Earth Day: Easy, Convenient Recycling in Kingwood and Houston

Originally written for  by Jan Zaremba-Smith (April 2011)


Kingwood TX recycling



It is easy to get stuck in an organizing paralysis with recycling.  Getting behind with recycling can lead to lots of organizing challenges.  For Kingwood and Houston residents, there are easy and convenient ways to recycle e-waste and BOPA materials!

  • Goodwill has a special program with Dell called Reconnect . Goodwill accepts any brand of used computer equipment in any condition and anything that can be connected to a computer; monitors, printers, scanners, hard drives, keyboards, mice, speakers, cords & cables, software, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Zune, Microsoft-branded Webcams, etc. They will pick these items up from your house along with any other household donations or you can drop them at one of their convenient locations.
  • Best Buy will accept ALL electronic waste (no more than three per visit) including monitors and TVs up to 32″ (they charge $10 for a TV but give you a $10 gift certificate in exchange).
  • Styrofoam chips and even blocks can be brought to most UPS, FedEx or Mailbox stores. They reuse them for their packaging.
  • CFL Bulbs and regular fluorescent bulbs are recycled at Home Depot or Lowes.
  • Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at many hardware, electronic, and department stores (Alspaughs, Sears Hardware, Best Buy, and Radio Shack). You can also recycle your old cell phones at Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware for the benefit of Keep Kingwood Green.
  • Used Motor Oil can be recycled at O’Reilly Auto Parts, 3219 W Lake Houston Pkwy in Kingwood (next to Walgreens).

All items above can also be dropped at the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center (for City residents only) at 5900 Westpark located at Hwy. 59S between Chimney Rock & Fountain View (Galleria Area) : or the Harris County facility if you live in Harris County but not in the City of Houston at 6900 Hahl Rd @ 290 & N. Gessner, 281-560-6200281-560-6200 Check for operating times.

All other Hazardous Waste (fuel, pesticides, chemicals, etc.) can be brought to the North Environmental Service Center (713)837-9137(713)837-9137, located at 5614 Neches, Building C. It is open to Houston residents only, every 2nd Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Harris County residents can take them to the Harris County site listed above.

Want more ideas? Visit


Practical Estate Planning: Organize Your Documents on April 4th at The Veranda, Kingwood.

Practical Estate Planning: Organize Your Documents on April 4th at The Veranda, Kingwood. 

 Help your family — and make your executor’s job easier — by getting your paperwork in order.  Estate planning isn’t just about legal issues — there are practical ones as well. Join Tamara Paul and myself to learn more about this at  Lunch and Learn at The Veranda, Kingwood.  Fee of $20 includes materials, lunch, tax and tip.   
To register, call 281-358-2820 or email

Eliminate paper now!

paper management


The first step in less filing is getting less paper! Here are some ways to make it happen.

1.  Eliminate catalogs with

2. Get your Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) online through your medical insurance company.  Create a log in and password, then set up the email account to notify you.

3. Use E-vites instead of invites. View for lovely invitations by email.

4. If you find articles to clip from the newspaper, find the article online instead. You can find it by the name of the author and the date of printing.  Save these with a bookmark in your computer.

5. Stop clipping recipes and use to find the ingredients and more.

6. Need a map? Use your GPS, google maps, or your smart phone navigation.

7. Add coupons to your email and smart phone through online sites.  See how on

8.  Want to scan in your papers?  Try using the Fujitsu ScanSnap!

What ways have you eliminated paper at your home or office?

Simple Steps for Taxes Preparation

Tax preparation tips


Its that time of year again for tax preparation. This can be very overwhelming and very stressful! Here are a few tips and resources to get you through.

  • Start with baby steps and early March is the best time to start.
  • Set up sessions for yourself for one or two hours at a time so you can work efficiently.
  • Write your sessions in your calendar and have a deadline well before April 15.



Not sure what to gather? Everyone has different items to gather, but generally these items are the following.

  • Income includes your W-2 and 1099’s.  These come in envelopes marked Important Tax Document and will be easy to find in your mail.  Or these can be found online from your employer or in investment accounts.  You may have already set up ways to find these documents easily online!
  • Expense/Deductions include home mortgage interest (From 1098), property taxes paid to your school district and county, and charitable contributions.  Property taxes may be escrowed in your mortgage, and you can find these payments listed on your monthly December mortgage statement.  Charitable contributions can be found in reviewing your checking account online.  Non-cash charitable contributions can be valued with online too.



File online for the quickest return.   Keep your filed return forever, either on paper or electronically. Ask your accountant how long to keep the preparation documents.  There is differing advice on this but most say at least 3 years.  Get ahead for next year by setting up folders to use throughout the year for income and deductions.




You and Your Federal Return

Smead Tax Organizer

AARP Top 10 Filing Tips

AARP Tax filing assistance

Maximizing your medical deductions


I love my new shiny status as Superstar!  It is a collaboration I participate in just about every month, with other organizers throughout the country. But to me it is really a shining star about collaboration in general. I love to find partners that are a great fit for what I don’t do well.  As a member of this collaboration, I am prompted monthly to submit.  The topic is already chosen, so in many ways it is just following up on a great idea. 

How do I use this collaboration process throughout my work and life?  I find having partners who give you enough information to get started on whatever the task, either with a template or not, and then move forward.  It can be when I want to give a speech, add a new aspect to my business, or even make dinner for our family.  It is always more fun when you work together!

How can collaboration help you get started, get finished or get moving on a goal?

Fire Up Your Biz – Enrich Your Life

I am honored to be a part of an amazing group of presenters, sharing information and more.  Get ready to stop constantly riding the brake on your business and shift into OVERDRIVE!  Listen in for free from your computer, phone or skype!

  • Fire up your personal performance.
  • Unleash your profit potential™.
  • Discover new strategies to manage the demands of running your own business.
  • Get a handle on the minutia and details that prevent you from doing the ‘heavy lifting’ to move your business to the next level.
  • Quiet the ‘fear voices’ and manifest a larger vision for your company.
  • Have a profitable business and time for what’s important to you!
  • Live a richer, more fulfilling life
  • Have powerful support systems that allow you to free up time and grow your business at the same time.
  • And lots more!!  Check out the session descriptions below.

Fire Up Your Biz – Enrich Your Life was born from the 1000s of conversations that we have had with business owners just like you about what holds them back from really going where they want to go with their business.

Join us for the fun and learning!

Important Documents

important papers and vital documents


Not long ago, life proceeded smoothly on a regular basis. In the past few years, that’s not the case. Emergencies seem to occur “regularly.”
Life’s emergencies require organization. Whether it’s a natural disaster, the death of a loved one, or evacuation from your home, it’s important to be prepared with your important documents. Gathering these together before an emergency gives you peace of mind.


Use this list for a reference to get your important papers in order. Remember, every family and every situation is different. Check with your lawyer and accountant to be sure you include all pertinent papers.


There are several ways to keep up with these papers.

  • Keep these papers in a notebook with tabbed slash pockets. No need to punch holes. Label the tabs with the name of the document. There are notebook systems like Life.doc to set up your system.
  • Keep these papers in a fireproof home safe in labeled folders. Your safe is portable, so it can be taken along with you.
  • Scan these papers. You can scan in your papers and keep them safe regardless of your location. Then the information is kept in the cloud. There are no worries about having all the papers with you all the time this way as you can access them wherever and whenever. By scanning, you can digitally share with family, friends and others.




Will, Durable Power of Attorney

Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will/Directive to Physicians/HIPPA release form

Declaration of Guardian and Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains

Revocable Living Trust

Driver’s license

Safe Deposit Keys and Bank address

Social Security Cards

Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate, Adoption papers, Divorce papers, Military discharge



Copies of home and auto insurance, with Insurance Agent name and phone number

Home closing documents

Home Title, Car titles and other Vehicle Titles

Utilities phone numbers and account numbers


Medical and prescription insurance cards


Prescription names and amounts

Doctors names and phone numbers


Bank names and account numbers

Name of financial adviser and phone number

Investment account numbers

Copy of taxes

Original life insurance policies

Loans and outstanding debts

Credit card copies

Credit reports

Royalties, Certificates of Deposit, Stock Certificates, and other investments

Emergency Contacts

Family and Friends

Home helpers and neighbors that have access to your home

“To be contacted” in case of death or illness


Passwords to all online accounts, as well as answers to security questions

Burial policies, Pre-paid funeral arrangements



Get started today on gathering your important documents.  You will be so glad you did!

Join us at Kingwood Library: Preparing and Organizing for Life’s Changes on January 12, 2012

 Be prepared for the difficulties and transitions that occur!  Join Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap and Tamara Hensarling Paul to learn about important papers and vital documents, what you need and how to organize these.  The program is hosted by Kingwood Public Library on Thursday, January 12 at  1pm. 

Tamara will share not only the important papers, but an important story to remind us all of how these papers are crucial when a disaster occurs.

Ellen will share additional papers and way to organize them in case of an emergency.

Whether you are aging, your parents are aging, or you just want to ease your childdren’s minds, join us for this seminar. 

Free and open to the public.

Twelve for 2012

12 organizing tips



1.  Get a great calendar. Just one!

2. Find the best way to do your to do list. It can be paper, computer or on your phone.

3. Organize your purse with zippy cases for makeup, receipts, and other categories.

4. Organize your car by dumping the trash and papers each time you get gas.

5. Go through your mail every day. Just for 5 minutes and triage the papers.

6. Get ready the night before with your bags by the back door.

7. Make a date with your calendar and lists for Weekly Planning, a time to review what is coming up next week, consolidate your lists, and make a plan.

8.  Go through your make up drawer and keep what you use daily easy to access.

9.  Go through your email three times a day, making decisions, delegating and deleting.

10.  Establish a weekly meeting at work and home to communicate the week’s plan.

11.  Find partners to help you complete and work through the tough stuff, whatever that may be.

12.  Prioritize your goals for 2012.  We can’t do it all, all the time.  Decide what is most important this year for your time and energy.

What are your 12 for 12?

Want to get organized in 2012? Clutter Diet Membership Specials until January 16, 2012

So many people want to get organized for the New Year, but if you are on a budget or don’t otherwise have access to hire a professional organizer, I wanted to share with you a resource to help and let you know about a special deal.  In 2006 organizing expert Lorie Marrero created The Clutter Diet®, an innovative online program that helps you “get your house in shape.” Her program has helped thousands of members in eighteen countries around the world, making organizing expertise affordable and accessible to anyone, anywhere.  As  you know, I am on of the five online Experts too!

When you use the coupon code 2012win”, you will receive 25% off an Annual membership! This discount is the lowest possible price Lorie offers.

Annual memberships are usually $143.40, but with this coupon code your price is 25% off, just $107, good through Monday, January 16 at midnight CDT. In other words, it costs you only $8.92/month to have unlimited access to organizing experts for personal consultations online!

The best part of all– If you are concerned whether this program is right for you, no worries, because your first two weeks are free!  You can sign up for the Annual membership with this coupon code and your card will not be charged until 2 weeks later, and you can cancel at any time. We feel great about recommending Lorie and her team, because there is no risk involved.

 For comparison:
Month-to-month Clutter Diet membership: $17.95/month ($215.40/yr)
Normal price for annual membership: $11.95/month ($143.40/yr prepaid)
Usual price PER HOUR with a professional organizer in person: $75.00+ per HOUR
YOUR PRICE: $8.92/month ($107/yr prepaid)

Get organized with these member resources:

  • unlimited access, 7 days a week, to a team of Certified Professional Organizers® for personal consulting in the member area, including photo consultations,  
  • easy multimedia tutorials,  
  • searchable reference articles, 
  • your own customized reminder system, 
  • and their exclusive weekly project plans…  

…all for about the price of a box of trash bags or a package of coffee.

Click here

Choose “ANNUAL” option, and enter the coupon code 2012win to get started with your free two weeks and lock in this very special discount price. After January 16 at midnight, annual memberships will cost $143.40.

Your first week takes you through Lorie’s 7-Day Quickstart [use your affiliate link here] program, a week of focused guidance to help you choose a project, plan it out, and get it DONE! Then you get an additional 7 days of full access and support at no charge before your special discount price is applied.

FTC Disclosure: Occasionally in this newsletter we may have links to other companies’ products which provide us with a commission if you purchase from our link. We want you to know that we feature only products here that we absolutely believe in and getting a commission on them is just a smart bonus if we happen to have a link available to us… We are at all times looking out for what is best for our readers and our reputation. Thank you!