EcoChic Organizing

I’ll tell you it is easy to be an organizer if you have no limits. But what about an ecochic organizer like me? My boundaries are simple. I will try at all costs to use what I have already in my home first before ever buying something. I’ll go to my recycling bin, think of how to sew something or just plain rethink a way to make it work. If I do buy something I usually try to purchase second hand. The last resort is buying local if possible, fair trade, environmentally friendly, organic materials.

Some simple thoughts on organizing:

  • Since sewing has become a new obsession for me, I have taken outdated purses and filled them with supplies. This way I have a handy carry all that I can cozy up with on the couch or put beside my sewing machine. Anywhere it goes it looks sensational and the compartments keep me sane! Other uses: gift wrap supplies, office products, nail care, hobbies, etc.
  • I am sure I have said this before but I use my glass food jars for organizing everything from pens, buttons, binder clips, rubber bands, ribbons, cords for cell phone and palm sync, ribbons and paper clips. I even used some little jars as a decor item in my foyer. I put a ton of colored chalk on the shelf in the foyer so the kids grab one as they go out to play. And we end up with a bright cheery & playful way to greet guests. Looks great from the street too!
  • My friend Lisa and I had this conversation days ago… Lisa loves Gourmet magazine and she rips the pages she doesn’t want & composts them. She saves the rest with cover in tact for reference. I love this! Clean, simple and functional. (Stack in an unused recycled box with date visible- excellent!) But the question remained what about the other magazines or newspapers? I suggested an idea book. This is where I keep clippings of either newspaper, magazine, flier or whatever. The key is to detail what you liked about the clipping next to it. Is it the fabric, the image, the color, the style- what is the inspiration? I use my idea book to fuel my creative direction for months and even years to come. After reading so much for so many years, I have very few idea books. Be selective. Like Tim Gunn says, “Use an editing eye!”.
  • Simple closet solution for shoes. Keep your original box so you have a description of the shoe right there (no need to take a picture and print anything out). Plus, heaven forbid something happens you’ll need to original box to return. Sidebar- I just found Patagonia returns shoes for your lifetime. Whoa.
  • I use old boxes that I get shipments in or gifts for organizing instead of plastic bins.
  • My strategy for not keeping paper laying around (which tends to clutter the mind- a little feng shui goodie for us!!) is keeping one basket solely for periodicals to peruse, obtain inspirations and then recycle to the art bin. This is my bin to go to when I have a free moment… when is that? Hmmm… I guess I like to multi-task!! Scan, watch something from my DVR and file my nails at the same time!
  • Swap It baby! Think of all the things we aren’t ready to give up yet we’d like to get more use out of them to justify our keeping them. Create a swap group or host a swap party! I can’t seem to give up my subscription to Real Simple so I’d like to have a swap with other friends so they don’t buy or order it. Maybe they have the W I like to read and I have a Chicago Magazine and I will throw in my Newsweek (where it came from I have no idea??) Okay, now take the concept farther. You can swap kids toys, kids books, your books, clothes, baking accessories, hobby items, whatever. The idea is that when you get yours back they’ll be new again. Trust me, I do it & it works!!

When you go through your home for your next season’s cleaning, you have the opportunity to think about things differently. We have revitalized (or redecorated) rooms by simply moving artwork and lighting around. My mantra is Function & Space. If you go back to that concept with your shade of green, it will make life cleaner, easier and (in our case) much happier.

An Original 5 Minutes for Going Green Post. You can read more about Jennifer’s organizing obsession at her blog The EcoChic Organizer.

6 Responses to EcoChic Organizing
  1. Maddy
    August 1, 2008 | 2:25 pm

    It worries me how many of those I already do! [if you have a paper shredder, you can put the shreds in the composter too – that should foil any potential identity thieves]

  2. Monica (Healthy Green Moms)
    August 1, 2008 | 3:15 pm

    Thanks for the tips!
    It’s true that most everything we need to take care of we already have at home. I have decided to add a dry erase board to my office, so that I no longer use paper to write my lists out…should save a lot since I’m a listing fanatic!

  3. caitlin
    August 1, 2008 | 4:41 pm


    I love, love, love your ideas and your one-step-at-a-time approach to going greener. I added this blog to my blogroll because I like it so much.

  4. Mrs. Greenhands
    August 1, 2008 | 10:11 pm

    Great tips! Thanks! :)

  5. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)
    August 2, 2008 | 6:07 pm

    what GREAT ideas! I am guilty of thinking I need to purchase a ton of organizing tools. THANKS!

  6. Jennifer (The Eco Chic Organizer)
    August 5, 2008 | 10:31 pm

    I love the composter idea!! As of late I have had a composter debacle (now that is a blog in itself!!) and since mine is officially dead I am getting the one Chicago provides to residents for $30! They provide rain barrels too!!

    Dry erase is fab!! And thanks Caitlin- that means a lot to me. I really enjoy taking the next step in going green. It has become a happy passion!