11 April 2010

Green is the New Cool...

Hello All! Happy SPRING!!

Due to the mainstream "green movement" many of us have switched to reusable grocery bags and maybe even aluminum water bottles, but did you know that "going green" can save you money? Did you know devices plugged up to power sources ("Phantom Load") but not turned on STILL use power and are actually on stand-by?

With a few minor changes, you can save money on utility bills and home/office supplies!

Read below for a few tips to make your home/office more energy efficient!


  • Use old toothbrushes for scrubbing small areas--like the grout between tiles. Soak the toothbrush in vinegar first to disinfect. 
  • Clean light bulbs to remove dust which reduces the brightness of the bulb. 
  • Take shoes off at the door. You will spend less time cleaning and fewer allergens will be tracked in. 
  • Use old shirts/cloth or reusable rags instead of paper towel for cleaning. 
  • Close shades or use heavier drapes in the summer to keep heat outside of the home. 
  • Grill and plan dinners that create less heat inside the home. Your A/C will have to work harder when you use the oven. 
  • Adjust your in-home clothes with the temperature. Wear more clothes in the winter and less in the summer. 
  • Check doors for drafts. Use weather stripping to keep hot or cool air from seeping out. 
  • Print on the back of sheets. 
  • Refrain from printing things that will be outdated soon. 
  • Use natural light, in place of artificial, when possible. 
  • Bring lunch in reusable containers. 
  • Use more natural light, even if you must rearrange furniture. Use mirrors to reflect the light. 
  • Purchase compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LED light bulbs, they last longer than the normal, incandescent bulb. A LED bulb lasts for 60,000 hours. 
  • Use the sleep function on your computer instead of letting it stay on all night. Set it to "go to sleep" after 30 minutes or 1 hour of inactivity.  
  • Eliminate "Phantom Load"/"Vampire Power" (electricity that is wasted by "standby" devices) by using a power strip and switching it "off" when the items plugged to it are not in use. 
If you are interested in learning how to make YOUR home or office more energy efficient and eco-friendly, contact BeSpoken Spaces for a FREE consultation. We will assess your energy and resource consumption to help you create a more streamlined, "green", and efficient lifestyle/daily routine!

Until Next Time, 


15 March 2010

Spring Cleaning: A Green Issue Part 2: The Recipies

Hello Readers!

As I mentioned in the last post, there are two ways to "go green" with your household cleaning habits: (1) purchase environmentally friendly products and (2) create your own!

So below I have included recipes for Soft Scrubber, Window Cleaner, Oven Cleaner, All-Purpose Spray Cleaner, Furniture Polish, Deodorizer, and a Mold Killer.

To make these cleaners, you will want to keep these key ingredients in your home: Baking Soda, Washing Soda, White Distilled Vinegar, Liquid Soap (use an eco-friendly one), 6 clean spray bottles, 2 glass jars.

1. Creamy Soft Scrubber
    1/2 cup of baking soda, add enough liquid detergent to make it thick like frosting. Scoop onto sponge, and
    wash the surface. Good for the bathtub. NOTE: add 1tsp of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a
    sealed glass jar to keep the product moist. Otherwise make it as needed.

2. Window Cleaner
    1/4 to 1/2tsp of liquid detergent, 3tbsp of vinegar, 2 cups of water, and spray bottle. Put all ingredients in
    a spray bottle and shake it up as you would a commercial brand. The soap cuts the wax residue from the
    commercial brands you might have previously used.

3. Oven Cleaner
    1 cup or more of baking soda, water, a squirt or two of liquid detergent. Sprinkle water generously over
    the bottom of the oven then cover the grime with baking soda so that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle
    some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next
    morning because the grime will have loosened. After majority has been cleaned up, dab a bit of liquid
    detergent or soap on a sponge and wash the remaining residue from the oven.

4. All-Purpose Spray Cleaner
    1/2 tsp of washing soda, a dab of liquid soap, 2 cups of hot tap water. Combine ingredients in a spray
    bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

5. Furniture Polish
    1/2 tsp of oil (olive oil or jojoba works best), 1/4 cup of vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Mix ingredients in a
    glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover that glass jar and store

6. Deodorizer
    Fill a spray bottle with straight 5% vinegar. Use it in your kitchen and bathroom for cleaning and
    deodorizing. The smell dissipates within a few hours. It is great for the toilet rim; just spray and wipe off.

7. Mold Killers
    Tea Tree Version: 2tsp of tea tree oil, 2 cups of water. Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and
    spray on problem areas, do not rinse.
    Vinegar Version: Vinegar kills 82% of mold. Spray onto moldy area and let it sit without rinsing if you can
    put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

There are many recipes out there, I found these on www.care2.com, if you have any cleaning recipes to share, please do so!

Thank you for reading!

Until next time...GET ORGANIZED (and healthy)!


12 March 2010

Spring Cleaning: A Green Issue

As the snow melts, many of us are reveling in the days where the sun greets us at 7am as opposed to driving to work in the dark. So as nature thaws and begins to renew itself, it's time for...


The arsenal of cleaning products we grew up with definitely aided moms in scouring EVERY surface in the home, but as we evolve, grow, and learn (as every species should) so does our awareness and methodology. 
So I'll keep this statement sweet and simple: the cleaning products we use today are (1) bad for the environment and (2) our health. 

Don't believe me? Take a look at the back label of your cleaning products.The one pictured says: "Hazardous to Humans & Domestic Animals" AND there's a First Aid section. If I get this product on my clothes, I'm suggested to take them off immediately. If I get the product on my skin, I'm supposed to rinse it for 15-20 mins AND call the Poison Control Center. 

But I clean my toilet seat with Lysol All Purpose Cleaner??

The harsh chemicals in our cleaners do not totally wash away. Many of them leave chemical traces. That means the cutting board I cleaned with bleach water still contains traces of bleach, which can be transferred to my food. Speaking of Bleach, aka Chlorine aka Hydrogen Chloride aka HYDROCHLORIC ACID, recent studies have found that women with Breast Cancer had 50-60% higher levels of organichlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissues than women without breast cancer. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is 2 to 5 times more contaminated than outdoor air. Check out the chart below: 

Product type
Harmful Ingredients
Potential hazards
Air Freshener & Deodorizer
Toxic; carcinogen; irritant- 
eyes, nose, throat, skin
may cause nausea, 
headaches, nosebleeds, 
dizziness, memory loss; 
shortness of breath.
Sodium hypochlorite
Corrosive; irritates/burns 
skin, eyes; may cause 
pulmonary edema or 
vomiting and coma
if ingested.
Flammable; very toxic; 
or cardiac damage.
Vapor irritating to eyes, 
respiratory tract, 
and skin; possible
chronic irritation.
Drain Cleaner
Sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye)
Caustic; irritant; 
inhibits reflexes;
burns to skin, 
eyes; poisonous 
if swallowed. 
Floor Cleaner Wax
Diethylene glycol
Toxic; causes central 
nervous system  
depression & kidney 
and liver lesions.
Petroleum solvents
Highly flammable; 
associated with skin
and lung cancer; 
irritant to skin, eyes, nose, 
throat, lungs.
Vapor irritation to 
eyes, respiratory
tract, and skin; 
possible chronic 
Furniture Polish
Petroleum distillates or mineral spirits
Highly flammable; 
moderately toxic;
associated with skin 
and lung cancer; irritant 
to skin, eyes, nose, 
throat, lungs; entry
into lungs may cause
pulmonary edema.
Oven Cleaner
Sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye)
Caustic; irritant; 
inhibits reflexes; 
burns to skin, 
eyes; poisonous 
if swallowed due 
to severe tissue
Spot Remover
Perchlorethylene or trichloroethane
Slow decomposition; 
liver and kidney 
is suspected 
Ammonium hydroxide
Corrosive; vapor 
extremely irritable
to skin, eyes, and
respiratory passages; 
ingestion causes tissue 
Sodium hypochlorite
Corrosive; irritates 
skin, eyes, respiratory 
tract; may cause
pulmonary edema 
and skin burns.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Sodium acid sulfate or oxalate or hypochloric acid
Corrosive; burns 
from skin contact
or inhalation; ingestion
may be fatal.
Chlorinated phenols
Flammable; very 
toxic; respiratory
cardiac damage.
Window Cleaner
Diethylene glycol
Toxic; causes central
nervous system 
depression and
degenerative lesions 
in liver and kidneys.
Vapor irritating to 
eyes, respiratory
tract, and skin;
possible chronic 

So does this mean I can't clean my home anymore? Of course not! There are MANY eco/health conscious products you can use to clean your home. From the research I've done, there are two ways to clean your home the "green way": (1) make your own cleaning solvents or (2) purchase green brands.

Here are some of the "green brands" I suggest (click the name to visit their websites): 
2. Planet  (they specialize in detergents and washing liquid) 

If any of you use other green cleaning products, do share. 

You can find many of these products at major grocery chains, Trader Joes, or online for purchase. 

I know some of these products cost much more than your regular cleaners, but keep in mind how much you are saving on medical bills and sick days by switching to products that are not as disruptive to your health or the environment. 

Stay tuned for the next blog, I will give you recipes to create your own cleaners! 

Until next time...STAY ORGANIZED (and healthy!), 



Hello Everyone! 

Well, it looks like Spring has sprung in Michigan and we are ALL happy about that! 

As sure as the season is changing, BeSpoken Spaces is going through some GREAT changes as well! For those of you in the Northwest Detroit area, we will have our first ad in the Rosedale Tattler! So if you are ever near the Rosedale neighborhood in Detroit, pick up a community paper and tell us what you think! 

In April, we will launch our new, and permanent website! I wish I could show it to you guys, but I must keep it a secret until then...alas, the suspense is killing me! But, I can say this: in conjunction with the site launch, we will have a really exciting opportunity for one lucky person. Those all the beans I can spill...

So follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be "in the know" at all times!  

Don't forget about the Referral Program! Refer a client, earn $50! 

We will have even more updates to come! 

Until next time, STAY ORGANIZED! 


11 February 2010

How to pack for vacation

Snow. Lots of it. Especially out East. For those of us who feel life is interrupted by droves of snow and need a reprieve, our solution is vacationing in a warmer climate. 

During the winter, most of us have tendencies to "bulk up": we gain weight, we wear layers of clothes, we wear bulky coats, and lots of boots. However, we cannot take this mentality on the road to warmer climates. So let's look at ways to make packing for your vacation easier. 

I am always anxious to reach my destination, and now, I hate paying for extra luggage (boo to you airlines!), so I have become the Queen of Carry-on Luggage. Here are tips to organize your packing and NOT forget your essential items...

1. Check the Weather: Most people check the weather, but be sure to look at the evening forecasts for your travel destination. If it is going to rain, be sure to pack a SMALL compact umbrella and maybe take a hat or outerwear with a hood for extra protection. Even if it's not supposed to rain, bring that umbrella. 

2. Plan your Itinerary: If you are going to visit family or friends, find out what plans they have in mind. If you are vacationing somewhere without visiting locals, search online and read about your destination. Plan your activities ahead. As a personal rule of thumb, I always pack an evening dress (for dancing), walking shoes, and 2 tee-shirts (for leisure/pajamas). 

3. Lay Out Your Wears: Now that you've done your research, lay out all the clothes you think you will bring on the trip. Now put half of them back. No seriously, you're probably over packing. Here's an example: unless you plan on wearing jeans everyday, you do not need more than 1 or 2 pairs. Bottoms can be worn more than once, so bring a few bottoms but more tops! Also, keep your clothing choices centered around 2 or 3 pair of shoes, of which, 1 of those pair you will wear on the plane. 

4. Toiletries - Size Does Matter: TRAVEL SIZE IS YOUR FRIEND! You don't have to purchase travel size items any more, you can purchase little, clear, reusable containers and add you favorite lotions and soaps. Just label them so you don't confuse lotion for soap in the shower. When it comes to the makeup bag, pack makeup that compliments the clothes you are bringing along. You do not need every lip color you own on a 5-day trip.  

5. Shoes, A Women's Best Friend, Packing's Worse Enemy: We love our shoes, but we can't bring every pair! If you are vacationing for 5 days, you could get away with 3 pair of shoes. Bring a sexy/super cute pair of heels for the "it" dress or outfit you are bringing for a night on the town, and 2 pair of comfortable, but cute shoes for walking and everyday wear. Ballerina flats, cute gym shoes, gladiator sandals, and Haviana's (my all-time favorite flip flop) are all great options. If you pick shoes that can be flattened, you may be able to squeeze in an extra pair! 

6. Body Prep-Time: Get manis and pedis prior to your trip, or make that part of your plan, but DO NOT bring nail polish. If the top is not on tight enough, that could be a very bad situation. If you just have to bring polish, put it in a ziploc bag; if it leaks, it will not mess up other items. Shave legs and and get your hair done prior to the trip to eliminate extra items. Plan hairstyles ahead of time and bring lots of bobby pins, hair pins, and ponytail holders. You never know what may happen. 

7. Lady Parts!: Now that you have picked out your outfits, be sure to bring the appropriate undergarments. Don't forget your strapless bra, from those special "numbers". I always bring extra underwear because I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

8. Accessorize!: This is a hard one. The best advice I can give is to lay out each outfit and pick out jewelry that  goes with each. Then, try to "cross" some of the jewelry by wearing some pieces more than once. Bring a few pairs of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that match all of your outfits. DO NOT pack your fine jewelery. Wear it on the plane, you would rather be safe than sorry. 

9. Don't Air Your Dirty Laundry: When I pack, I ALWAYS bring a dry-cleaning bag (or grocery bag) for my dirty clothes. This makes unpacking easier, and you do not have to worry about soiled clothes touching cleaner clothes. That's kinda gross. 

10. Put It ALL Together: Now it's time to actually pack the clothes. I found some really neat ideas on Real Simple, so view the link below. There's a 3-minute video with techniques on packing without getting your clothes extra wrinkled. Take a look at the link below: 

Happy Winter! :) 

OH yes! Please don't forget to check out the website! Follow us on Twitter! Become a Fan on Facebook! 

03 February 2010

How to go paperless (or near paperless)

Happy February everyone! 

I hope this year has been filled with as much productivity as possible. 

While I have been working diligently at leading an organized life over the years, I realized my biggest problem was PAPER! School work, bills, magazines, and other papers were not only taking over my life but also accumulating at a steady pace. During my time with BeSpoken Spaces, I've realized that a lot of our clients have paper problems. Whether it's mail or small notes, there's paper tucked away in every room of our homes and offices. 

So, while The New Year is still new, let's look at some ways to make a paperless (or near paperless) life possible! 

  1. Meet Online Statements, They are your friend: Almost any company you may have a relationship with has online statements. Cell phone companies, student loans, banking institutions, and everyone between has an option to go "paperless" and depending on the company, they will give you a cash incentive to do so! This does not mean you have to pay your bills online, you can still use whatever method you choose.
  2. Use Those E-mail/Cell Phone Contacts!: If you are constantly checking your email on the phone, why not input all of the random business cards and slips of paper housing numbers in your email/cell phone contacts? Most, if not all, email systems have options to save phone numbers, addresses, and lots of other information under each contact. So save the number and toss the paper!
  3. Love Magazines? Newspapers? Read them online!: Many of your favorite publications now offer online subscriptions! You can read Wall Street Journal or People Magazine online and without the hassle of accumulating periodicals. 
  4. Print When Your Life Depends Upon it!: Print a report for your boss if he will not accept an electronic copy. Don't print every interesting article you find on Essence.com. Need I explain more? 
  5. Recycle!: It's inevitable that we will encounter paper in life. If we don't create it, someone else will give it to us. Shred and recycle the papers you do not need. For the papers you accumulate that are VERY important, scan them onto your computer and keep them filed electronically. If you fear someone may hack your computer, use a USB drive!

Paper is an relentless foe, but YOU can overcome it! There is more to be discussed, but for brevity, I will leave that for another post! 

DON'T FORGET to send your questions via Twitter, Facebook, or Email (lauren@BeSpokenSpaces.com)! Your questions will make future posts! 

Until Next Time
~Lauren  :) 

07 January 2010

Reader Question: Tied up, tangled up

Hello all!

One of the blog's faithful readers sent an organizing question via Twitter (www.twitter.com/LaurenOrganizes). Here's her question:

How can I keep cords for everyday things from getting tangled? Is it true if you wrap them u can cause a short in it?

Whether you are trying to conquer cords that are currently in use, or figure out what to do with cords that are not in use, there are lots of solutions! Let's look as some...

  1. Twisty Ties!: Wrapping your cords in a figure-8 and then securing them with a twisty tie (read: trash ties) will keep small and wiry cords from tangling. 
  2. Toilet Paper Rolls!: Wrap the cord into a figure-8 and then slide it into the toilet paper roll. Next you can label the roll to signify which type of cord/wire/cable you have inside! Takes away the guess work. 
  3. Cable Ties!: We use these at home and they are my favorite for making the wires behind the TV stand, or computer desk, neat.  Use the cable ties to group wires and then cut the excess off the tie to keep it nice and neat. Cable ties can also be used for cables/wires/cords that are not currently being used. 
  4. Rubber Band!: Oh the wonderful multi-purposed uses of the rubber band! For cords you use frequently (eg: flat irons and blow dryer), use a rubber band to secure cords. A lot of small appliances have an L-shaped cord (it's L-shaped where the cord and the appliance meet), so it would be best to wrap the cord, in a figure-8 until that section. Secure it with a rubber band.    
  5. Trouser Sock!: Use a trouser sock, or any sock, to keep cords neat! Cut the toe of the sock off and slip the sock around the cords to keep them all in one place! 
  6. Cassette Tape Case!: Yes, I know in this technological age, people don't use tapes, but for those of us who still have tape cases lying around, you can use them to store USB cords (think Ipod or camera) and earbuds. 
There are also organizing solutions you can purchase to keep your cords in check. Take a look at this video on RealSimple! One of my favorite websites!

After consulting with an electrician, excessive pulling, bending, stretching, and smashing is what causes shorts in cords. The actions have to be excessive and abrasive to break the delicate wires inside the cord. THIS is what causes electrical shorts wires. So, be careful and use the figure-8 when storing cords because it creates soft loops that are less damaging to the internal wires.

Let's get the cords under control!

Until Next Time...