organized mail
Decluttering, Organizing

Spring is Here!!! Quick Tips to Start the Organizing Process

Spring is Here! These tips will help you stop procrastinating and get organized today! Inspire and motivate yourself with the “Quick Start” projects. Each of these should take no longer than 30 minutes. Next, try the “Keep Going” tips to really put clutter and chaos in its place!

Kitchen

Quick Start: Take everything out of the refrigerator. Toss anything expired or mysteriously fuzzy. Clean the shelves. Then replace food items, grouping similar things together.

Keep Going: Tackle each kitchen cupboard and drawer the same way. Remove everything, clean, and toss anything not fresh or useful. Give most-used items your prime, easiest-to-reach space. Put infrequently used items up high or way in the back.

Clutter

Quick Start: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Grab a garbage bag, walk through your home, and quickly remove ten things you no longer use or love. Also, recycle newspapers older than one week and magazines older than 12 months, plus expired coupons and junk mail. Dispose of the bags immediately.

Keep Going: From here on out, put things in their proper places right away. Before buying something new, ask yourself if you really need it. If you decide to purchase, get rid of two similar items to make room.

Paperwork

Quick Start: With the exception of bills to be paid and truly important documents, grab all the paperwork you can find into one big pile. Plop it in a big box, seal it, and write today’s date on it. If you haven’t missed any of it two months from now, recycle the entire box without opening it.

Keep Going: Set up a new, easy filing system starting with paperwork you receive from today forward. Think of broad categories of papers you receive on a frequent basis: bills to pay, people to call, medical, school, etc. Get a desktop filing box, keep it in the kitchen, and file only what you’ll truly need to reference later. Be ruthless in your paper disposal. (Shred sensitive documents.) Review file contents weekly.

Touch paperwork only once: Open mail, and immediately act on it and recycle the paper, or file it in the appropriate spot.

Kids’ Stuff

Quick Start: Every evening, set a timer and have the family do the “Ten Minute Tidy-Up.” Holding an empty laundry basket, each person grabs anything out of place, and returns it to its correct home.

Keep Going: Limit clutter with the “new item in, old item out” rule. If you buy a new toy or clothing, get rid of at least one old one. Limit school art and paperwork. Save only the best, and keep them in an under bed storage box or portfolio.

Time Management

Quick Start: Set your watch ten minutes ahead. You’ll have a built-in buffer for running late.

Keep Going: Any task that can be completed in five minutes or less should be completed right away. Schedule a chunk of time each day to handle paperwork. Don’t schedule appointments too close together.

Email

Quick Start: Move everything more than two weeks old from your email inbox to a file marked “Holding.” Keep it for two months. Then, delete everything you haven’t needed in that time.

Keep Going: Treat your inbox like a real mail box. You’d never leave old mail sitting in there! Take the time to set up files where you can immediately move new emails. As emails arrive, either read and delete, file appropriately, or put in a “to do this week” file.

Garage/Attic/Basement

Quick Start: Set a timer for 30 minutes and toss/recycle dried out paint and chemicals, and anything broken, musty, or moldy.

Keep Going: Sort the space into zones. For example, a garage might have areas for sports, tools, gardening, and recycling/garbage. Group like items in those zones. Use appropriate storage containers and label clearly.

(courtesy © 2013 Articles on Demand™)

Standard
Decluttering, House for sale, kids, Organizing

Prepping your kids room before listing your house for sale

Prepping your kids room before listing your house for sale:

One of the many challenges with listing a home for sale when you have small children at home is “what do I do with all the toys?”  A related challenge is “how do I show my house when there are toys everywhere?”

As part of prepping your house for listing for sale, you will need to tackle the somewhat daunting task of toys – deciding which toys can be donated or sold and which toys can be discarded.

For toys that you want to hang on to and keep for DURING your house listing, the rule of thumb is to have toys in only one room – your child’s bedroom. This can be impossible if more than one child shares a bedroom and that bedroom is small. When this occurs, I recommend you designate a room elsewhere in the house (and preferably not on the main level where your entrance is located) as a “play room”. This might be just an area for the toys to reside in as part of a family room or guest room.

For toys you are going to sell, be prepared to take pictures and list immediately on either Craigslist or FB yard sale groups while you are sorting through them. Set a deadline for when the toy will be sold – for example, list the toy and give it 5 days. If it hasn’t sold, donate it. Otherwise you will not be clearing out space but instead will be in a holding pattern to make a sale…forward movement is what you want to maintain so you don’t get stuck.

After sorting and purging of toys, then come up with storage solutions for the toys remaining in the house. Don’t purchase any organizing containers until after the sorting and purging is finished. If there are more toys that you want to hold on to for AFTER the sale, but need to “hide” while your house is on the market, consider using plastic storage tubs (with labels on outside) and either storing the tubs in the attic or renting a storage unit while your home is listed. (Personal tip: I have utilized storage units while showing my home for sale. I rented an interior unit in a temperature maintained facility and rented the smallest unit/closet. If I had too many things to fit in there, then I had to do more purging. I also utilized plastic shelving units that I assembled and put into the storage unit so that I could stack tubs/items higher within the unit.)

Remember, potential buyers are going to know you have kids – that’s okay. What you don’t want to do is distract them with too many things or with a mess. When a potential buyer walks into your home, the first thing they notice will set the tone – if this is a pile of toys in the main entrance area; it will off put the buyer. This is why the toys should be removed from the main level if at all possible. You want a buyer to get a good feel for your home on the main level so that when they do see your child’s toys and room, it’s not the first room/sight they see.

Standard
Bling donation
Decluttering, Donations

What do I do with all my bling?

I don’t know about you but I used to buy jewelry and shoes and clothes like I was in the fashion industry. Thousands upon thousands of dollars of famous label clothing, I had jewelry designed for me by a local jeweler, and I loved having a pair of shoes to go with each outfit, and then some! Fast forward 30 years and my how things have changed! Due to an injury, I no longer wear shoes with any heel and the jewelry I had designed and made for me no longer fits my fingers. Yes, I could get them resized but my tastes (and my skin tone in relation to wearing silver or gold jewelry) have changed a lot in the last 30 years. Thanks mid-life!

I figured out how to eliminate the famous label clothing (it didn’t fit either) and had a “sisterhood of the traveling pants” group where we exchanged clothes. For the remaining clothes, I donated them to Suited For Change, which is a great organization! Shoes were also handled in the same manner. But what about the bling?

Why not sell the real pieces of gold and silver for their value by weight? Good idea! So I gathered up all the pieces I had to sell, went to my appointment with the jewelry rep and they told me which pieces were real or not. Then they divided them by category (14K, 18K, sterling) and I walked out with jewelry I didn’t wear anymore and almost $400 in my pocket! Sweet! I was so incentivized that I came back home and started going through even more jewelry, opening boxes and discovering sterling silver flatware STILL IN THE PLASTIC SLEEVES from almost 30 years ago – clearly that was not a high use priority – so I made another appointment and walked out with almost another $400! That was $800 I had lying around my house serving no purpose but to take up space. I still had costume jewelry (new in boxes) from a foray into selling costume jewelry a few years back, and because it was such nice costume jewelry, I didn’t want to throw it away! What I was unable to sell via Facebook, I donated as well to Suited For Change and received a tax donation receipt for it! Excellent!

What do you have lying around your house that you haven’t worn in decades? Or maybe you don’t look good in silver or gold anymore? Why not sell it for the price of the metal, especially when its value is so high. Take the money you make and get yourself something you need or want. Have costume jewelry, accessories, purses and such that you no longer want? Why not donate those (plus any nice work attire clothing) to Suited For Change?

Standard
Estate Sale
Decluttering, Moving

To Have A Yard Sale Or To Have An Estate Sale? That is the question.

The Fall is another great time to have yard sales – selling those winter clothing items, holiday decorations, back to school items, and clearing out for the winter. Or are you getting ready to downsize your home and sell it? Wondering if you should instead have an estate sale? YES! There are two factors that determine whether to have a yard sale or an estate sale: are you staying in your property and just want to eliminate some clutter? Or are you downsizing and selling your home?

Staying in the Property:

If you are just de-cluttering, I recommend working with a professional organizer (like me 🙂 to assist you in sorting and purging of items. While we sort, we will identify items for donations and if you want to have a yard sale, we can also mark those items for selling at the yard sale.

Preparing for Resale/Downsizing:

For those who are downsizing and reselling their home, again I recommend working with a professional organizer (of course me!). One of the first things I ask is, “are there family members who would like any of the items in the home?” A lot of times people haven’t considered asking this question of their children, grandchildren, siblings. Please do so. You would be surprised how each person may have a memory of an item that they would love to continue to have by taking possession of that item. It’s a great way to pass on family memories. We can work together to create boxes of items to go to family members. Plus we will identify a date for them to have picked up their items. Once family has come and taken their items, then its time to start taking pictures and advertising items for an estate sale. I recommend an estate sale for downsizing because this is appropriate when more than 50% of items in a home are being sold.

Once you have had your estate sale, you can then utilize a yard sale for the items that didn’t sell (be sure that your contract with an estate sale firm states that items that do not sell remain YOUR PROPERTY and do not become property of the estate sale company). There are also online tools for helping sell items: Craigslist and Facebook online yard sale groups. After having your yard sale, whatever items remain should be donated. Remember the goal is to downsize!

Congratulations on downsizing or de-cluttering your home! Either process can be daunting, but working with a professional organizer can help speed up the process and keep you on track.

Standard