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Organizing Benefits from a Natural Disaster

Before Hurricane Sandy came barreling down on us here in the Northeast, I was prepared with flashlights, extra batteries, candles and water. Needing real food, I ventured into Fairway market, which on a typical Sunday is crowded, but on this past Sunday, was insane. Taking it in stride, I bought apples, hummus, rice cakes, fresh peanut butter, soymilk and salad fixings, then returned home and made my final preparation: a To Do list.

This guy was “bouncing off the walls” on the street during the storm!

On a regular Work At Home day, my To Do list keeps me focused on what needs to get done, and always includes the gym or a walk. But now that Sandy (and the city with its text alerts such as, “Go indoors immediately and remain inside.”) forced people to stay home, my list also kept me from bouncing off the walls.

By the afternoon, with most of my list (toss ten things, edit, reorganize totes, read, facial, paint night table, watch Homeland) crossed off, I put on my sneakers and headed out to climb the staircase. With 18 floors in my building, this is a great cardio work out in a pinch.

Before climbing, I dropped off two bags of garbage and a bag for recycle. But the blue recycle bins – which on an average day have a few newspapers in them

– were full. There were stacks of magazines, catalogs, glass candleholders, empty shoeboxes and a picture frame. Hhhmm, I wondered, as I walked up to the top floor, are others taking advantage of the storm to get rid of stuff too?

On the walk down, I detoured to the recycle bins on each floor. Sure enough, most were full. There was an old mini toaster oven, Tupperware, a plastic shelf unit, stain glass tchotchkes, TV and cable wires, a mirror, plates, holiday gift bags and even a genuine 80’s or

iginal – a Walkman. Yesiree, the bins were basking in good ole “Buh-Byes.” Turns out, as Mother Nature was wreaking havoc outside, pruning loose branches and shaky trees, those of us hunkered down inside, were pruning as well by cleaning out junk.

Thanks to Sandy, in a few days, when the sun returns and the winds have calmed down, we will look around – inside and outside – and see things a little less cluttered.

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