD Recycling

So many of us have masterful collections of music and movies in CD and DVD form. And so many of us NEVER use them. With itunes, Netflix, and a million cable TV channels, these discs are just becoming a thing of the past. If you are looking to clear out your collection, I have some helpful tips.

-If you want to keep the actual music from your CDs, upload them to an itunes account or download them to your computer. If you download them on your computer, make sure you back them up on an external hard drive or other device.

-You can donate CDs or DVDs you no longer use. There are numerous organizations that accept them, including hospitals, libraries, VA organizations, etc. Many non profit organizations also accept them to create care packages or sell in their fund raising efforts. Here are several I found:

Operation Gratitude – This organization creates care packages for the military, including those stationed overseas, the Wounded Warrior Project, and veterans groups. Click here for a list of the items they accept.

KidFlicks – This website collects children’s DVDs for donation to hospitals. Their goal is to create a DVD library at every hospital in the US. Click here for the address to mail DVDs to.

GotBooks.com - This organization is based out of MA and accepts books, CDs and DVDs.

-You can also recycle CDs and DVDs. Did you know that you shouldn’t throw away your discs or cases? Why not, you ask? There is the obvious answer that they take up room in landfills. However, CDs have materials used to make them that won’t decompose. That means they will stay in landfills indefinitely.  CD cases are made of #7 plastic and many recycling facilities don’t accept #6 and #7 plastics. These must be properly processed so that they can be recycled. There are several organizations that do this as well. Here are a couple:

CD Recycling Center of America – You simply separate your jewel cases, CDs and inserts and mail them to their donation center. Their website is full of information on their process and why they recycle.

ACT (Alternative Community Training) – This Missouri based organization that supports career and community integration programs for individuals with disabilities. They accept donations of CDs and DVDs which they recycle to assist them with their fundraising efforts.

I have a lot of CDs, and I will be recycling what I can’t donate. In an effort to downsize years ago, I got rid of all of my CD cases and many places won’t accept donations without the original cases. At least there are ways to recycle them though!

CD

Happy Recycling!

~Erin

A Time of Reflection – Organizing my Priorities

Well friends, I have taken quite the hiatus. It has been almost 2 months since I have written a post. I was overwhelmed with life and needed a break. Often times, we have too much on our plate and, instead of reducing our commitments, we suffer through them. I decided it was time to stop and really reflect on what I need for myself, my family and business. I have been busy with the holidays, recovering from the holidays, guests, traveling, and the all encompassing feat of potty training a 2 year old. It’s exhausting! But I’m ready to jump back in to everything I’ve put on hold!

Up and coming in 2014:

The Mindful Nest is going to be front and center this year. My focus on organizing is going to center on our mental well being, how we got to a disorganized state in the first place, and how we can using positive thinking to make changes in our lives.

Atlanta (119)

Crafty Organizing – I am not a crafting guru, but I love to personalize my organizing solutions (like my DIY Jewelry Board and Decoupage Letter Baskets). I’m going to put an emphasis on Cheap and Crafty this year!

The Green Nest is also going to be a huge focus this year. This will include posts on green cleaning, ways to donate and recycle all sorts of items, and making use of things you already have in your home.

Time Management – This is vital to creating a well balanced and organized life. Properly managing our time allows us to pursue creative outlets in our lives.

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I am looking forward to new organizing adventures and sharing my successes (and failures) with you!

~Erin

It’s Neaten Your Nest’s One Year Anniversary

Exactly one year ago, I wrote my very first post for the Neaten Your Nest blog. I had no idea where the blog would take me or any of the career opportunities I had dreamed up in my head. As I sit here today, I still have no idea where Neaten Your Nest will take my life, but I do know that I’m loving the experience, the challenges, the learning and the adventure I’m getting out of blogging and setting up a business.

Here are few things I have truly loved about this process:

1) I have gotten to ‘meet’ so many amazing people through the blogging world. Though the amount of information is overwhelming, the bloggers I’ve been able to connect with have inspired me in ways too many to count! I have learned about patience, motivation, creativity, creating the life you want, connecting with your family, amazing recipes and inspiring stories. Check out my blogroll page for just a very few of my favorites!

2) I have learned sooooo much about organizing. The wealth of information available has helped me think outside the box when it comes to organizing. I have found great products, clever tips, and beautiful inspiration.

3) I am absolutely enthralled with Pinterest! It has been a great resource for blog ideas, inspiration for my life and it helps me keep some of my many thoughts and projects organized. You can find me on Pinterest here.

4) The blog has kept me motivated to pursue a dream and, in some ways, it also holds me accountable for following through. Just having an audience helps spur me to action every day.

Here are some things that have been not so glorious in the journey:

1) Writer’s block….There are days when I will just stare at my computer, the words ‘New Post’ taunting me as I try to formulate even one sentence that pertains to my topic.

2) Comparison to others. Since there are so many great blogs and websites out there, I am constantly questioning if what I am doing is good enough, do my posts make sense to the reader, have I interjected just enough humor to make people smile a little, do my pictures look ok (this is my biggest struggle!)? It is a hard lesson to learn that comparisons only defeat you and your purpose.

3) Technology!!! I have gotten a fleeting grasp on a few aspects, but I still have a long way to go. HTML code what? I would love to feel like I have mastered a technological skill set, whether it’s web design, Pinterest, photo manipulation, or anything really. But with the constant upgrades and additions to everything technology related, it’s hard to keep up!

The good thing about the bad things is that I am not alone. The more I talk to people, the more I realize that everyone struggles in some areas, no one is perfect and we can all be amazing in our own ways.

Here are a few of my favorite and most popular posts from the last year:

So what does the future hold for Neaten Your Nest???

~Better photographs to showcase organizational processes, products and more.

~An increased focus on ‘green’ topics. Look for new info under the Green Nest page!

~A focus on organizing the business side of NYN. Look for posts on the business of blogging, files, marketing, etc.

~Features from other bloggers who have expertise in areas where I am lacking!

~Additional Pages and Features here on the site, such as the upcoming ‘Mindful Nest’ series, where we talk about the mental, emotional and other health related benefits to being organized. I will also be working on the ‘Nest Egg’ series, where I talk about financial organization.

If you have been a reader of Neaten Your Nest over the past year, thank you so much for all you do. Your readership makes this whole process worthwhile. If I can help someone or inspire a bit of organizational creativity in this hectic life, then I am doing my job. If you are new to Neaten Your Nest, Welcome! I look forward to sharing many more ideas and stories with you for years to come. Thanks!

~Erin

Spring Greening – (Almost) Green Shower Spray!

Hi everyone! A couple days ago it was Earth Day and I thought, “what a perfect day to give my first green product review.” However, April 22nd came and went and I didn’t get around to this post. Oh well…every day is Earth Day, right? :)

So, I’m talking about my homemade products that I started making with my friend Jen. You can read more about that here. I didn’t want to give any reviews/ recipes until I had actually tried the things we made. So here is the first one!

(Almost) Green Daily Shower Spray

Green Shower Spray

So the reason it’s an ‘almost green’ product is because it has a little bit of store bought liquid dish washing soap in it. However, we used the Dawn Pure Essentials version of the dish washing soap without dyes, so it’s as close as I can get to ‘natural’ or ‘green’ while still containing a commercial cleaning product.

Dawn Pure

The only other ingredients are vinegar, water and tea tree oil. Sooooo easy breezy to make.

When we were first putting this spray together, we had a couple of considerations.

1) We had done some research and found that ‘daily’ shower sprays required just a little bit of the liquid dishwashing soap. However, the actual cleaners which you would only use on cleaning days required more of the soap; some sites said 6-8 oz, some said equal parts vinegar and soap. Jen used equal parts water and vinegar and then added about 6 oz of the soap since she was making a cleaner instead of a daily spray. I just used about 2 Tbs because I wanted a daily spray that wasn’t quite as thick.

2) Tea tree oil is STRONG! We had originally added about 1/2 tsp of tea tree oil to each spray. However, when I got it home and started using it, the smell was overwhelming. So I ended up splitting my spray into two batches and adding extra vinegar and water to each.

My plan was to use this spray in my shower for two weeks and see how it worked. So I started spraying it in my shower every single morning. I also started spraying it on my sink faucet. We have ridiculously hard water and I have struggled with cleaning our bathrooms and kitchen since we moved into this house. I normally scrub my tub and shower every week, but I wanted to really test how this product worked. So I scrubbed my shower to a spotless shine and then just used the shower spray every day for 2 weeks….no scrubbing at all! I just skipped my weekly cleaning, which was actually a nice break for me!

The results?

Well, I would say I normally spend about 10 minutes scrubbing my shower. I don’t know if that’s average or ridiculously long, but that’s how long it takes me to get it the way I want it. After about a week, I can normally start to see the build up caused by our ridiculous water. Well…..not this time! I couldn’t see any buildup after 2 weeks and it took me way less than 5 minutes to clean the whole shower. I was amazed, impressed and ecstatically happy. There are few chores I despise less than scrubbing the shower and this homemade cleaner has completely changed my tune! I absolutely love the results and will continue to use this every day!

IMG_8547Completely unexpected bonus time!!!

Like I mentioned, I had sprayed this on my sink faucet every day too. I have struggled with this faucet (and every other faucet in our house) for two years. When we moved in, there was already calcium build up, water deposits, etc around all of the faucets and drains. Like this:

Faucet - BeforeIt might be kind of hard to see how bad it is in the photo, but I have literally tried to clean these every week for two years using a variety of products. Nothing has ever worked, so I figured my homemade shower spray efforts were fruitless and was really just hoping to prevent any further build up. Well, one day after I sprayed, I just decided to wipe the faucet and a piece of the buildup actually came off. I thought to myself, I must have imagined that. I wiped again, a little more came off. Then more! For the next several days, I chipped away at this ridiculous substance and (with the combined effort of shower spray and elbow grease) I was able to get almost every single bit of the build up off. I literally ran into the bedroom and told my husband it was a miracle. That’s how seriously I thought I could never get these clean. I still have a little work to go, but now the faucet looks like this:

IMG_8552I am beyond impressed with this spray and I actually went and bought 3 more spray bottles so I could have it in the other 2 bathrooms as well as the kitchen.

IMG_8544So, a gigantic thumbs up to natural cleaning product #1. More reviews coming soon!

~Erin

Spring Greening – Proper Paint Disposal

Have you ever painted any part of your house? Have you ever had trouble deciding on colors? Have you ever had your guest room wall look like this:

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Seriously, the process was ridiculous over here. But we FINALLY chose colors and have painted the whole bottom floor of our house. We had previously painted the kids room so the only thing left is the master bedroom and bathroom. That is a project for another day…..I don’t even want to look at another paint brush for a while.

We have also been cleaning and reorganizing our garage lately and have found a ton of paint cans leftover from the previous owners of the house. Combine those with our recent painting extravaganza and here is what we were left with.

Paint CansKeep in mind that this is just the pile we were getting rid of! We still have leftover paint for touch ups, etc that I am going to find some fabulous temporarily functional way to organize, I’m sure.

So what to do with all of these paint cans? They were not completely empty so you can’t just throw them away. Well, you can, but at the expense of filled up landfills and a chemically infused environment. The best way to handle items like this is to find a hazardous waste recycling place near you. You can search online for ‘hazardous waste disposal’ or ‘hazardous waste recycle’ and hopefully several options will come up. Our closest disposal center is over an hour away, but it is well worth it to know we’re disposing of these items properly. Just to illustrate the types of things these recycling centers do, take a peek at this link. This is for the Colorado Springs, CO facility, but many places offer the same services. Here are a few things that our local place does:

-Recycling or proper disposal of chemicals. This includes paint, but also solvents, motor oil, bleach, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, and a ton of other household chemicals.

-Recycling of electronics, such as computers, TVs, microwaves, printers and cell phones. Most electronics have components that are harmful to the environment when thrown into a landfill. They must be properly disposed of in a safe and healthy manner.

-Porcelain recycling – They accept sinks, toilets and ceramic tiles which can be crushed and recycled into material used for building roads.

-‘Drop and Swap’ Program – Our facility has an area for products that were dropped off but can still be used, such as paint, primer and oil. These items are offered free of charge to the community.

I have looked into facilities in Colorado, Arizona and Georgia and there are definitely some differences. Some are open every weekday, while some facilities may have a once a month drop off day. Some accept tires and building materials, others don’t. So it may require a little research to find a place to take your items. But it’s worth it. You can clean out your home, garage, shed, etc and know that you are doing the best you can for the environment.

One more bonus of our local place was that it was free! Some of them aren’t, so this was great for us. They did request a non-perishable food donation though. I had a few items I was saving for a food bank, but I hadn’t taken them yet, so we dropped them off when we took our paint cans in.

Imagine that…..a clean garage, consideration for the Earth, and a charitable donation all at once.

~Erin

Spring Greening – Cleaning Green

I have decided to green up my cleaning products. If you read the blog, you might know that I’m already obsessed with using vinegar to clean my house. You can read proof of that here, here and here! I have used vinegar to do about 90% of my cleaning for a long time, but there are several other items I want to ‘Green-Up’ so instead of Spring Cleaning, I’m focusing on some Spring Greening. It’s time to Green the Nest!

My first step was to start researching. You can see some of the fruits of my researching labor on my Pinterest-Cleaning Board. Since I already have vinegar as my go-to guy for all purpose cleaning, I wanted to focus my efforts on several other items.. laundry detergent, dish washing detergent and a daily shower spray are at the top of the list! I won’t give you the play by play just yet because I’m testing the products I made, but here’s a basic rundown of the process.

After I researched and pinned to my heart’s content, I noticed a trend…my friend Jen was re-pinning all of my cleaning pins. Hmmm, wheels turning here. So I called her and said “why don’t we make all of this stuff together?” She was on board, which made me kind of giddy for two reasons. 1) It’s always more fun to jump into a new endeavor with someone else so you can cheer each other on and 2) We split the cost. Bonus!!!

Here is what we either bought or already had:

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I plan on going into detail on the products in upcoming posts, but basically we purchased tried and true cleaning ingredients, such as borax and vinegar (of course!) and threw in a couple of essential oils.

The first and easiest thing we made was just a simple solution of 50% vinegar, 50% water and 10 drops or so of orange essential oil.

IMG_0878A quick handwritten label completed the cleaner!

We also made a laundry detergent and shower spray, but I am currently in the super secret testing phase so I won’t post details until I know how I like them. If you want to learn more about natural cleaning, there is an ever growing number of resources and a great place to start would be my Pinterest board!

Happy Cleaning! Happy Greening!

~Erin