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janetporcaro, Author at JANET PORCARO

Green Organizing With Space to Breathe

Green Organizing With Space to Breathe

Featured 5-Star Service Provider:
Space to Breathe, Karen Kramer
Professional Organizing Services for your home and office

Contact Karen

When you are planning a move, it is a good idea to leverage and find some help with organizing. In fact, even if you are not planning a move, you can benefit from Karen’s environmentally sensitive approach to managing your home and/or office space.

Hiring Karen Kramer was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  After moving between four different states over the last ten years and being a busy professional, I had a 2000 sq ft house that was totally cluttered.  I hated the idea of going through all the piled-up papers and boxes but Karen was right beside me all the way in her patient manner, keeping me on track.  We decluttered my entire house including the two-car garage in about six sessions.  I am now healthier, a lot happier, and am no longer wasting money buying duplicate items.  Plus, I saved so much by realizing I did not need remodeling – I just needed to organize what I had.  I use every room in my house now and feel so much more at peace when I am at home. ~Client Testimony Space to Breathe
Karen’s services include:
  • clear out clutter
  • create structure & systems to keep your “stuff” organized
  • manage the flow of papers in your home and office
  • create an efficient, smooth-running office space
  • find recycling resources
  • cultivate the habits necessary to keep things organized
  • manage time with priority given to your goals & values
  • manage stress
  • create appealing work and living spaces
  • learn and utilize feng shui basics
  • green organizing Click to learn how Green Organizing habits help achieve your goals while respecting the environment.

Karen says, “The technological revolution has stressed us all, bringing paper to overwhelm, information overload, and continual changes . . . all on a 24/7 basis!  Most of us were never taught organizing skills and strategies.  No wonder there’s too little time, too much clutter, and it’s so hard to accomplish our goals.” 

What is green organizing? One way to define it is “An environmentally-friendly approach to professional organizing, emphasizing the principles of Reduce, Re-Use, and Recycle.”  And whether one calls it Green Organizing, Eco-Organizing, or Earth-Friendly Organizing, “green” activities naturally come into play as I help my clients to simplify and balance their lives.

Karen is a professional organizer with a prior career as a psychotherapist, and a life-long love of organizing things.

Downsizing: the Best is Yet to Come!

Downsizing: the Best is Yet to Come!

Thursday, September 26, 2019, from 6 to 8 PM
Staples Spotlight Studio, 1660 Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02135


Does the thought of moving make you want to run for cover?
Are you overwhelmed with “stuff”?
Are you tired of carrying the expenses of a house full of empty rooms?
Downsizing can improve the quality of your life! This is a great opportunity to meet a panel of 5-star professionals. Garner great tips breaking down the process into manageable bites.

Meet the professionals who can help!

Deb Ellis and Marcus Rezza, Deb Ellis Designs
Diana Eastty, Well Ordered Spaces
Greg Giokas, RMS Mortgage
Lauren Wirth, Clean Out Your House

Presented by:
Janet Porcaro
Keller Williams Realty

Hiring a Landscaper or Pest Control Company? What You Should Know

Hiring a Landscaper or Pest Control Company? What You Should Know

Thanks to Guest Author, Ellie Goldberg, health-kids.info


Don’t be fooled by names that sound “environmentally friendly.” You need to be cautious and skeptical to avoid being poisoned.

A company named “EnviroGreen” or “Organo-Lawn” doesn’t mean that you are safe. Don’t be fooled by a picture of a tree, a child, a rabbit, a dog or a sunrise on the label​.

Don’t trust ​claims such as “safe” or “natural.” Words that sound tame but mean “poison” include “weed n’ feed,” “pre-emergent,” “grub control,” and “fungus treatment.”

These products can give you, your family, and your neighbors headaches, rashes, nausea and breathing difficulties as well as a variety of chronic health problems.


Don’t believe any contractor who suggests that chemicals are the only answer to pest problems. Be wary of special deals, free offers, and high-pressure sales tactics.

Avoid any contractor who suggests using pesticides on a fixed schedule or ​”​four-step​”​ programs to “prevent” pests or as a general treatment regardless of the extent or location of the pest problem.

Many contractors market their services as “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) to appeal to your good intentions or ​to ​take advantage of your trust and ignorance.

NOFA, the Massachusetts Organic Farming Association (www.nofamass.org), is the only organization that has organic land care standards and a training and accreditation program for organic land care professionals (organiclandcare.net).


Trustworthy professionals take the time to learn about your family, your house and yard. What is the pattern of sun and shade? What is its history of problems? What are your family’s patterns of use? Do you have children or pets? Is anyone in the family especially ​​vulnerable (very young​, elderly or have allergies, asthma or cancer)?

If you have a pest problem, the experts first identify the pest. Then they can suggest how to remedy conditions to prevent the weeds or bugs.

For example, in the yard, you might need to fix poor drainage or ​compacted ​soil. Inside you may need to fix a drippy faucet, caulk a crack, or clear clutter to deprive pests of food, water, entry and hiding places. A plan for your lawn or garden needs to start with a soil test for soil fertility and lead or other contaminants.


What you don’t know can hurt you. If they suggest using a chemical or synthetic product, ask for the product label and manufacturer’s safety data sheet (MSDS).

Watch out for “inert” ingredients. These so-called “inerts” are​ trade secrets (by law). Manufacturers do not disclose them to the public or even to the US EPA yet they may be more toxic than the active ingredients on the label.

“Inert” does not mean biologically inactive. Inert ingredients transport or carry the active ingredient, amplify its toxicity, increase its active life, and/or increase its ability to stick to or penetrate your skin.


NO PESTICIDE IS SAFE even when it is used according to label directions. A “pesticide” is any product used to kill insects, weeds, rodents or fungus.

The US EPA registration does NOT mean “approved.” And, Federal Law prohibits safety claims that directly or even indirectly imply that a pesticide is approved or endorsed by any federal agency. The law prohibits claims such as “non-toxic to humans and pets,” “safe when used as directed” or even “all-natural ingredients.”

Contractors who dismiss your concerns or downplays the risks of any product, even “natural pesticides,” should not be trusted with the health and well-being of your family.

Even “natural” products ​can be irritating to eyes, nose, lungs, and skin so caution is always appropriate. (Remember poison ivy is natural. www.poison-ivy.org)


​Books: ​
The Chemical-Free Lawn by Warren Schultz
Common Sense Pest Control, by Olkowski, Daar, and Olkowski.

Grassroots Environmental Education (www.grassrootsinfo.org)
NOFA, Massachusetts Organic Farming Association (www.nofamass.org)
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (www.pesticide.org)
Beyond Pesticides (www.beyondpesticides.org)
Pesticide Action Network (www.panna.org)

Send your questions and comments to Ellie Goldberg, ellie.goldberg@healthy-kids.info

1. Relies on poisons (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides).
2. Ignores the source of pest problems. (Allows conditions to get worse.)
3. Kills off beneficial plants and insects.
4. Pollutes water, soil, food, and air and contaminates buildings and landscapes.
5. Harms people, pets and wildlife.

1. Relies on a plan. (Don’t spray ’em, outsmart ’em!)
2. Prevents and corrects the source of pest problems. (Improves conditions.)
3. Protects soil fertility and biodiversity.
4. Protects the quality of water, soil, food, and air and enhances the quality of buildings and landscapes.
5. Protects the health and safety of our families and community.

A Remarkable Home with Historic Significance in Newton

A Remarkable Home with Historic Significance in Newton

Step back in time with this stunning Victorian era Gothic/Greek Revival lovingly restored and updated and modernized over the years.

The sheltering wrap-around porch is supported by a set of hand-turned Doric columns. The pitch of the roof is steep with deep curves and at the peak of the front façade, a diamond-shaped window echoes the sharp roof point. The grounds have been professionally landscaped with mature flowering, plantings, tiered gardens, brick walkways. a stone fire pit, and a stone patio water fountain.

The living room surrounded by original Richardson ceiling to floor summer windows which are unique as described by the current owner.

“The lower sash, larger than the upper sash, is designed to lift up into the wall cavity, maximizing the opening for fresh air. The main part of the house is shaped like a fat “T”, which results in almost all rooms containing windows on at least two faces. The tall ceilings, large windows, and shade from the large trees kept (and keeps) the house cool, even in the heat of the summer.”

Floor to ceiling windows

Floor to ceiling windows

Beautiful archway and restored stairway

Beautiful archway and restored stairway

Spacious eat-in kitchen with Granite Counters and fully functional 1939 Glenwood Stove. Seller offers an allowance for the buyer to have the stove replaced. Oak floors replaced and finished to period detail, features eco-friendly bamboo flooring, some original sweetheart pine floors, the kitchen is finished in Ash and Dining room in Brazilian Cherry.

Antique stove fully operational

Antique stove fully operational

Ash and Brazilian Cherry

Ash and Brazilian Cherry

Sun-filled bedrooms feature original moldings and ample storage. The second floor Juliet Balcony was designed to bridge across to the backyard terrace.

Master Bedroom with Juliet Balcony

Bedroom with Juliet Balcony

Ornate Bay Window

Ornate Bay Window

Second floor laundry room

Second floor laundry room

All full baths have heated radiant tile flooring.

Updated baths with marble and large shower

Updated baths with marble and large shower

The History
Around 1864, an unmarried woman named Priscilla Frothingham built her summer cottage in the style of a Greek Revival. She referred to the property as her “Woodside Cottage.” Since the Boston and Worcester Railroad created a Newtonville train stop in 1860, many Bostonians found Newton to be the perfect summer destination. The railroad system made ornamental architectural details and metal parts affordable. This beautiful home is filled with many unique decorations and flourishes. History has it that Priscilla lived in the home for many years with her companion, Hannah Allen. The 1855 state census and 1870 federal census indicate women, born in Ireland, lived in the maids’ quarters as housekeepers. She also had maids living in the quarters located over the

Historical significance

Historical significance

kitchen. When the home was built, it was pre-Victorian and over the years, the house was “modernized” more in the Victorian fashion. As was done in the day, the house was originally heated by fireplaces. Later there were hot water radiators installed which were fueled by coal. In the heat of summer, the tall ceilings, large windows, and shade from the large trees kept (and keeps) the house cool. It is rumored that during the Civil War, Priscilla’s nephew, a minister in Salem, was involved in the Underground Railroad. In the 1920’s Betty Davis was reported as having slept in the house occasionally while attending Newton North High School. Listed on the National Register of Historic places, circa 1846, this beautiful home is a treasure.

MLS # 72530283
480 Walnut St, Newton, MA 02460
Offered at $1,649,000
12 rooms
5 bedrooms
2x full baths
1x half bath
Living area 3,648 sq. ft.
Lot size: 24,342 sq. ft

The listing broker is Greer Tan Swiston

If you would like a Buyer Agent’s advice as you tour the home, contact me at Janet@JanetPorcaro.net or call 617-797-9497.

The information in this listing was gathered from third-party sources including the seller and public records. MLS Property Information Network and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations or warranties as to the accuracy of this information. Content ©2011 MLS Property Information Network, Inc.

How to Prepare Your Budget for an Unexpected Home Repair

How to Prepare Your Budget for an Unexpected Home Repair

For many people, owning a home is the quintessential American dream. However, without due diligence and a financial plan, it’s easy to lose sight of the true costs of homeownership. While some costs can be accounted for up-front, such as a monthly mortgage and home insurance, the unknown costs that are the hardest to budget for are the various updates and repairs that will eventually come with time.

A house is not too different than a living organism in that it’s made up of many elements that work together harmoniously. Whether it’s electrical, structural, or mechanical, each component requires specific care and maintenance to keep it running at optimal performance and to prevent premature breakdowns. Over the years, these items will eventually need to be addressed as newer, more efficient systems come to market or a breakdown leads to a major repair.

Scoping Out Repairs

When assessing any work on your home, you’ll need to make a determination on the scope of the repair. If your home requires major repairs, you should budget accordingly, as larger scale projects generally require more materials and labor. Some cities require permits and inspections that are meant to meet city code and safety standards. Other factors you’ll want to consider are the age of your home, the builder grade of the materials, and even the environment where you live. These factors can impact the life expectancy for some of your home’s larger items, like the roofing.

Replacing a Roof

Despite your best efforts to maintain your roof, even the strongest, best-kept roofs could need replacing. Ice can wreak havoc, and if you’ve had your current roof for more than ten years, imagine its condition after weathering the unforgiving New England winter climate. Once you’ve determined that your roof needs to be replaced, you’ll need to budget for materials, labor, and disposal. While the costs of the raw materials will vary depending on the quality, it’s estimated that labor will most likely account for 40 to 50 percent of the overall cost.

Hiring a Contractor

Who you hire for any major repair work is a big decision to make. You’ll naturally want to find someone who offers the highest caliber of craftsmanship at the best rate. It can be difficult to find someone who does both, but referrals from friends, neighbors, and a local realtor can help you narrow down the best options. Be sure to do your homework before talking with any contractors, and know what questions to ask them as you shop around for quotes. The estimates will help you set expectations for how to budget for repairs. If the replacement is not an emergency, you might want to schedule the work for late winter or early spring when roofers might offer off-season discounts.

Saving Up for a Rainy Day

Sometimes the unexpected happens, and a tree may come crashing down and damage part of your roof. In the event of an emergency, you’ll have to address the problem immediately. While financial emergencies do happen, you don’t have to be caught off-guard. A rainy-day fund for repairing the damage from an actual rainy day can help ensure that you have some capital available to pay for the unexpected. This doesn’t mean you have to siphon off large amounts of your paycheck, but ways you can save include asking your parents for help, taking out a personal loan, or even taking out a home equity line of credit to borrow money for the repairs. You might also find that incremental savings ultimately add up and make all the difference as you weather the financial storm for when those rainy days hit.

Although homeownership has many costs associated with it, a little preventative maintenance can help prevent those costs from swelling to unaffordable amounts. Yet, even the most well-maintained homes are eventually faced with expensive repairs. When that happens, it’s best to be prepared.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Guest post by Julian Lane