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 VOL. 9, ISSUE 3 - MARCH 2016

In This Issue

Time to Tidy Up!

Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

Your Old iPod Can Help a Senior with Memory Loss

Consumer Feedback:
Air Flow Pros

Diamond Certified Companies

Savvy Tips of the Month

Window Covering Tips

Hiring Licensed Contractors

Clean Up Pet Stains Right Away

Diamond Certified Quick Links






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Time to Tidy Up!

Decluttering your home can make you realize how much extra stuff you’ve accumulated, like these bobbleheads Chris found. Photo: Chris Bjorklund, 2016

I’ve been tidying up my house since mid-January. To be truthful, I didn’t intentionally set out to declutter and reorganize my home. Instead, it was a byproduct of my latest home improvement project. After nine years, it was time to re-paint a bathroom, three bedrooms and all the closets in my house. Every organizer will tell you to completely empty your closets and then edit the things you’re going to put back into them. So, that’s how my tidying got started. Now, I’m continuing to tackle other rooms and even our garage. I’m on a roll!

Popular organizing books suggest only keeping things that you truly love and giving or throwing away everything else. This is easier said than done, but it’s a good starting point. One strategy is to put similar items together in one pile when you’re sorting clothes. Jackets, for example, should be pulled from all closets so you can easily see how many you have and eliminate duplicates. It’s a good idea to leave the sorting of sentimental things like photos and letters for later.

The other issue that comes with decluttering is what to do with all the stuff you no longer want or need. I hate throwing away things that can be reused or recycled, so I spent a lot of time finding out where to turn in old eyeglasses, expired medications, e-waste like phone chargers and DVD players, unusable paint, and a bad mattress and box springs. Fortunately, I found a new home for a trundle bed with a nonprofit that helps homeless families transition to apartments. But I won’t kid you—this took a lot of time.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that my husband would become motivated, too. He donated dozens of old ties, books, luggage, hats and sweatshirts. He was shocked at what had accumulated over the last 25 years. We delivered cartons of photo albums, yearbooks and report cards to our young adult children. Along with Giants’ bobbleheads and trolls, I found an old Nintendo and a collector’s set of Wayne Newton albums. I’m still thinking about what to do with those.

To help you get started on your spring cleanup, I’m listing a number of sources for recycling and donating items in the Bay Area.

Expired medications: Take Back Your Meds
Eyeglasses: Eye Sight for All
E-waste and hazardous materials: Local garbage companies
Old furniture: Goodwill and Salvation Army
Children’s clothing: Loved Twice
Medical equipment: ReCARES
Career clothing: Dress for Success
Unused toiletries: Glide Memorial
Books and magazines: Public libraries (call first)
Used toothbrushes: Preserve

If you have more suggestions, feel free to post them on our Facebook page.

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris BjorklundChris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer

Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

Diamond Certified® Preferred Customer Card

Have you signed up to become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer? Membership is always free and comes with numerous benefits, including a special member hotline, members-only access to additional tools on, a double Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee and more. Join now to get a free copy of the 2016 Winter Diamond Certified Directory Update! Visit to get started.

Your Old iPod Can Help a Senior with Memory Loss

If you have an old iPod, consider donating it to Music & Memory. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2016

If you’ve seen the documentary “Alive Inside,” you know about the research and work that’s being done to help people with dementia reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories. The Music & Memory project began in 2006 with Dan Cohen’s simple idea: if he grew old in a nursing home, he knew he would want to listen to all his favorite ’60s music. He was surprised to learn that most long-term care facilities didn’t have iPods for residents, so he decided to create personalized playlists at a local nursing home to see how people would react. The iPods and playlists were such a hit that Music & Memory has gone on to implement programs at hundreds of care facilities in the United States and Canada.

One of the reasons this program has expanded so cost-effectively is that people are donating their old iPods. Music & Memory accepts all Apple music players, and the postage is even free. Each device is cleaned and then loaded with someone’s favorite music. Get more information at


Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

Dear Diamond Certified,

Recently, the furnace in my house shut down. PG&E explained what was wrong and told me I needed to contact a heating company to make the repair. I used the Diamond Certified Directory to find a company that could come out and do the job.

I talked with Air Flow Pros Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, they arrived at my home and made the repair in quick order. The job was well-handled, the price was fair and my home is comfortable again. I wasn’t sure I would be part of your customer surveys, so I decide to write to you.

Thank you, Diamond Certified, for listing worthy companies, and in my case, bravo to Air Flow Pros.

—M.N., San Francisco

Diamond Certified ® Only companies rated Highest in Quality earn Diamond Certified

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified


Building Pros
Danville – (925) 838-7767
MAC Members
Fremont – (510) 279-4602
San Leandro – (510) 569-1600

J. Hettinger Interiors
Alamo – (925) 820-9336
Schicker Luxury Shower Doors, Inc.
Concord – (925) 676-5040
Landscape Werks Inc
Gold River – (888) 743-2540
Kodiak Construction
Martinez – (925) 685-1244
Accutech Auto Care
Pinole – (510) 724-2000
Laural Landscapes, Inc.
Walnut Creek – (925) 332-5166
Atlas Pavers Co.
Walnut Creek – (925) 852-7438
Smart Energy Solutions
Yolo – (844) 787-7888

Cartex One Stop Auto

San Jose – (408) 292-6442
Mr. Tint
San Jose – (408) 247-8468

Mike Young - Real Estate Broker/Agent

Soquel – (831) 234-1545

Paradise Pet Resorts

Rohnert Park – (707) 206-9000

American Ratings Corporation - Diamond Certified • 504 Redwood Blvd. • Suite 210 Novato, California 94947 • (877) 312-1307
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