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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Clutter-Free Evening with

Author and Organizer Jamie Novak

By Barbara Battles & Rosemary Gohd, SBPL Staff

We had a fantastic turn-out at the South Brunswick Public Library on Tuesday evening, May 17, for our Get Organized Today event with celebrity organizer Jamie Novak.

Jamie was a very exciting speaker; not only did she provide many bits of

useful information about organizing your home, office, car, and life but she was also engaging and entertaining. While book-signing, she generously answered every person's questions in detail, neither hurried nor judgmental.

During the workshop, the world's most relatable organizer focused on her "3 steps for peace of mind." She advised the clutter-challenged to first: set a timer for 18 minutes, confront a pile of clutter and pick one thing in it. Second: Make a decision about the chosen item or unfinished project and follow through immediately! Third (and most important): keep it that way! Tackling a pile 18 minutes at a time, she says, makes the job effective but not overwhelming.

In reference to paper piles, her advice is instead of doing the "scoop and dump" before guests arrive, use a desktop box for hanging files or an expandable file folder. Keep it in a public area, she advised, such as the kitchen, to ensure you maintain the contents as their usefulness expires.

Certainly, every one of the 60 or so clutter-free wannabes in the audience went away with some encouragement and new-found skills. My personal favorite was to have a "lost and found" box in my home.

As attendees said their good-byes, she pleaded with them to go straight home and attack even just one bit of their clutter and disorganization that very night. Big clutter problems go away "one bite at a time!" She seemed confident we would succeed once and for all as she wished each of us to "have a clutter-free life!"

Jamie brought copies of her latest book Stop Throwing Away Money which she autographed for those who purchased a copy. You can find Jamie Novak on her website at where you can register to get her newsletters, as well as on Martha Stewart's Whole Living website: go to the Community tab, select "experts' blog" from the dropdown menu and then click "organization" in the left-hand column.

Don't miss her weekly Bite Size Radio Show on Wednesdays at noon on BlogTalkRadio. In addition to the radio, she has been found in television shows on HGTV and QVC.

This Library event was generously sponsored by the Friends of the South Brunswick Public Library. Thank you to everyone who helps support our Friends!

If you missed Jamie's workshop don't despair. The Library has many free resources to help you de-clutter and organize your life.

After her first visit with us more than a year ago, the Library formed its De-Clutter Club. It is an open group for individuals to meet informally and brainstorm de-clutter ideas. They meet at the Library the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in Program Room 1A/1B. Members all have tried to clear away the clutter and to organize their lives and the members share their challenges and successes.

The next meeting of the De-Clutter Club is on June 2. We will determine at that meeting if we will continue to meet during the summer or decide to take July and August off and resume meetings again in the fall. Check the library's event calendar on our website at for updates and to read the library's De-Clutter blog.

The Library also has numerous books and magazines to borrow on the topic, including Real Simple, Martha Stewart's Living and Whole Living.

By the way, if you are purging important files there is free help in South Brunswick from Middlesex County on June 4. (Jamie suggests a seven-year life for some documents, but check her website for more details.) County residents can recycle their old documents and confidential files safely and securely on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to noon for free at the South Brunswick Senior Center, next door to the Municipal Building on Ridge Road. Please do not bring books, magazines, newspapers, or plastics. For more information, pick up a flyer at the Library or contact the County Division of Solid Waste Management at 732-745-4170,

As Jamie says, "have a clutter-free life!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seventh Annual Not Just Beef Steak Dinner - Fundraiser by the South Brunswick Library Foundation

SBPL Blog: Seventh Annual Not Just Beef Steak Dinner

The South Brunswick Public Library Foundation's seventh annual all-you-can-eat fundraiser held on Saturday, April 30 at the South Brunswick Senior Center.

By Rosemary Gohd, Library staffer

It was not so much the filet mignon, though it was tender and juicy, or even the cause of helping the Library, though it is a worthy one. No, it was an overwhelming sense of community that really seemed the biggest draw on the evening of April 30.

More than 130 people came together from all corners of South Brunswick Township, hugging and kissing, greeting old friends, meeting new ones. Leading the way were Susan Edelman, Foundation Member and President of the Friends of the Library, and her husband Gary Edelman. Mr. Edelman and newest Foundation member Anne Borbely were everywhere at once helping to sell raffle tickets and such throughout the event while Mrs. Edelman emceed.

Always around when someone needs a helping hand was Trustee Arthur Roedel Jr. and wife Debbie, along with guests from their Monmouth Mobile Home Park. Staking out a large table in back was Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, his wife Suzanne, who is President of the Library Board of Trustees, and several other FOP members and guests.

Holding court at a table on the port side of the room were Mayor and Mrs. Frank Gambatese, both Library Trustees. This fundraiser was the brainchild of Mrs. Gambatese, Vice President of the Board and Liaison to the Foundation, when it was first held seven years ago. Chatting with guests as warmly as if they had just stepped through her own front door, she seemed glad to see so many coming together once again for the Library.

The event has certainly grown in popularity since its beginnings. More guests than expected arrived to purchase the $45 per seat tickets, eventually prompting the addition of four dining tables.

Among those present were many notable community leaders. In addition to the Edelmans, Roedels, Gambateses, and Hayduckas, were: Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray, Councilmen John G. O'Sullivan, Charlie Carley, and Joseph J. Camarota Jr.; and Tom Libassi of the South Brunswick YMCA. Also: too numerous to list were representatives of the Library Board of Trustees, Friends of the Library, and Library Foundation; Mark and Ginny Kraft and guests of the SBHS Music Department, and guests of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey.

After opening remarks of gratitude and good cheer from Foundation President Bill Stolting, the meal was served by a new caterer this year, The Brownstone. Yes, the same one owned by a family featured in the reality television show The Housewives of New Jersey. No housewives were spotted on the scene, for better or worse!

Tables were each given an anti pasta platter family style, followed by platters of pasta, vegetables, toasty fries, buttered slices of filet mignon on bread rounds, and a cheesecake dessert. High Grade Beverages supplied soda and beer.

Both meatatarians and vegetarians were full and happy.

So much so that young Patrick Killmurray, son of Councilman Killmurray, honored the new caterer with his bread sculpture "Castle Brownstone." He won the contest despite some very imaginative competition in the event's traditional bread sculpture contest.

Apparently a lot of people like their meat without the bread. (and it was really good!)

Stacked leftover bread slices were the building blocks for many of the sculptures: a flag; a toilet; a "Dragon-Seal" from the table of former Mayor Debra Johnson's; also, "Vino Endeavor" (a space shuttle using single-use dental flosses for the fins); an igloo; decorative wine bottle shapes; and of course the volcanic creation "Redemption Island."

More than 25 sponsors donated prizes and baskets. In fact, more time may have been spent winning prizes than eating filet mignon. Some of the winners and donors announced by Ms. Edelman included: Connie Tighe (50/50 raffle), Nancy Delgado, Sherrie Wells, Billie Furch, Carol Pollington (afghan donated by the Edelmans), Charlie Carley ($15 Sens gift certificate), Holly Antisell, Angelo Zayas ($100 Friends Giving Tree Leaf), and Cynthia Engel (Sonic Care for Kids donated by Dr. Matthew and Allison Schloss).

Former Trustee President Muhammad Ashraf won what may have been the most coveted prize of the night - the giant (estimated 4 feet tall) candy tower, built by Mrs. Roedel and Ms. Tighe, and donated by the Monmouth Mobile Home Park. When Jonah DiCorio heard the announcement he leapt from his seat calling out to Mr. Ashraf that he would gladly trade him his "Day at the Races Luxury Box at Monmouth Park Racetrack" (generously donated by Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas LLP) for the candy tower! No deal.

Please join us next year. The more the merrier!

The Foundation uses funds raised by this dinner to help support special needs of the Library. Thank you to everyone who supported this event in any capacity, especially our generous sponsors.

To make a donation to the Foundation, go to: