Thanks for donations and support of the DeClutter For Good yard & garden tool drive ~ Encouraging Sustainability & Healthy Choices

With thanks to Marini Farm, Wolf Hill Garden Center  & Tedford & Martin’s Hardware for their willingness to place a collection box and to service learning teens Drew Wood and Mitchell Klimowicz, this drive was a bit tougher to execute but still resulted in a trunk filled with garden tools (with plenty of useful life left in ’em) delivered to Wellspring House in Gloucester, A special word of thanks to Sallie Felton for her generous donations of used garden tools. Living right here on Boston’s North Shore, Sallie is a life coach and declutter expert and author who walks the walk as she talks the talk. Her approach to life change is profound in its simplicity, “Start Where You Stand.”

Wellspring House is an amazing organizations that works tirelessly to help people work their way out of difficult circumstances.  A visit to their website ~  where there URL heading reads “Helping Families Move Out of Poverty to Achieve More Secure & Fulfilling Lives” ~  is at once humbling and inspiring ~ certainly “time well spent” and highly recommended. Farmer Mitchell was thrilled with the donations as was Executive Director Kay O’Rourke, pictured with me in the photo below.  The backyard farm Mitchell tends provides food for the entire staff and then some, with all of their extra crops going to another homeless shelter in Gloucester. 

A winter DeClutter For Good drive I ran resulted in hundreds of pieces of business clothing and accessories donated to Wellspring House, so I’ll toss in thanks to all who contributed to that including Regina Reis’ Dinner with the Girls group and a heads up that I hope to do another DeClutter For Good business attire drive in the fall.


DeClutter For Good Thanks ~ Sports Equipment Drive

Thanks to service learning teens Will Galanis, Mark Gallant and Brendan Coleman, the DeClutter For Good donation drive was a great success and focused on used equipment including uniforms and cleats, balls and equipment of all kinds.

DeClutter Your Sports Equipment For Good

Unexpectedly creative photographer made for a fun keepsake, this after the boys handled the interview with me piping in only infrequently ~ no, really!

Locally, a dozen soccer balls and a dozen basketballs were given to Cornerstones Ipswich ~ a day and residential school for local children in need.  Time Well Spent has passed along donations of books, toys, bedding and the like to Cornerstones over the last 2 years and I always think of this special local organization when conducting our drives.

Thanks also go to Agawam Diner’s John Galanis (aka Smiley). The diner is another friend to the community, supporting causes quietly as the needs arise. John had his “dad hat” on and helped the boys deliver his pick-up truck full of sports equipment to Playing It Forward, a non-profit that has a system in place for getting sports equipment to those in need both locally and globally.  PIF’s founder David Cohen shared his thanks in an email. Here’s a quote:

“I wanted to let you know that I just met the guys and the equipment has been delivered. What a job they did! They probably do not grasp it now but what their efforts will definitely have an impact on kids less fortunate. I am glad I held up a shipment to Aruba because some of the soccer items will be added to the boxes. Thank you for all that you are doing!”

As far as making it happen, thanks also go to Tri-City Sales for sharing some huge boxes, so needed to work out the logistics of the drive. Thanks also to the Ipswich Schools for allowing drop-off boxes to be placed in their foyers, making the donation process easy and giving the younger kids a way to participate in DeCluttering For Good. Notices home made a big difference, with those schools who sent a notice home coming up with the most donations. Phys Ed teacher Ms. McNichols gets a high five for donating some old, but still useful, equipment.

To read more about the drive, click here to read Mark’s summary of his service learning experience.

Thanks for Time Well Spent on the DeClutter For Good Beanie Baby Drive

With thanks to service learning teens Jeff Carpenter and Robbie Brengle, the number of beanie babies collected rose from the original of about 300 on the day of the drive at Time Well Spent to 627 beanies ultimately delivered to Operation Troop Support in Danvers, MA. OTS is an organization determined to make a difference to our troops, and in the case of the beanie babies, to young children in war-torn countries as well. This is our first effort to help Operation Troop Support and I am eager to find out more about other DeClutter For Good donation drive topics that could help their efforts to help people help our soldiers. A visit to their facebook page shows all the constant hard work and dedication of this wonderful organization!

Thanks to the Ipswich Middle & High schools for allowing the collection boxes and flyers to be placed making it easy for people to make their contributions. Special thanks also go to Biolabs, so often a friend to the community and known for their interest in sustainability, for conducting their own collection drive which Jeff and Robbie picked up and were able to add to the total.

To learn more about the drive, check out the post that includes Robbie’s write-up of his experience.

Is your Time Well Spent? Is mine? Figuring that out is part of the journey…

With this post, I’m letting my friends, new and old, know that I’ll be taking the first 2 weeks of August off from Time Well Spent…. How will time off help to make Time Well Spent a reality?!  While I won’t be “working,” per se,  I am going to take the time to consider my life balance wheel. So a bit of a busman’s holiday…  If I really pay attention and do the work of assessing my life (well, jump-starting the process which will then become an ongoing process of reassessment), then I should be stronger and more able to focus on my stewardship to the Time Well Spent mission.

Through my journey to date ~ passing two and a half years and counting ~  I’ve become familiar with the concept of the life balance wheel… Because I haven’t done enough research to recommend any one version of the wheel over another, I suggest a google search for those who think a little life balance work might be in order. But, time is limited ~ our most limited resource here on earth in fact ~ so here’s a pic of a version of the wheel that is just a little different (in a good way, I think) and a link to one of the many sources I found:


The site, called Transformation One , looks great, which is why I’m sharing it… I just haven’t reached out to make a connection with the founders that would lead me to formally recommend this site over another. So a disclaimer of sorts with my first impression being that the founders are the real deal ~ eager to help others live their best life. Click on the wheel and you can check out the Transformation One site and see what you think. (Feel free to share your impression with me via email or a comment below.)

And, for those new to TWS or in need of a refresher, here’s the gist of it & “of” me:

My goal is to help people improve the quality of their own lives, the lives of those in need and the environment ~ in a way that is empowering and inspiring, rather than adding to one’s sense of burden or guilt. The vehicle for my mission is our collective clutter ~ Taking that which is creating obstacles in our own lives, keeping it out of the waste stream, and getting it into the hands of those in need and using it to create earth-friendly and people-friendly products that carry the message of mindful repurposing.

My vision for Time Well Spent ultimately (and whether under my leadership or someone else more capable is secondary to that vision) is the creation of real “brick and mortar” centers for use by local communities as well as an online presence that brings together the positive energy of those who are focused on living a happy and fulfilled life of mindful awareness, with focused intent on a sense of purpose and stewardship to fellow (hu)man and Mother Earth…  Deep stuff on the one hand, yet incredibly simple at the same time…. I love that…

So, just as “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and nothing worth doing comes easy, the journey to create Time Well Spent is just that ~ a journey toward living a life of “time well spent.”   As the person to whom this idea came, the more I can get my own life’s journey in focus and on the right path, the stronger Time Well Spent will be ultimately.

In business terms, it’s a social enterprise, a triple-bottom-line endeavor, conscious capitalism ~ I love intellectual discussions on the intricacies and differences between the current business models that embrace, to varying degrees, the concept of doing good through business.  That said, when it gets right down to it (and I love this, too), the discussions are secondary to the intention ~ an intention to do good and create and share a vision of lasting change for the better.

Creating a completely new concept isn’t about how fast I can get the doors open. It’s about authenticity and ultimately the creation of a strong foundation upon which the concept is built. One thing is for sure, Time Well Spent will be anything but “business as usual,” what it will be, truly, is “business for good.”  And, that, my friends, is what keeps me working in service to this mission.

Will taking time to re-energize and re-focus, to consider whether my life has balance help move Time Well Spent forward? Only time will tell! I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks!

 Wishing all who read this peace & love in their hearts and lives and, as always, my hope for all to seize the day in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling to you on your journey to a life of Time Well Spent.

Carpe Diem  ~ Nancy

Reflections of a Service Learning Teen’s Efforts to Help get Beanie Babies to Kids in Need via Our Troops & Operation Troop Support

I always open the summary descriptions written by my service learning teens with a bit of trepidation. Did they get the point? Did they experience what it truly means to help people help those in need? To put it simply, did they feel their time was well spent? After reading Robbie Brengle’s reflection and the email he sent to me with the document and some pics, I think the questions can all be answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

So, mentoring a young person, helping people get their Beanie Babies out from under while avoiding the trash, helping Operation Troop Support show our support to our military and, in turn helping to ease the sadness and stress of a child in a war torn country, and in general setting an example of empowered collective decluttering… That’s at least 7 ways this DeClutter For Good can be considered Time Well Spent!

To be sure, the drive “ended” decidedly late in terms of the calendar. Still, I feel that Robbie and Jeffrey’s experience with the DeClutter For Good beanie baby drive was a positive one.  In addition to helping double the number of beanie babies that would have been collected by the more typical DeClutter For Good drive that involves one drop-off weekend in a given month, I believe the two teens, now rising seniors, learned quite a bit about not only the physical logistics of materials-based collections, but also about the people side of the equation.

DeClutter Beanie Babies for Good Drive on the Front Page

After writing a letter to the editor, the teens scored the front page of the local weekly~above the fold, might I add!

The teens went to New England Biolabs to pick up a large donation of  the little stuffed creatures and saw how traditional businesses can embrace the concept of corporate social responsibility by doing their share to support the community and the environment.

And, lastly, they learned that it isn’t over until it’s over, that it doesn’t matter whether the papers have been turned in, the front page photo taped proudly to the fridge, the accolades have been made and received, the job isn’t done until the donated items have been delivered to the service organization that will get them into the hands of those in need.  I’m so pleased to report that today was that day and there’s a whole bunch of photos of Robbie delivering the Beanie Babies to Operation Troop Support in Danvers, MA, to prove it!

robbie beanie babies

Go to Operation Troop Support’s Facebook page (here’s a link to the Beanie Baby Collection album)  to see more pics (and, while you are there, “like” their page and follow their good work to support our troops!).

Of course, as Robbie indicates in his summary, I could go on and on, just did and often do!  Today, I’ll practice the tiniest bit of self control and refrain from sharing  any more of my thoughts on the subject and, instead, I’ll let Robbie’s perspective speak for itself:

To fulfill the twenty five hours of community service required of Juniors at Ipswich High School, I tutored a 5th grade student in math and organized a Beanie Baby drive with a friend, with the purpose of collecting people’s unwanted Beanie Babies, and shipping them to American soldiers stationed overseas to give to children as gifts and tokens of peace. Both projects left me feeling a sense of accomplishment, and I actually had some fun during the process. I also enjoyed doing two completely different projects because it gave me a chance to test my abilities in different fields and it was refreshing to mix up what I was involved with during the past six months. While it was stressful and difficult at times, my experience in doing community service was a positive one.

After about a month, I realized that tutoring alone was not going to get me to twenty five hours of community service, so I started looking for another project to do before the proposal deadline in January. Luckily, I heard through the grapevine that Nancy Gallant had something available, so Jeff Carpenter and I went in to her office on Route 1 to meet with her and some other kids about potential community service projects to do. Nancy Gallant is incredibly passionate about what she does, which shouldn’t come as surprise because she spends a lot of her time helping others for literally no money. If you were to ask Nancy about what she does at Time Well Spent, the organization that she created and runs her donation drives out of, she could probably go on for an hour about each of the projects she has organized in the past couple of months.

Nancy was the one who gave Jeff and I the idea of a Beanie Baby Drive, because she did some research and found out that other organizations have been collecting Beanie Babies and shipping them overseas to American troops, who can put the small stuffed toys in their pockets and on their gear to give to the children they come across as tokens of peace. We both agreed that that seemed like a pretty cool project to do, but like most teenagers, we procrastinated and kept putting it off until the last moment possible. Nancy displayed the patience of a saint throughout the entire process, because she sent us email after email, trying to get us to start our project.

Finally, in April, we got the ball rolling by writing a letter to the editor of the Ipswich Chronicle, detailing our plans to start a Beanie Baby drive in the coming weeks. On the first of May, we made a flyer and found a donation box to put in the high school entrance on Friday the 7th. This past week we went around to friends’ houses collecting their heaps of Beanie Babies, and received a big donation of stuffed animals from New England Biolabs today. The final phase of the drive was to consolidate all of the Beanie Babies we had collected over the past week, and drive them down to an organization called Troop Support in Danvers, which ships goods to soldiers overseas free of charge.

My goals while working with Nancy Gallant and Time Well Spent were to improve the lives of others and to teach others about the rewards of serving the community. While I didn’t get to see it first hand, I hope that I improved the lives of some children living in war-torn countries by providing them with a token of comfort and peace in the form of a tiny stuffed animal. I never actually spoke to anyone about the rewards of community service, but hopefully through my actions and my demeanor while I was volunteering, people understood that helping others is worth their while.

I have to chuckle at Robbie’s description of my having the patience of a saint, knowing how often I’ve joked about having the pleasure, “and at times the pain,” of working with community service teens! The truth is that I want the experience to be an enjoyable one, it’s part of what community service should be about ~ participating in a way that is positive, that feeds the soul and lightens the spirit, little problems and glitches along the way and all.

To learn more about DeClutter For Good drive concept, click here.

DeClutter For Good ~ A Part of the Time Well Spent Plan Helping People in Need

Got a kick out of reading this description written in fall 2008, just before my first DeClutter For Good drive…

Click Here to read the full description if you don’t know what DeClutter For Good is all about!

Nancy at Cradles to Crayons

While it's ideal to quantify the impact of your efforts in social enterprise, and I did just that for quite a time, suffice to say I ran multiple drives for Cradles to Crayons and made many delivery trips, the car filled to the brim with donations, to their huge facility south of Boston. Here I am pictured with the organization's founder Lynn Margherio.

We’ve helped a lot of people in need through a lot of organizations since then… I’m overdue to write a follow-up, but here’s a list of the organizations I’ve passed along donations to thanks to DeClutter For Good drives:

Cornerstones Ipswich (toys, games, books, sports equipment)

More Than Words Books (books, books, books)

Wellspring House (business attire, garden tools)

Playing It Forward (sports equipment)

Cradles to Crayons (baby stuff, kids’s stuff, clothes and toys)

Solutions At Work (business attire)

Fairygodmother (Prom Dresses)

Lynn Community Health Center (books)

Troop Support Danvers (beanie babies – delivery pending!)

And, I haven’t even opened the doors of Time Well Spent as a working center yet! I’m so glad that I’ve taken this action-while-planning approach to the pre-launch. Think of all the people I’ve been able to help people help already! Time Well Spent…

Here’s to more of the same, and then some!

Carpe Diem ~ Nancy

The true meaning of Time Well Spent…

To those who check in regularly, are aware of my efforts with Time Well Spent, or have simply stumbled upon my weblog…

I’ve had to change gears and am spending time right now helping my mother (and father) through some health issues. They are 85 years young and filled with as much humor and love as ever, though they are just realizing they are “getting old” in terms of their physical bodies! For the time being, time spent with them, advocating for them and seeing to their needs emotionally and physically ~ sharing plenty of laughs and treasured memories with them along the way to be sure ~ is going to be my priority and most certainly the true-est way for me to know my time is well spent.

2005 pic of my folks with me after my "first" dance recital ~ ceili dancing with the moms at my daughter's Irish dance school's 10th anniversary recital! They are so supportive of me, even when they don't quite understand me ~ unconditional love of a parent ~ gotta love it!

 Plenty to learn about here in the meantime. Follow me on twitter and facebook (links are connected to my TWS logo and my photo) and/or sign up for my newsletter, knowing that things may be a little quiet on my efforts to launch my service-driven business for a while. I’ll be back with renewed conviction to my concept to help people in the suburbs live a quality life each day, for themselves, their families, those in need and the environment.

Until Next Time,  Peace & Good Health to you and all those you hold dear…

Carpe Diem,


P.S. JULY UPDATE  on my Mother’s Condition ~ Walking the Time Well Spent Walk with Work/Life Balance a Part of the Puzzle…

We did get a treatable diagnosis for my mother  and I think it is important to share in case it helps expedite just one person’s diagnosis who is suffering from PMR Disease. My mother received her diagnosis after a painful and painfully long week + (not too long in the grand scheme of thing but, gosh, it felt like forever).

So, now, with her permission, I’m telling everyone just a little about her experience PMR Disease ~ Poly Myalgia Rheumatica Disease … Just like it sounds! Many painful inflammatory autoimmune ~  I suggest “googling it” to anyone who knows of an older person with a sudden onset of pain or a supposed “worsening” of existing arthritis (a common misdiagnosis)… When you search for the description, there should be a pic of my mom (jk ~ she fit the symptoms to a T).

Happy news is it is treatable w/LOW dose steroids and my mother is feeling great and with renewed conviction to staying that way! She’s back to her water aerobics, improving her diet to healthier choices and has added some weight training… And, lest we forget, she is 85! Without disrespecting her privacy, I would just like to acknowledge the grace and good humor she carried throughout the ordeal, trying to brighten the day of doctors and nurses “because they see so much suffering.” She was more concerned about my seeing her in pain than the pain (which was excrutiating) itself. In a word, she was and is amazing

My mother jokes that she’s recovered more quickly than I have from the ordeal! True that! In all honesty, it’s given me the pause needed to be sure that I finish regrouping personally and professionally, increasing my likehood of ultimately achieving my vision for Time Well Spent. As impatient as I can be to make it a reality (I mean, I’ve had the idea since January 2008), taking the time, as I have been (note that 2008 was not exactly yesterday), to really work out the logistics while walking the walk and talking the talk, it’s going to be so worth it in the end… All the groundwork, preparation, hours of networking, brainstorming, sharing, regrouping, learning, teaching, helping… It all is, and will be ~ you guessed it ~ Time Well Spent.

A quote Mom always gives credit to my Aunt Rita for, “Patience is a virtue, catch it if you can, seldom in a woman, never in a man!”  Have to chuckle at the blatant sexism of the early 1900s!

Continued thanks for the support ~ and patience ~ on the part of all those who support my vision for Time Well Spent.

Wishing You a Happy and Safe Summer 2010!


p.s. I’m still updating the Time Well Spent facebook page with posts about social enterprise and all things “doing good through best business practices that consider the impact on all stakeholders.”  Check it out and say hello!