Webfinder : Learning Disabilities

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Additude Magazine – Information and support for families and adults living with ADHD and learning disabilities. Includes practical advice about raising children, expert Q&A, and resources to help students with attentional or learning differences succeed at school. (New Hope Media LLC; site includes advertisements)

Do 2 Learn – ‘Thousands pages of social skills & behavioral regulation activities & guidance, learning songs & games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment & life skills.’ This site offers many free resources, but also sells related products. (By computer engineer Dr. Dorothy Strickland, Virtual Reality Aids, Inc.)

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center – This page is designed to help families understand their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), connect with other families, and find high-quality resources related to caring for infants, toddlers and young children with disabilities.

LD Support and Resources for Parents – “A wealth of information on understanding learning disabilities, negotiating the special education process, and helping your child and yourself.” (Learning Disabilities Association of America; site includes advertisements)

Learning Disabilities: Understood – Expert information and tools for parents of a child with a learning disability. Covers learning & attention issues, school & learning, friends & feelings, family, and more. (National Center for Learning Disabilities et al.)

Learning Disabilities Articles – A collection of articles for parents covering topics such as diagnosing a learning disability, learning problems in teens, types of learning problems, your right to special services, and more. (HealthyChildren.org, American Academy of Pediatrics)

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) – A non-profit organization committed to empowering families as advocates and partners in improving education and health outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with special needs. SPAN is the statewide Parent Center for New Jersey.

Links updated 11/16

Webfinder: Adult & Continuing Education

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CAUTION! Before signing up or paying for any education program, please verify that the school or program is properly accredited. A complete list of recognized accrediting agencies may be found on the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION website.

LOCAL RESOURCES:

South Plainfield School District: Adult Education – Information on local adult education programs including Adult High School, Adult School Brochure, and Trip List.

Middlesex County College Continuing Education – Information about non-credit certificate programs and courses to support career and professional development, career training center, and more. To find out more about courses, programs, payments, and transfers, see Middlesex County College Information for Adult Students.

GENERAL RESOURCES:

Distance Education Accrediting Commission – The accrediting agency for distance education (formerly Distance Education and Training Council). Includes a searchable directory of accredited distance education high schools and postsecondary institutions offering a variety of programs from non-degree through bachelors, masters and professional doctoral degree levels. A complete list of recognized accrediting agencies may be found on the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION website.

GCF Learn Free – Free tutorials, articles, and other learning materials aimed at helping you improve the technology, literacy, and math skills needed for success in both work and life. Covers a wide range of subjects from operating ATMs and reading subway maps to using office software and running a home-based business. For learning on the go, download a free mobile app for iOS, Android or Kindle. (Non-profit organization: Goodwill Community Foundation)

Mobile Apps to Support and Enhance Online Courses – Links and resources for using mobile apps in three areas of online learning: Learning, Connection to the University, School or Organization, and Connection to the Instructor. (United States Distance Learning Association)

Open Education Consortium (formerly Open Courseware) – Free online college-level course materials covering a broad range of topics, from universities around the world. Includes course overviews, assignments, readings, handouts, practice exams, and related resources (Non-profit educational consortium). Coursera also offers free online courses from top universities including Princeton, Duke, Georgia Tech, University of Virginia, University of Illinois, and many others. Learn at your own pace, test your knowledge, and reinforce concepts through interactive exercises. Courses cover a wide range of topics in the Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, and Science (founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Stanford University). The edX site offers online classes from the world’s best universities. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more (non-profit created by Harvard and MIT). The Saylor Foundation also has a free collection of self-paced, college-level courses, with no registrations or fees, and no application process; registration is required if you wish to receive a certificate for completing a course (Non-profit organization). Udacity offers interactive online courses developed ‘to provide the most relevant and cutting-edge tech education that bridges the gap between academia and the needs of the 21st century workforce.’ (Sebastian Thrun et al.) [NOTE: All Udacity courses provide free access to course materials, but some additional services may be offered for a fee.]. Open Yale Courses ‘provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.’ 2U: Online Graduate Programs [NEW!] ‘partners with some of the world’s leading colleges and universities to offer online graduate degree programs to students everywhere… Most programs can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis.’

Road Scholar and Lifelong Learning Institutes – Educational travel and lifelong learning opportunities for adults. Non-profit organization; there is a charge for travel programs.

See also Sites for Seniors: Education.

Links updated November 2016.

Webfinder: Job Resources for Veterans

Links updated 10/25/16

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Leaving the Military – Transitioning resources, including advice on creating your federal resume, civil service employment, foreign service careers,

Career OneStop: Veterans’ Re-employment – ‘Veterans ReEmployment is your one-stop site for employment, training and financial help after your military service.’  (U. S. Department of Labor)

New Jersey Jobs: Veterans Services (NJ Career Connections) [UPDATED LINK!] – ‘Veterans receive first priority referral to all jobs and training opportunities for which they are qualified. In the One-Stop Career Center, there is a Veterans Representative who specializes in helping veterans find the jobs and opportunities for which they qualify. In addition to priority referrals to jobs, vets can enroll in free job search workshops, find help developing a resume, learn about career training programs and get help understanding the network of veterans’ benefits available through the Veterans Administration, state and local governments.’ (New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development).

Career Boot Camp for Transitioning Military Personnel – ‘Some basic training on how to present your resume and military skills in a way that will connect with civilian employers’ (Monster.com; site includes advertisements).

Feds Hire Vets – Resources and information to help veterans, transitioning service members, and their families find careers in the Federal government (U.S. Office of Personnel Management).

Hire Heroes USA – Provides free services to veterans or their spouses, including resume asssistance, post-military planning, post-military financial & benefits assessment, and job search training. (Non-profit organization)

Hiring Our Heroes – Free tools and resources to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation)

Online Job Search Guide for Veterans – Lots of helpful advice and resources for those re-entering the civilian job market after 3 or 30 years of service in the military. (Susan P. Joyce, Job-Hunt.org)

Troops to Teachers – Help for separating or retiring military personnel who want to pursue a rewarding second career in public education. (N.J. Department of Education)

Vet Jobs – Searchable job listings, employment advice and other employment resources for transitioning military, National Guard, Reserve Component Members and veterans, and their family members (sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States). See also:

Webfinder: Disasters

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Disaster Supplies Kit [Link opens a PDF] – A handy printable checklist of essential items you should have in your home in case of any emergency, plus key websites to help you stay informed about current or potential emergencies. (State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management)

Disasters: Prepare Your Home & Family – General advice on how to prepare for natural disasters or other emergencies, including tips for taking care of children, people with disabilities, seniors, and pets. Disaster Preparedness focuses on specific types of emergencies, including chemical spills, fires, floods, flu, heat waves, poisoning, power outages, terrorism, winter storms, and more. After a Disaster offers guidance on what to do after floods, hurricanes, winter storms blackouts, and other disasters, including checking your home’s structure, utilities & major systems, and recovering financially (American Red Cross). See also Emergency Preparedness & Response [UPDATED LINK!] (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) and Protect Yourself from Dangerous Weather (USA.gov).

Emotional Recovery from Disaster [NEW!] – Briefly outlines common reactions and responses to disaster, and offers advice on coping. (2013, American Psychological Association). See also Helping Children Cope With a Disaster [NEW!] and Parents Helping Youth Cope with Disaster [NEW!] [Link opens a PDF] (2013, U.S. Centers for Disease Control). SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline [NEW!] provides crisis counseling and support, by phone or text, to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. There is also a special service for hard of hearing & deaf people, and an interpretation service that connects callers with counselors in more than 150 languages (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

Family Communication Plan  [Link opens a PDF] – A printable form you can fill out so your family will know how to get in touch with each other in the event of an emergency. Fill in this information and keep a copy in a safe place, such as your purse or briefcase, your car, your office, and your disaster kit. (FEMA)

Financial Preparedness: Lessons from Sandy – Recommends steps to take before disaster hits to be sure your financial accounts, medical & prescription drug information, original copies of important documents (birth certificates, wills, etc.) and other necessities are secured and accessible to you in the event of an emergency (2012, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse). Smart About Money: Natural Disasters [UPDATED LINK!] [Link opens a PDF] includes information on filing insurance claims, applying for private or government assistance, tax relief, and related topics (2015, National Endowment for Financial Education, American Red Cross and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; non-profit organizations). See also Weather Emergencies: Getting your Financial House in Order (2015, Federal Trade Commission).

Flooding – How to prepare for, stay safe during, and recover from floods, including dealing with emergency disinfection of drinking water, mold, private wells & septic systems, and related subjects (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). See also Family Preparedness: Floods and Flash Floods (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management) and Floods: What You Should Know [UPDATED LINK!] (U.S. Centers for Disease Control). FloodSmart explains the National Flood Insurance Program and your flood insurance coverage options (FEMA). The short video Flooded Cars offers tips on how to identify a flood-damaged vehicle when you shop for a car (Insurance Information Institute, Inc.).

Food Safety in an Emergency [NEW!] – Answers to frequently asked questions about food safety after a flood or other disaster, including a helpful  “When to Save and When to Throw It Out” chart (USDA). See also FoodSafety.gov [NEW!].

Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities – People with disabilities often need additional time and assistance to prepare for a disaster. This page provides some quick, practical advice, with links to more in-depth information and guidance, including Register Ready, a free and confidential program which allows residents with special needs to register with emergency response agencies, so emergency responders can better serve them in an emergency (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management). The Red Cross offers a free booklet you can download and print, Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs (American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA).

Preparedness for Seniors – Tips for over-50 adults and their families / caregivers (The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc). See also Disaster Planning For Seniors, By Seniors [NEW!] [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross), and Safety Tips for Seniors and related links.

Planning for Pets – Pets can’t prepare, so you need to do it for them! This guide explains what you can do ahead of time to ensure your pets’ safety in times of emergency (Humane Society of the United States). See also Preparing your Pets for Emergencies [Link opens a PDF] (FEMA et al.), Saving the Whole Family® [Link opens a PDF] (American Veterinary Medical Association) and Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist [Link opens a PDF] (American Red Cross).

Power Outages [UPDATED LINK!] – Tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power, including food & water safety, and dealing with extreme heat and cold.(U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

Protect Your Home in a FLASH [NEW!] – DIY Videos showing steps you can take to strengthen your home and safeguard your family from natural and manmade disasters; videos are hosted on YouTube. See Flash FAQ for additional resources.

Safe & Well List If you have been affected by a disaster, this site provides a way for you to register yourself as ‘safe and well.’ If you are concerned about loved ones in a disaster area, you can search the list of those who have registered themselves as ‘safe and well.’ For help contacting family members during or after an international crisis (war, disaster, migration or other humanitarian emergency), see Find Family Internationally After Crisis (American Red Cross) and Restoring Family Links  [NEW!] (International Committee of the Red Cross).

Save Your Treasures [UPDATED LINK!] – Basic guidelines for saving family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes that have been damaged in floods or fires (Heritage Preservation and FEMA).

Winter Weather [UPDATED LINK!] – Advice on protecting your health and safety in winter, including what to do if you get stranded on the road (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). See also Winter Weather Safety [NEW!] (National Weather Service). Winter Driving offers vehicle maintenance & driving tips and outlines laws that help keep you safe on the road in winter (State of New Jersey). See also Car Talk: Winter Driving (NPR; site includes advertisements) and AAA Winter Driving Tips. To test your knowledge about driving safely in a variety of extreme weather conditions, see the Weather Channel’s Extreme Weather Driving Quiz!

If you are struck by a natural disaster, DisasterAssistance.gov is the official U.S. government website that provides information and services to access and apply for disaster assistance. For additional information, see Benefit.gov’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness and Relief Benefits.

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Links updated 7/29/16.

Staycation Guide 2016

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Thinking about keeping your vacation local this summer, or maybe just planning to do some exploring right here where we live? Maybe you’re new to the area, or just haven’t had a chance to get to know what’s in your own backyard? We have information that can help you find fun & family-friendly things to do in South Plainfield and the surrounding area!

The South Plainfield Recreation Department offers summer sports camps, swimming lessons, and a Community Pool. Did you know that South Plainfield’s Spring Lake Park has tennis courts, basketball court, playground, bikeways/walkways, fishing, and free concerts? For other parks and nature preserves in the Central Jersey area, see Middlesex County Parks & Recreation, Union County Parks & Recreation, Somerset County Parks, and Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. In Hillsborough (Somerset County), Duke Farms offers hiking & biking trails, nature & horticulture programs, family activities, and more. The Nature Conservancy in N.J. offers information on nature preserves in the Delaware Bayshores, Pine Barrens, and Skylands regions of New Jersey. To expand your range, see NJ State Parks & Forests. Many parks & recreation departments also offer history & culture events and facilities!

Close to home, East Jersey Olde Towne Village in Piscataway is a collection of original, replica and reconstructed 18th- and 19th-century structures, tools and artifacts that help illustrate the farm and merchant communities once found in central New Jersey. For information about this and other historic sites in Middlesex County, visit the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Office. For many additional historic sites, see NJ State Historic Sites & Museums and New Jersey History: Places To Go!.

There some excellent museums within a moderate distance of South Plainfield. The Newark Museum and New Jersey State Museum (Trenton) both feature natural history & science as well as fine art, and each include a planetarium & an auditorium. You can see more fine art at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick and Princeton University Art Museum.

Plays-in-the-Park presents outdoor community theater productions at Roosevelt Park in Edison. Other theaters in the area offering live theater productions include the Papermill Playhouse (Millburn) and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison).

The Mason Gross School of the Arts Summer Series in New Brunswick features a mix of music and dance; the 4 performances in July are free and family-friendly. For many additional arts & culture events and facilities at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus, including museums and festivals, see Arts & Culture at Rutgers.

The State Theatre in New Brunswick, Union County Arts Center [UPDATED LINK!] in Rahway, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark offer a variety of professional performing arts shows for adults and children.

Sports Teams in NJ and Visit NJ have information & links on NJ major & minor sports teams & venues, including the Somerset Patriots baseball team in Bridgewater.

Of course, for most of us, summer in NJ wouldn’t be complete without at least one trip to the beach! See VistNJ.org: Beaches in NJ and New Jersey Monthly’s Annual Shore Guide to find the perfect spot and get information about beach fees, facilities, and parking. See NJbeaches.org for beach closings & advisories, and other health & safety information.

More Staycation Resources: Things to Do in New Jersey and Visit NJ have info on theme parks, zoos & aquariums, breweries & wineries, arboretums & gardens, arcades & miniature golf, plus trip ideas and more! MyCentralJersey.com’s Local Directory section includes searchable listings for central N.J. arts & entertainment, food & dining, sports & recreation, and more. Discover Jersey Arts is the hub for what’s going on in NJ’s arts scene, with a comprehensive event calendar, directory of cultural organizations, and more! FunNewJersey.com, FunNJ.com, and Weird NJ offer lots of additional information on where it’s at in Jersey!

P.S. If you’re traveling by car, don’t forget to check 511NJ.org [NEW!] before you head out, for up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and road closures!

Webfinder : Recycling

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Recycling in South Plainfield provides information for local residents on drop-off and curbside pickup, including yard waste, textiles, motor oil, paint, tires, electronics and more. The South Plainfield Public Library accepts empty ink and toner cartridges from computer printers or copiers. Our Where to Donate Goods page offers information on local, regional, and national organizations that can make good use of your used goods!

The Language of Recycling [NEW!] offers some basic advice to help you figure out whether a product or package is recyclable or made with recycled materials.

Recycling NJ and Earth 911 have lots of useful information on what can & cannot be recycled (including The Great Pizza Box Recycling Mystery!), and on where to recycle what. See also 20 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle (Green America). The Recycling Materials Index [NEW!] is an alphabetical list of product recycling information (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection). Close the loop by buying products with recycled content! See Recycling NJ: Buy Recycled and Recycled Products: The Smart Choice.

Recycle Nation [NEW!] features a comprehensive database that you can search to find local recyclers for whatever type of product you want to recycle – whether you’re clearing out the house during spring cleaning or simply looking to recycle a few shopping bags! (Electronic Recyclers International, Inc.)

Reduce.org offers tips on reducing all kinds of waste: ‘When you avoid making garbage in the first place, you don’t have to worry about disposing of waste or recycling it later.’ (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency). Source Reduction [NEW!] provides advice and links on reducing yard waste, junk mail, disposables, holiday waste, and more (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection).

E-Cycling Central & related links gives you additional info about where and how to recycle electronic products.

LampRecycle.org tells you where you can recycle Compact Flourescent Light bulbs (CFLs). See also Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs), which includes info on how to handle broken bulbs safely  (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program collects used athletic shoes (any brand) at its U.S. retail locations.

Proper Disposal of Medicines links explain the safe way to get rid of old medications.

Links updated April 2016.

Webfinder : Green Shopping

Buy Recycled Products [NEW!] provides links to online stores and companies that sell clothing, paper, building materials, home furnishings, and other products made with recycled content (N.J. Department of Environmental Protection). See also Recycling NJ: Buy Recycled.

Climate Counts can tell you whether your favorite company is taking steps to prevent global warming (non-profit organization).

Good Stuff is a ‘Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy’ with tips, facts, and links you can use to start making more informed purchases that benefit your health and the environment. (Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization)

Green America’s Responsible Shopper helps you ‘go green’ when buying a wide range of products & services. (Non-profit membership organization)

Sins of Greenwashing teaches you how to spot false or misleading environmental claims on product labels and in advertisements (TerraChoice Group Inc., part of the Underwriters Laboratories). The Federal Trade Commission explains standards for Green Advertising Claims which are enforced by the FTC, and has additional useful information on Green Products.

Eat Well Guide and Local Harvest list places where you can buy locally-grown food; searchable by zip code. Click on the Eat Local map to find out what’s in season in your state at different times of the year (Natural Resources Defense Council). Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices offers advice and recipes for eating more healthfully and sustainably. How to Read Meat and Dairy Labels defines common label terms such as Certified Organic; Free-Range, Pasture-Raised or Grass-Fed; Certified Humane; Hormone-Free, rBGH-Free, rBST-Free, or No Hormones Added; Dolphin-Safe; Natural; Grain-Fed; and similar terms (Humane Society of the United States). See also What is Organic? (USDA). To find information about sustainable fish & seafood, see Seafood Watch (Monterey Bay Aquarium) or EDF Seafood Selector [NEW!] (Environmental Defense Fund).

EWG’s Skin Deep [NEW!] is an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products, launched in 2004 to help people find safer products, with fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested. EWG also has similar guides for Household Cleaning Products and  Food (Environmental Working Group)

Greener Electronics includes resources to help you buy more environmentally-friendly electronic products (Electronics TakeBack Coalition, sponsored by the Tides Center; non-profit organization). See also Story of Electronics [UPDATED LINK!] (Center for Environmental Health).

Shopping for Light Bulbs [NEW!] explains the different types of light bulbs now available, and how you can choose the most efficient bulbs that meet your lighting needs.

So Kind Alternative Gift Registry makes it easier to give and receive non-material, homemade, second-hand, and environmentally-friendly gifts (Center for a New American Dream).

Links updated April 2016.

Webfinder : Green Living

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10 FREE Ways to Go Green [NEW!] provices practical green tips that can easily be introduced into your daily routine.

Green Tips are simple steps you can take today to green your clothing, your home, your transportation and more! Green American shows you even more ways to live better, save more, invest wisely, and make a difference. (Green America)

Ask Umbra provides answers to frequently asked questions such as: paper or plastic? cloth or disposable diapers? handwash dishes or use the dishwasher? buy organic food from far away, or non-organic food grown locally? and other common green dilemmas. Plus more helpful advice for living green. (Grist Magazine)

EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator helps you estimate your household’s greenhouse gas emissions, then suggests actions you can take to lower your emissions while reducing your energy and waste disposal costs. You’ll find links to related resources at Greener Living [UPDATED LINK!] page. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

EWG’s Healthy Home Tips [NEW!] are aimed at helping you create a cleaner and greener home that is good for your family and the planet. Printable PDFs cover topics such as personal care products & household cleaners, organic & fresh foods, plastics, tap water, healthy pregnancy, school lunches and more. (Environmental Working Group)

Green Home Guide offers lots of practical advice on greening your home and yard. (U.S. Green Building Council)

Metro: Sustainable Living includes good advice on green cleaners, waste prevention, natural gardening, home improvement, and more (Metro Regional Government, Portland, OR).

Solutions for Your Life: Sustainable Living is an extensive library of links to information about living sustainably, covering energy consumption, families & consumers, lawn & garden care, and more (University of Florida Extension).

Living Green isn’t out of Renters’ Reach suggests low-cost ways for apartment dwellers to be eco-friendly. (2010, Los Angeles Times / Washington Post; site includes advertisements).

And be sure to check out our other Green Living and Energy Conservation Webfinders!

Links updated April 2016.

Webfinder: Spring Cleaning

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STEP 1: Clear out the clutter! – The University of Illinois Extension Service offers practical advice on sorting, organizing, storing, and getting rid of stuff. You’ll find more clutter-busting tips at Live Simple: Rule Your Stuff and Surprising Strategies for Finally Organizing Your Space.

STEP 2: Where to Donate Goods – If you’re doing spring cleaning, you may find things to get rid of that are too good for the trash. What to do with them? Our ‘Where to Donate Goods’ page can help!

STEP 3: Resell that stuff! – Thinking about having a yard sale to get rid of some of that extra stuff? Download the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Reseller’s Guide to screen for hazardous products that should go in the trash instead!

STEP 4: Safeguard your Personal Data – Getting rid of old financial/legal documents, as well as old electronics that may contain sensitive information, can be an important STEP of de-cluttering. But it can also pose a risk to your personal data. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse offers practical advice on how to do it safely! A Pack Rat’s Guide to Shredding [NEW!] includes a printable graphic you can keep near your shredder as a handy guide (2015, Federal Trade Commission).

STEP 5: Recycle! – After you’ve removed all your personal data from unwanted electronic items, what are you going to do with them? If they’re too old or aren’t working, you can e-cycle them! The South Plainfield Consumer Electronics Recycling Drop-off Program accepts televisions, computers and peripherals at the Recycling Center from residents. Included in this program are: computers (desktop and laptop), monitors, televisions, cell phones, copiers, digital cameras, DVD players, e-book readers, fax machines, keyboards, MP3 players, modems, mouses, personal digital assistants (PDAs), printers, scanners, stereo and radio equipment, telephones, VCRs, and any products that contain rechargeable batteries. Click here for more recycling links.

STEP 6: Safe Disposal of Old Medicine – Did you find unneeded and/or expired medicines in your medicine cabinet? It’s NOT a good idea to put them in the trash or flush them down the toilet! Instead, follow these instructions for safe disposal: NJ Project Medicine Drop [UPDATED LINK!] and FDA Consumer Update : How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.

STEP 7: Appraise Old Paintings, Antiques, & Collectibles – Did you find any old paintings, antique objects, or possible collectibles while you were clearing out the attic? Want to find out more about them? The Smithsonian American Art Museum offer some tips and resources to help you. See also PBS’s Antiques Road Show.

STEP 8: Clear Out the Fridge – Kitchen shelves full of old cans? Old food in your fridge/freezer? How do you know what to keep and what to toss? FoodSafety.gov has advice for you. Here are some helpful guides you can print out to keep handy [Links open PDFs]: FDA 1-page Food Storage Chart, NDSU Food Storage Guide with Chart, OhioLine Pantry Food Storage Guide with Chart.

STEP 9: Let the (Green) Cleaning Begin – Once the clutter’s finally gone (well… reduced?) it’s time to start cleaning! Oregon Metro offers these tips for eco-friendly non-toxic cleaning. See also : Rodale’s 8 Must-Haves for a Nontoxic Cleaning Kit and Rodale’s Spring Clean your Kitchen.

STEP 10: Stain Solutions – For tougher cleaning problems, the University of Illinois Extension has lots of good advice! The FabricLink Fabric Care Center [UPDATED LINK!] offers stain removal guides, laundry tips, information about fabric labels & laundry products, and related resources.

STEP 11: *THE REALLY ICKY STUFF* – The U.S. EPA provides extensive help on dealing with Mold, Moisture, and Your Home. More icky stuff? Here’s some information on Bedbugs and Other pests.

STEP 12: Precious Treasures – Heritage Preservation has a wealth of information on caring for family heirlooms, keepsakes, and other heritage objects. See also : CCI Caring for Objects [UPDATED LINK!] and ICON Caring for your Collection [UPDATED LINK!].

STEP 13: Don’t Forget those Electronics! – This 2013 piece from Lifehacker gives you the 411 on how to clean up your computer and electronic gadgets.

Revised March 2016

Webfinder: Genealogy Resources

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African-American Research – Information about Pre-Civil War, Military Records, and Post-Civil War Records at the National Archives, plus links to other helpful resources for African-Americans trying to trace their family history (National Archives and Records Administration). See the Afro-American Genealogical Research Guide for a list of useful print resources (Library of Congress). See also Slave Trade Voyages (Emory University et al.)

American Indian Ancestry [Link opens a PDF document] – Printable guide to acquiring the genealogical documentation needed to establish descent from an Indian tribe for membership and enrollment purposes (2013, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs). See also Native American Records, which includes information about records at the National Archives, and links to many other useful resources (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration).

Civil War Ancestors – Advice on researching ancestors who fought in the Civil War (National Park Service). See also Genealogy Notes: Civil War (2006, National Archives and Records Administration) and Civil War Era Records (FamilySearch.org).

Ellis Island American Family Immigration History Center [FREE REGISTRATION REQUIRED.] – If any of your ancestors came to this country through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, you can find out exactly when they arrived, and on what ship. Enter the name of the passenger in the space provided, and click on ‘Start Search’ to get a list of matching records.

Family Tree Charts (Printable) – Choose one of three PDF charts to print and fill in with names and dates of your ancestors. See also family group sheets [Link opens a PDF document] and ancestor charts [Link opens a PDF document] (National Genealogical Society), and Library of Michigan Pedigree Chart [Link opens a PDF document].

Genealogy How-To Guide – An excellent step-by-step guide to researching your family history, from Genealogy.com (site includes advertisements). Genealogy Research Tutorials offers ‘simple tutorials that may answer some questions you have about getting started, gathering information from others, or turning professional.’ The tutorials are free, but include some references to publications for sale, and resources available only to members (National Genealogical Society).

Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center – ‘A national clearinghouse for persons seeking the fates of loved ones missing since the Holocaust and its aftermath. We assist U.S. residents searching for proof of internment, forced/slave labor, or evacuation from former Soviet territories on themselves or family members.’ To begin your search, contact your local Red Cross chapter (American Red Cross). See also International Tracing Service (ITS), which ‘serves victims of Nazi persecutions and their families by documenting their fate through the archives it manages. The ITS preserves these historic records and makes them available for research.’

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Explains what genealogy resources are available through the U.S. National Archives and how to obtain them. Covers census, immigration, military, and other records, plus FAQs, tips for doing genealogical research, preserving your family records, and more. See NARA’s Ethnic Heritage Resources for online resources specific to various ethnic groups, including African-American, Asian, British, Eastern European and Russian, Hispanic, Jewish, and Native American. Prologue Magazine offers Genealogy Notes on a range of topics such as African American History, American Indians, Immigration & Naturalization, Prison Records, and various wars.

New Jersey Division of Archives and Records [UPDATED LINK!] – Searchable databases of marriage, death, & property records from the 17th – 19th centuries, World War I casualties, and other New Jersey historical records. NJGenWeb: New Jersey Genealogy Organizations provides a list of New Jersey genealogical societies, historical societies, libraries, museums, etc., arranged by town or county. Includes links to websites, where available. See also New Jersey Genealogy (Rutgers University Libraries) and NJ Digital Highway (State of New Jersey). For resources in other states, go to the USGenWeb: States page (run by volunteers) and links to official State Archives [NEW!] in all 50 states.

Preserving Family Records – Information on how to preserve family documents, photos, memorabilia, and home movies (National Archives and Records Administration). For information on how to preserve items that have been damaged in a flood or other disaster, see Save Your Treasures [Link opens a PDF document] (Heritage Preservation; non-profit organization).

Proquest Tips for Tracing Your Family Tree [NEW!] – Advice from a genealogy expert on researching your family history. (2014, from the publisher of Ancestry® Library Edition and HeritageQuest® Online)

Veterans’ Gravesite Locator – ‘Search for burial locations of veterans and their dependents in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries and various other Department of Interior and military cemeteries.’ (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Vital Records: Replace Your Vital Documents [UPDATED LINK!] – USA.gov page offering information on ways to obtain copies of birth, marriage & death certificates, military service records and more.

Links updated March 2016.