How to Recycle

To start recycling you need to have some plastic bins.

After you collect some plastic bins, find out what you can recycle. To find out you can contact your local Department of Public Works (or go to their site) to find out what materials they process. These items can include: glass bottles, newspapers and certain plastics are common, but each city has different capabilities and policies. It is important to adhere to local regulations.

After finding out what you can recycle, you’ll need to locate a nearby recycling center. Though curbside recycling services are available in many areas; however, depending on where you live you may need to transport your own recycling to a service center.

Purchase your recycling bins (if you haven’t already). Some areas require you to sort your materials by category (plastics, paper, cans, etc), while others allow you to mix everything together. Check your local regulations and purchase bins accordingly. Bins with lids are ideal because they prevent spills and mask odors. Note that some areas allow recycling to be kept in plastic bags while others do not.

Set up your system. Once you have your bins, it’s time to set up your in-house recycling center. Recycled materials can add up, so choose an accessible spot that has a decent amount of space.

Check your glasses and plastics. Plastic and glass items usually have a “chasing arrow” logo encircling a number that indicates their type. This does not automatically make them recyclable. Check your local regulations to see which types are accepted and whether or not they need to be separated from each other.

Clean items before recycling them. Rinse off food or drink residue before placing them in a bin. Clean materials are worth more to recycling facilities and they won’t generate nasty smells in your bins. You don’t need to clean your recyclables as thoroughly as a plate you’re about to eat from, but give them a decent rinse.

Now take your recycling into your local recycling center or to the curb weekly and continue to sort and recycle.


Good luck!


Ways to Help Others In Need

Feed a teen for a full day by sending $10 to Covenant House, the largest private national agency exclusively serving homeless kids. Last year they cared for over 55,000 children.

Drop off new school supplies like pencils, notebook paper, and binders at a local Staples store until September 15 to help high school students succeed. Get details and store locations at

Give your stuff to Goodwill. Not only will someone be able to reuse your stuff but you give the opportunity for a job to someone who is in need. OR if you are in Illinois you can give your stuff to Marklund, while others will be able to buy your stuff and the proceeds go to Marklund Children’s Home

Cheap and Easy Upgrades

Want to spark up some of your current furniture and decor accessories? Here are some simple and cheap options to upgrade your space!

Bookshelf – Spark up a white bookshelf by painting the backs of a few shelves/cubbies in fun colors and scattering some funky accent pieces amidst the books.

Couch – Have a neutral colored couch? Want to add some color? Layer pillows and blankets that you have around or pick up from Goodwill. The key is to use different textures and keeping the colors bright.

Lamp – Upgrade a simple lamp by switching out the lamp shade or painting the lamp a new color.

Spring Cleaning To-Dos

Don’t know what to do for spring cleaning?

Here is a simple yet thorough list of to-dos for spring cleaning:

Wash windows – 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup warm water or you can go 50/50 with the solution; pour into a spray bottle; spray and wipe with a paper towel

Clean sliding door tracks and window tracks – probably not the first place you would think to clean, but it is fairly simple. Use a dry toothbrush to loosen debris, then using your vacuum hose to remove the loose debris and finish with a wet sponge.

Baseboards, Door Frames, and Walls – Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

Deep Clean Carpets – The best time to do this is on a clear, warm day. Either rent/buy a deep carpet cleaner or hire a professional to deep clean your carpets.

Clean Under Furniture & Appliances – Grab a partner and move the sofa so that you can vacuum the carpet.  Move chairs, kitchen appliances, etc. to clean underneath them.

Get Organized – Pick up and eliminate clutter in each room before you start cleaning. Equip yourself with a few designated containers when you are picking up in each room: a box for garage sale items, another for items to donate, and a garbage bag for items to toss. Put away the things you are keeping in their rightful places and rooms.

Make a Wardrobe Transition – Now that it is warm outside, have your winter clothes cleaned. Consider storing clothes at a dry cleaner if you don’t have enough space in your home. Put away gloves, winter clothing items, and boots so you’ll have plenty of space for spring clothing.

Freshen Bedrooms – Rotate and flip mattresses. Wash blankets and comforters, or take them to be cleaned. Wash mattress pads and bed skirts. Have pillows professionally cleaned, hang them outside in the fresh air, or freshen them with the air (no heat) cycle of your clothes dryer. Wash or dry-clean rugs.
Especially the closet.

Clean Your Bathrooms – You may scrub your bathroom every week, but now it is time to battle clutter and refresh old products. Go through your medicine cabinet(s) and safely discard any outdated products. Replace worn bath mats, shower curtains, and liners, or wash and dry shower curtains and liners.

Clear Your Kitchen – Take time to clear out your pantry, kitchen cabinets and drawers. Wipe them out and install fresh shelf paper. Store or donate equipment you don’t use, such as small appliances or cookware. Discard stale spices or dated items such as baking powder. Clean the fridge and the freezer. Vacuum the cooling coils under or behind the fridge.

Store/Restaurant Membership Cards

I have been promising this post for ages…

We all have at least one or even a gazillion membership cards to various locations.

It isn’t a card for a specific location but locations (meaning stores/restaurants) must register with Belly. Every purchase you make earns you points. I originally got this card because of a local bakery but that has since closed and not many places in the area take Belly. So I have since removed this card from my wallet.

Walgreens – Balance Rewards
So far I’ve loved the card. I don’t shop at Walgreens much because of prices but it is convenient to run to if I need something desperately. Plus you get 500 points every time you refill a prescription with them. For every 5,000 points you get $5 off. I haven’t figured out if you can ask for the money in gift card format or not though…

Barnes & Nobles
There is a yearly renew fee. But that is just pennies if you buy all your books from there. It helps as you can save money on purchases when using the card and with the coupons they give members. I haven’t renewed my card this year since I am moving toward eBooks and Amazon for getting my reading materials.

Big Lots
This store is slowly popping up across the nation. It is a wonderful place for discount pricing but be wary as each store management is different. They sell things that other stores could not sell at a discount rate and that includes foods, but they do sell other things that you can still find in stores too.
With their membership card you have to actually spend $20 minimum each time you go there and they are not great with asking for your card so you have to basically wave it at them. Once you make ten purchases of at least $20 or make five purchases of $40 and so on you will save 20% on your next purchase.

Starbucks (Gold Card)
They really don’t call it the gold card anymore since they do not charge for the membership anymore and give out the special cards for the membership fee. But they still offer it. It has changed since it originally was launched too and they make you very aware of the changes in the store (with pamphlets) and via membership emails. For every 12 drinks you buy you earn one free item (can basically be anything you want). I typically order my drink maxed out all the bells and whistles when the free item comes available on my card.
A side note… you can save 10 cents every time you order coffee if you bring your own coffee mug with or without being a member.

Free piece of chocolate once a month and one free piece for your birthday.

IKEA Family US
I haven’t used this card yet but it is a good one to have. Even if you don’t carry your card on you when you go you can easily print a temporary one while you are there. They give discounts on certain pieces for people are a part of the IKEA Family. They have at least one piece from each department with a deal for cardholders but I never find anything that I need or want on the list.

If you have one they are basically null in void. Recently they sent out an announcement to cardholders stating that they would like to pass the savings on to everyone and so you no longer need the card. If you want to still get the coupons they send for spending X amount of money a month you can still use the card but you might have to remind the cashier that is why you are using it.

PetSmart PetPerks
It’s free. You have exclusive in-store pricing so you have discounts to more than 1,000 items in-store every month. If you register all your pets on the card you can get a special birthday greeting to celebrate your dog or cats special day. Receive email notification of sales and events.
PetSmart PetPerks Premium – available when you register your account online.
You must be 13 years or older to participate.

Just to name a few more…

  • Dick Blick
  • CVS
  • Panera Bread
  • Amazon Prime
  • Sephora
  • ULTA

Don’t want to carry all those cards?
Well if you have a smartphone you may not have to. At least with the iPhone they have a few apps that can be used to save all your cards in one location. I use a mix of Passbook (Apple’s own app) and CardStar.

2013 Goals

It’s a little late but we still have most of 2013 to go. So better late than never…

2013 Life Goals

See my parents every other week. – For some time I took off from seeing my parents to live my life without them scrutinizing every little thing I do/did. We are slowly working through our rough relationship but we are trying none-the-less.

2013 Financial Goals

Reach a net worth of $10,000 – I am slowly saving between my IRA, my 401k, savings account, secondary checking account (which earns interest), and mutual funds. But I also need to pay off some debt and also pay off my car which technically falls under my debt.

Reduce monthly spending down to the necessities + $100 free for all budget – this is going to be hard since I have to use my credit card at least once a month so I don’t get charged by them.

Use more coupons and membership cards – I can’t tell you how hard it is to use coupons… one I like saving paper and two I don’t get coupons for the things I buy on a regular basis 😦 But I am going to try harder to use coupons. Why membership cards? Well some of them actually give you money back to spend on future purchases and others give you discounts that people who do not have a card can not have (or they give you both). I’ll write a post in the near future about the benefits of membership cards and the pros and cons of each one. 😉

2013 Career Goals

Update my resume – should update every 6 months anyways so this should be something that I do twice a year…

Continue my education – to be able to go places in life you need to be on top of the newest trends and the newest software(s)

Spring Cleaning 2013

Well it is that time of year again. When we switch from our winter wear to our spring wear and everything else that we need to take care of for the change of the season.

According to Blueprint, “100 Reasons to Get Rid of It,” 80% of what we own we never use and 1.4 million Americans suffer from clutter and chronic hoarding. Because of this we burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.

There are many other options rather than throwing things in the trash. Remember the old phrase? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Spring cleaning is the time to reduce the clutter, by either reusing for something else, recycling (such as donating or recycling).

Here are some steps to reduce:

  • 1-800-Got-Junk – Pay someone else to take out the (big, cumbersome) trash.
  • Public Storage – Lock it up in more than 2,100 locations around the USA
  • Salvation Army – Schedule a pick-up with your local Salvation Army
  • – Find local recycling and reuse programs for all kings of household items
  • – Set up shop at the World’s Long Yard Sale, August 2-5 along 450 miles of Highway 127 in southeast US
  • Have your own yard/garage sale on National Garage Sale Day, August 10
  • Swap-O-Rama-Rama – Attend a nationwide clothing exchanges and do-it-yourself alternation workshops
  • – Watch as a pile of your favorite old t-Shirts are converted into a quilt

Here are some steps to reuse:

Cell Phone

  • Verizon Wireless – Put a refurbished phone (of any brand) into the hands of a domestic violence victim
  • – Or let its sale benefit an environmental charity
  • – Send a phone to the field staff of a poverty-fighting mission

All Technology

  • – work with charities to find homes for consumer electronics
  • – Put scanners, computers and cameras in the hands of deserving, impoverished kids around the world

Air Miles

  • Red Cross – For Red Cross staff and volunteers
  • – For deployed soldiers
  • – For transplant patients
  • – For terminally ill kids

Furniture & Appliances

  • – Match your household items with a local non-profit’s wish list
  • – Furnish homes for disaster victims
  • – Give interview and work clothing to disadvantaged women
  • – Donate a wedding gown to benefit breast-cancer patients
  • – Send formal wear to teenage girls who need help getting to the prom
  • – A free coat to anyone who needs one


  • – Supply children in foster care with luggage
  • & – Send eyewear to men and women in underdeveloped countries
  • Goodwill – Fund job training programs and social services
  • – Post donations for charities (and regular folks) to claim
  • – Donate leftover building supplies to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores

Here are some steps to recycle:

  • – Recycled footwear materials become sports and playground surfaces.
  • – Donated Capilene base layers become polyester fibers for new Capilene garments.
  • Pangea organics’ packaging becomes an herb garden when planted in soil.
  • Cargo cosmetics’ PlantLove lipstick tubes come in plantable boxes that sprout wildflowers.
  • – Old newspapers become colored pencils.
  • – Rubber tires become sleek purses…
  • – …or rugged iPod covers.
  • – Plastic soda bottles become durable hammocks.
  • – Yogurt containers become colorful plates, flatware, toothbrushes, and razors.

By cleaning up and getting rid of clutter it will make your life better. By getting rid of clutter you will reduce housework by 40%. Erase a $10K credit card debt (with an average interest rate) 65% faster – and pay 75% less total interest – when you pay double the typical minimum monthly payment. Around 23% of people pay late fees on bills they cannot find.

Because reducing clutter you can get something back.

  • When you return six (6) MAC cosmetics containers to any MAC store and receive a free lipstick.
  • Trade in an old iPod and receive a 10% discount on a new one.
  • – Easily convert spare change into “real” money.
  • – Get cash for gift cards you’ll never use
  • – Trade the books you have for the ones you want
  • – Trade the DVDs you’ve seen for the ones you haven’t
  • – Clear off your CD shelves, and make money in the process
  • – Great entertainment exchange: books, music, movies and games, all swapped in one place