Earth Day

At Simplicity, we believe organizing and Earth Day belong together.  We want to help others adapt a simpler lifestyle that is environmentally conscious and sustainable.  It’s not just the fragile earth that will benefit.  Environmental sustainability makes for a more sustainable personal and family life too.   It’s a great example of “doing well by doing good”.

 

Earth Day

 

We have all heard the 3 R’s – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.  We would like to honor Earth Day with ideas and thoughts for both organizing our homes and lives while protecting our environment.

Reduce Reuse RecycleREDUCE

the amount of stuff you bring into your house.  Remember less is more. Cut back on paper clutter by reducing the amount of junk mail or credit card offers you receive.  Go to ecocycle.org for 6 steps for stopping junk mail.  Sign up to go paperless on bank and investment statements.  Don’t be a slave to email.   Unsubscribe from those you no longer enjoy. Use your delete button so you’re not letting others set your agenda by what fills your inbox. Purge your files annually to make room for what is truly important.   Remember that duplicating with both paper and electronic files is akin to “belts and suspenders”- overkill!

REUSE

containers for kids’ art supplies such as pens, markers, and paintbrushes.  Padded mailing envelops or packing boxes can often be reused. You’ll find lots of ways to repurpose things around your house if you simply think about it.  Remember the old sayings, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”  It’s old advice but still good advice.

RECYCLE

unused or unloved belongings.  There are countless ways to do this but for a start, we’ve compiled this list.

 

Let’s all celebrate Earth Day by challenging our families to adopt at least one new habit from one of the 3 R’s.  For your new behavior to become a habit, you’ll need to practice it.  Put it on your calendar.  Tell others what you’re doing so you’re more accountable.  And don’t let a little slip up cause a total relapse.  What starts out as a hope, will become a habit.

 

“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” – Edwin Way Teale

 

 


Simplicity Serves: 7,680 Books and the Love of Reading!

 

Reading Tree

In March, I received an email from my mom, a reading specialist at a Title 1 school in Greensboro, letting me know about a request from the NC Department of Instruction asking communities to donate five gently used or new books to Title 1 schools.

Reading is a life skill and it is unfortunate that during the summer months, many students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during their break from school.

According to the NC Department of Instruction, children from low-income families fall behind over the summer because they often go home to an environment where there are very few books or other reading resources. As a result, by the end of fifth grade, these students are approximately 2 ½ years behind their more affluent peers in terms of reading ability, primarily because of summer loss.  Summer reading loss negatively impacts our struggling readers, and ultimately our entire community.

I knew immediately this would be a perfect initiative for Simplicity!

I presented the idea of a book drive at our monthly team meeting and it was received with great excitement. We brainstormed ways to help spread the word about this promotion and set a goal to collect 1,000 books.  As we help our clients purge and organize their homes, large quantities of unwanted items accumulate, including children’s books.  Our clients have a much easier time letting go of their belongings when they know they are going to a deserving cause.

Since my mom’s birthday was a few weeks away, I contacted her school, Vandalia Elementary, and asked the principal her thoughts about throwing a surprise reading celebration-to not only celebrate my mom’s birthday and her 17 years of teaching reading, but more importantly to celebrate the joy of reading by giving each student a book.  Vandalia was thrilled with the idea and so our book drive began!

Shortly after, WCNC asked us to join Colleen Odegaard and Ramona Holloway to promote organizing tips for children and share the news about our book drive.

WCNC

As we began to promote the book collection, Alison Houser with Augustine Literacy Project contacted us to see if they could help.   She asked if we had chosen a school in the Charlotte area to receive the books.  I shared with her about our surprise donation to Vandalia with the first 1,000 books, but anything after that could be donated to another school in Charlotte.

Alison had just been in a meeting with Sedgefield Elementary and the principal said they were looking for help from the community to provide each child with five books to take home for the summer.   So it was an easy decision to donate any extra books to Sedgefield.

For convenience, several of my team members offered their homes as drop off locations throughout the city. Word spread quickly and the books began arriving.  It was the perfect time to clean off bookshelves before summer started.

Soon after we were invited to join John Carter on WBTV!

And the books kept coming!

Augustine Literacy volunteers helped us sort over a thousand books by grade level.

On April 9th, I drove with 1,ooo books to Greensboro to surprise my mom,

Surprising Mom

and share with the students at Vandalia. The celebration included a presentation, a read aloud, balloons, and cake.

Vandalia Book Celebration

With the support of other Greensboro community members and friends, 1,680 books were donated to Vandalia, allowing each child to take home 6 books for the summer.

Laurie reading

Laurie's Mom w Books

 

Vandalia Kids w books

 Reading Celebration

On June 10th, it was time to celebrate reading at Sedgefield Elementary! Thanks to the support of the Charlotte community, we were a part of the book drive that collected over 6,000 books for Sedgefield!

Sedgefield Elementary Celebration

Sonja Grant, a lead anchor on WCNC TV offered the closing remarks to the student body.

Sonia Grant speaking

What an incredible journey of collecting books!  Our original goal was to collect 1,000 children’s books, but with such wonderful support from both the Charlotte and Greensboro communities, we were able to help collect almost 8,000 books for two Title 1 schools!

As your children grow as readers, and the new school year is beginning, please consider making more room on your bookshelves by donating any lower level children’s books to Title 1 schools.  With your generous donations, we can help prevent summer reading loss.

Reading is such a critical life skill! Let’s continue to support this initiative and share our love of reading!

Elementary Kids with donated books

Special Thanks:

Alison Houser and Laura Freeman, Augustine Literacy Project

Kimberly Robertson and Dawn Amundson, Vandalia Elementary

Ivy Gill and Sophia Crawford, Sedgefield Elementary 

Ramona Holloway, Colleen Odegaard, Larry Sprinkle, and Sonja Gantt, WCNC TV

Brennan Shearer, Promising Pages

Crystal O’Gorman, Freelance writer for the Charlotte Observer

NC Department of Instruction

Simplicity Clients and the Charlotte Community