what not to do when decluttering

What NOT to Do When Decluttering Your Home

If your home feels chaotic, it could be because of clutter. By organizing the space, you can make better use of it and reduce your stress. With this goal in mind, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know the best strategies. Below are top things to avoid, based on what our professional organizers have seen frequently, and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Putting the Big Project First

When you try to do the biggest clear-outs first, you risk becoming so overwhelmed by the task that you only get partway through it before feeling defeated. Or, worse yet, you don’t start it at all because of the sheer magnitude of it.

Instead, begin with smaller projects to build up your self-confidence and get more familiar with how best to approach tasks. Depending on how much organizing a room needs, the ideal strategy could be focusing on different parts of the room at separate times. For instance, start with the bookcase, then move to the desk, then the closet.

Mistake #2: You Toss It All Out

Rather than taking the time to sort through the clutter, you might be tempted to trash it all. While it might be the easiest thing to do, it is not the best decision from a sustainability perspective.

As many of the possessions likely still have plenty of life left in them, you can give them a second home by giving items that are useful to friends and family. Alternatively, consider donating them to a non-profit organization. For those things that are beyond repair, recycle, or properly dispose of them.

what not to do when decluttering

Mistake #3: Touching Things Too Much

When you handle items a lot, they tend to have more emotional value. So, try only to have minimal interaction with belongings as you sort through them to decide what to keep or not.

You can still pick up the items, of course, but don’t get too touchy-feely with them. For example, hold up a sweater as you decide whether to donate it or put it back in your closet, but avoid feeling the fabric and reminiscing for several minutes. Otherwise, you risk having an emotional experience that prevents you from parting with anything.

Mistake #4: Overdoing It

You’re not a machine. Many homeowners find decluttering the home is tiring work, physically and mentally. That’s why it’s important to take breaks.

After an hour or so of sorting items, for instance, reward yourself with a 15-minute pause. Leave the room that you’ve been working in and refresh your mind, as well as resting the body. When you return to the project, you are more likely to feel in control and have the energy to reach the goal.

Mistake #5: Giving Things a Price Tag

When putting items into keep or discard piles, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about each one’s price. However, assigning a monetary value to the possessions will only make it more difficult for you to part with them.

Instead, focus on their usefulness (or lack of). If the belongings are only taking up space and no longer use them, it is best to part with them now.

Now you know what to avoid and the more effective action to take instead. Find more helpful suggestions for your home by contacting us today!

organizing christmas ornaments

5 Useful Ideas for Organizing Christmas Decorations

Your holiday decorations come out every year around the same time, and each time you likely curse yourself for the mess that awaits you. Make the process more enjoyable next year by organizing the decor well at the end of this Christmas season. These smart ideas will help you.

1.      Store Tree Ornaments in a Box with Dividers

If you recently were gifted a set, such as mugs, hang onto both the box and included cardboard dividers. This solution is not only eco-friendly as you’re reusing the box, but you will also fit small items into the slots that make organizing them a snap.

Try taking hanging ornaments from the tree to put one at a time into each square in the box. Wrap each one in tissue paper to help prevent breakage.

2. Wrap Christmas Lights around Cardboard

After Christmas Day, you likely have a lot of cardboard to recycle. Save a few of the pieces for wrapping indoor and outdoor lights around them.

Wind each set of lights around each piece of sturdy cardboard. Another option is to wrap the lights around a tension rod that you put within a storage tote.

3. Store Wreathes and Garland in Air-Tight Bags

Grab a few garbage bags from the kitchen and put wreaths and garland from around the home into them when the festive season is over. Keeping them in bags that you tie up at the ends will help keep dust and dirt from getting on the decorations that you value so much.

If you already have plastic bins, another option is to put them in there. A clear storage bin is ideal as then you can see the wreaths and garland right away. Store them all together to save yourself time decorating next year.

4. Keep Leftover Wrapping Paper in a Garment Bag

It’s tough to know what exactly how much gift wrap to buy each year. Rather than tossing half-used rolls after the gift-giving exchange or losing them during the upcoming 12 months, keep them with all other wrapping paper rolls in a garment bag.

Keep the hanger at the top of the garment bag and hang it in a closet. Several rolls line up tidily within a garment bag, and now you have them all together when it comes the time to wrap presents again.

organizing christmas ornaments

5. Taking Down an Artificial Tree

One of the biggest projects at the end of the season is disassembling the artificial Christmas tree. It typically has 3-4 sections.

After removing the ornaments:

  • Take down each section, beginning at the top.
  • Start with the smallest branches, compacting them toward the trunk.
  • Be extra careful with pre-lit trees to safeguard against breakage.

Then, place the tree back in the box it came in or in a tree storage bag. If you have reused the cardboard box many years, it has likely become worn and tattered. Replace it with a tree storage bag to prevent any dust and moisture from damaging the tree. Finally, store the tree in a dry place where it is unlikely to tip over.

Looking for More Tips?

As the holidays approach, you likely have other organizing questions. Reach out to us for more suggestions! We provide help at a pace that fits your schedule and can meet virtually too.

guide to organizing the fridge

Your Guide to Organizing the Fridge

When you look in the refrigerator at home, do you sigh at how disorganized it looks? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are dissatisfied with clutter in their homes, including inside the fridge. While guests might not see it, you know it’s there, plus you want to see quickly what is on the shelves. To help you finally tackle this project, try the suggestions here.

Think about Food Safety

Have you ever thought about organizing the fridge according to how you cook different foods? If not, our professionals encourage you to do so. This approach puts food safety as the focus of where to put things within the refrigerator.

For example, group items together that do not require cooking at all. That includes leftovers and ready-to-eat foods like yogurt and cheese.

The no-cook dishes go at the top of the fridge, while those that need cooking to be safe to eat are at the fridge’s bottom part, such as raw chicken. This organizational approach helps prevent cross-contamination as foods high up dripping down to lower shelves won’t jeopardize your health.

What about the Fridge Door? guide to organizing your fridge

Compartmentalizing the door makes it easy to see where the item is that you want, which saves you time. To help you do so, put labels on the door by where you put each type of item, such as “salad dressings” on the first shelf.

Avoid storing items like milk that easily spoil on the door as it is a warm spot in the fridge. Instead, store the jug of milk in the middle of the fridge, which has the most stable temperature.

Add Storage Bins

Just as you would use storage containers on shelves elsewhere in the home to stay organized, you can do so inside of the fridge too. For example, try keeping fruit in bowls or eggs in a plastic container.

Clear bins make it easy to see what you have already in the fridge so you’re less likely to buy a duplicate next time you go grocery shopping. You can even have a container for snacks for the kids after school that holds yogurt, grapes, and mini cheeses.

Declutter the Freezer Too

When organizing the fridge, pay attention to the freezer section too. Create areas in it for certain foods, such as bread, leftovers, vegetables, and more.

Make it a habit to label and date everything that goes into the freezer. This way, you will know what everything is and what you’ve had in there a long time. Then decide what to use up first and avoid having mystery bags of foods that you cannot identify anymore.

Final Words on Organizing the Refrigerator Well

The tips above will not only save your sanity but also help reduce food waste. You may find that your grocery bill is lower than usual because you can eat more food before the expiry date, as you know what is in the fridge and freezer.

Get more creative tips for organizing your kitchen by reaching out to our professionals today. We can help you organize any area of the house to increase its functionality and so that you enjoy a decluttered space.

virtual organizing services

How to Get Organized with Virtual Services

If you are spending more time at home during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Both provincial and local authorities continue to encourage staying at home to be safe. You may even have begun working from the house.

We applaud you for taking care to stay home, reduce travel, and social distance, all of which can help flatten the curve. As you spend more time indoors than before, you might suddenly notice clutter or desperately want to reorganize a certain room. To help you find solutions and see them through, lean on our professional organizers, who are available virtually if you are not comfortable seeing them in-person.

Clear the Clutter using Technology

Tech has been a great resource during the pandemic for keeping people connected. During a time that would otherwise be very isolating, conferencing software like Zoom has provided a way for friends and family to stay in touch. Being able to see the faces of others in their homes through a computer, tablet, or phone has helped fulfill the desire for human interaction.

Video chats are also helping people just like you fall back in love with their homes. Our organizing experts continue to meet virtually over Zoom with those who want to get a handle on clutter at home.

We are happy to provide our services by phone instead of video if you prefer that alternative. Digital photos and emails can also be a great complement to phone or video calls.

virtual organizing services

What the Virtual Organizing Process Looks Like

To start, simply contact us for a telephone intake, which only takes about 10 minutes and is designed to provide a brief introduction of what we do and what you are looking for in the at-home project.

Next, we set up a consultation, which typically is about 45 minutes. One of our friendly organizers will see your space in real-time via Zoom or in photos to see what steps are best to take to meet your project goals.

How often you two will meet after that is entirely up to you, depending on the urgency of the task, how busy you are, and other factors. We are flexible, accommodating the times that best fit your schedule.

During the decluttering sessions done over video chat or phone, the ClutterBGone organizer will only be as involved as you want them to be. If you prefer that they only have limited input at each step in the process, that is fine by us, as is having a bigger role. It is totally up to you.

How Virtual Organizing Can Help You

While the organizer will not step inside your home, this professional will assist you virtually with physically organizing a room, closet, home office, or another area. If you want to learn steps to organize, are unsure how to tackle clutter, or have little time to devote to the sorting process, you are a good candidate for the virtual organizing services.

Call us now to use virtual services that make your at-home time more enjoyable, all while staying safe.

closet organization tips

Professional Tips for Organizing Your Closet

When it comes to the bedroom closet, if it’s heaped full of clothes, shoes, purses, and bags, then it’s time to sort through the clutter. The disorganization can make finding anything a nightmare, especially in the morning. To help simplify your life, here are quick tips from our pro organizers.

Create Zones in the Closet

One of the most important things is to abide by the grouping rule. This means to group similar items together in different places in the closet.

Doing so will make it easy to know exactly where to look for a certain item. For example, group skirts together, blouses together, and so on. Some people even sort them further by color.

Add Shelving

If it seems impossible to have all the clothes you love in the closet without feeling messy and overcrowded, consider adding storage options. The addition of wall shelves, for example, can make it significantly easier to group sweaters, pairs of shoes, or something else.

By making use of vertical space, you will maximize the usefulness of the closet. Plus, shelves are affordable, especially if you find them on sale.

organizing closet tips

Sort Your Clothes

You knew this one was coming, and here it is. The chances are good that some of the items there are ones you don’t wear. It could be that you’re simply tired of them, they no longer fit well, or they’re damaged in some way.

Whatever the reason, take them out of the closet to sort into piles. One pile is for donation, another pile is to fix, and the third pile is to toss if it is beyond repair.

Also, our organizers suggest putting aside seasonal garments that you’re not wearing right now. Simply put them in a rubber tote and rotate them as seasons change to pare down the wardrobe.

But It’s Difficult to Part with Things

The final tip from our organizers likely won’t surprise you as we know peoples’ habits well. Now that you’ve purged once, do it a second time.

Why? It is difficult for most people to part with clothes as the garments hold memories. Plus, it’s easy to think, “One day I might wear this.”

So, go through the closet one more time. Are there any more things you don’t need that are still hanging in there?

How a Tidy Closet can Ease the Mind

When you walk into the bedroom closet every morning, the last thing you want is to feel overwhelmed by clutter. That’s not a great way to start the day.

Similarly, as you change into sleepwear at the end of the day, it’s irritating to be in a messy area. That feeling does not align well with the restful evening you were planning!

Why put yourself through that every day? Instead, look forward to an organized closet with a clean floor that contains only the items you wear.

If you’re unsure where to start, reach out to our team to help you every step of the way. The professional organizer you work with is as involved or hands-off as you want them to be, and we provide simple solutions for combating clutter.

organized kids bedroom

How to Keep Kids’ Rooms Clutter-Free

If your child’s bedroom is an eyesore that you can never seem to keep tidy, then this guide is for you. That’s especially true if your boy or girl doesn’t clean up often, if at all.

Get the Kids to Help

While you might assume that your child won’t want to help organize the room, the opposite is usually true, explains our professional organizers. Kids are often excited to be part of the process.

That makes sense when you consider it from their viewpoint. You’re spending time together and talking about toys – What’s not to like?! Plus, they feel important when they’re involved.

Ask Them to Show You Around Their Room

Before decluttering even begins, ask your little one for a tour of the bedroom. Doing so will help you identify what toys are important to them and brainstorm functional zones for the room.

If they omit talking about a certain item, that shows you that it isn’t valuable to them. That’s likely one for the “Donate” or “Sell” piles.

organized kids bedroom

Sorting Their Clothes

When dresser drawers and closets are full of clothes, it is difficult to find a specific piece, and the room looks sloppy. It can slow down the morning routine, which puts stress on everyone.

To help you decide what to keep and get rid of, ask yourself a few questions for each garment. Firstly, does it still fit or not? If not, then there’s no need to hold onto it.

Secondly, are there are tears in it or other signs of wear? If it needs a small fix, decide whether you want to invest the time to do it or not. If so, create a separate pile for garments to repair and keep it in a separate room.

Organize School Stuff Too

Create a zone in the room, specifically for doing homework. Provide them with a desk and bins specifically for school supplies.

Also, encourage your child to keep their backpack and homework only in this part of the room. That way, they will always know where to look for school-related things, which saves them time and makes your morning routine less hectic.

Get Creative with Language

The reality is that most kids have heard “Put that away” many times. They likely won’t respond with enthusiasm to that phrase.

Instead, be imaginative with how you talk about organizing things. For example, you might say, “Let’s Give This Toy a New Home” when referring to where to store something in the kid’s room.

The word home has a positive connotation that they are likely to respond to well. They will see the activity as more enjoyable than a chore.

Start Sorting at Their Level

What this means is that you start organizing from the floor up. Begin at the child’s level to involve them right away. Furthermore, if the child can see where things go, they are more likely to put them back in the proper place.

Final Words on a Clutter-Free Bedroom

The last tip is to keep your own bedroom tidy and clean. When you are organized, then your child is likely to be too. Why? Because they look up to you and mimic your behavior.

Using the suggestions above will help you to keep kids’ rooms clutter-free. The area will be a functional place for the youngster to enjoy, and you, as the parent, will appreciate the neatness.

clutter and stress

How Clutter May Be Causing Your Anxiety

If you look around at piles of paper or a messy room and feel tired, cranky, or on edge, you are likely feeling anxious. Why? The clutter is the source of your discomfort. There are many ways that clutter causes anxiety and stress.

Feeling Sensory Overload

The body’s senses can be over-stimulated in certain environments. When this happens, it overwhelms the central nervous system and makes it difficult to process what is happening around you.

This issue could be what is happening as you look out on the clutter at home. It could be that there are too many visual stimuli for your brain to process, which leads you to feel drained.

Unsure Where to Start

If you know you want to clear out the clutter, that’s great, but what if you’re unsure how to start doing that? This uncertainty can bring about anxiety.

If you find yourself worrying, then you are likely experiencing the frustration of not having a set plan. Feeling helpless can intensify anxiety as you do not feel in control.

The Distraction of Clutter

Have you ever walked into a room that has excess stuff and forgotten why you went in there in the first place? It is probably because the clutter has distracted you.

This happens when the mess causes you to lose focus. Then you lose time and motivation for the original task, which only intensifies tension in the body and mind.

The Guilt

Another common reaction to seeing clutter is feeling guilty. The thought that you ought to be more organized might pass through your mind.

Or, you might feel like you are failing as a parent or spouse because the home is not clean and functional. Guilt is exhausting to live with regularly.

It’s the Reaction, Rather than the Clutter Itself

When you look at what’s happening, it’s your reaction to the clutter rather than the mess itself that is triggering the anxiety. If you walk into a messy area and think to yourself that you know where everything is and are going to have a productive day, then it’s not an issue.

But if you look around and feel like you cannot find what you need, then it’s likely to trigger anxiety. You might also worry about others judging you for having a messy home.

clutter causes anxiety

How Clutter can Accumulate

When thinking about the mess at home, are you reflecting on how the clutter happened in the first place? It likely built over time without your realizing it, or you underwent a major transition in life, such as having a baby or moving to a new house.

De-cluttering to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Rather than waiting for the perfect time to come to clear away the clutter, start now to take small steps to alleviate the worry and stress that seems to follow you through the home. Even spending one hour a week tidying the house can make a difference to not only the aesthetic appeal of the place but your mind as well.

Our professional organizers can help you with the de-cluttering process. Whether it is a room, garage, closet, home office, or another area that is draining your energy, we are happy to provide effective ways to eliminate clutter.

home organizing for fall

Organizing Your Home for Fall

With each season comes the opportunity to freshen up the home. Just as you spring clean, now you can apply organization tips to fall too. By doing these activities now, you will have them out of the way before the holidays.

Bathroom Storage

With the mornings being hectic ones as you get the kids ready for school, it’s nice to create a routine that makes it easy to keep everything tidy. For example, put extra towels into fabric storage bins and keep them beneath the sink or another handy location. You can also set a tray on the counter for daily essentials so that they stay in one place.

Declutter Closets

The fall season seems to bring with it the desire to clear away any clutter from closets. It is likely part of the back-to-school schedule. If you find that you’re itching to tidy up clothes closets, then consider adding shelving or bringing a dresser into the closet, if there is room, to organize sweaters, shoes, purses, and more.

Entranceway Updates

Is your entranceway doing all that it can from a functionality perspective? Consider adding modern-looking hooks for coats, hats, and backpacks so that they do not have to go on a coatrack. Put shoes on a stackable rack or on a spinning shoe tree to keep them from becoming a cluttered mess on the floor.

organizing for fall

Clear the Kitchen Counters

Fall baking is more difficult to do when the counters are covered with appliances, dishes, and more. Open the kitchen’s look up, so it is more functional and appears larger than before, too, by removing those excess things.

A creative place to put them is on custom shelving that extends from the floor to the ceiling on one kitchen wall. Fill the shelves and then hang an elegant curtain across the front to conceal any clutter and give the kitchen a streamlined look.

Kids’ Items

For their skateboards, hockey gear, and other bulky items, put up brackets in closets for them to hang from when not in use. For any smaller items, clear bins are handy for compartmentalizing things while allowing kids to see the item they want right away, so then they don’t have to move everything to get to it.

Closed Storage

By now, you see that closed storage provides a way to keep several items out of sight so that the rooms of the home appear more spacious and avoid stressful clutter. In your home office, you can do the same with drawers in a desk containing hanging file folders, organized according to your needs. Also, consider getting a wall storage unit with doors and drawers that have supplies, your printer, books, and more.

Final Fall Home Tip

The last tip from our professional organizers is to store out-of-season items, such as t-shirts and shorts, in bins. Label them appropriately so that they are easily identifiable next year and put them in the closet. When the new season comes, swap clothes again.

With the tips above, you and your home will be feeling fall confidence. Let us know how we can help you feel more organized this season – We’re only a phone call away!

decluttering mistakes

5 Decluttering Mistakes to Avoid in the Home

Rather than offering you a list of suggestions for how to declutter the house, we thought it would be more helpful to provide a list of what NOT to do during the decluttering process. These tips come from our professional organizers, and some of the decluttering mistakes they’ve seen might surprise you!

Decluttering Mistake #1: You Take on Too Much

While you’re raring to go, it’s important not to take on more than you can reasonably organize within a short time. If you plan to organize the whole house in a weekend, for example, that is a big project that is likely to overwhelm you and might not be done by Sunday night.

That sense of overwhelm might stop you from even starting the project. Or, you could get halfway done and then return to work Monday, coming home to piles of stuff everywhere. That’s sure to stress you out.

Instead, choose a smaller project that you are likely to finish soon, such as decluttering the bedroom closet or beneath the bed. Taking small steps will enable you to do more in the long-run, rather than getting exhausted.

Decluttering Mistake #2: Trying to be Perfect

Magazines are full of stunning home interiors. But your living room and closets do not need to be picture perfect.

Instead, what matters is that they are functional, look appealing to you, and are uncluttered. When you get them this way, know that they are good, and that is enough. Organizing is not about being perfect.

Decluttering Mistake #3: Start Another Project before Finishing the First

It’s tempting to start a few of these projects at once. While you have lots of ideas for bettering the homestead, be careful not to get ahead of yourself.

Instead, conquer a smaller project that fits in your schedule so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment before moving on to the next one. For example, tackle the cluttered bookshelf in the home office and then call it a day. After completing one task in full, you’ll feel empowered next week to conquer the next one!

Decluttering Mistake #4: Not Assessing Your Progress

Our experts also encourage you to take the time after completing a decluttering project to look back at the accomplishment. Be proud of what you’ve done, especially if you have been putting off the decluttering process for a long time.

Rather than looking at what still needs to be done, focus instead on how far you’ve come. Clearing away clutter takes time, and every step you take is a great benefit to you and others in the household.

decluttering mistakes

Decluttering Mistake #5: Buy Storage Containers Right Away

Don’t do it! Instead, declutter what you have first. While you have great intentions, getting storage bins to put everything into before decluttering anything is a misstep.

Only after you go through the clutter and make decisions about what to toss or keep can you know what storage containers are needed. You will likely have far fewer things than when you began. At this point, you can make accurate decisions about what sizes and shapes of storage baskets to get for the home.

Learning from These Decluttering Mistakes

When you’re decluttering an area of the house, try to keep these common errors in mind as they can derail your project. If you’d rather not do it alone, reach out to our professional organizers for helpful suggestions about how best to tackle disorganization in your unique home.

closet organizing tips

5 Professional Closet Organizing Tips

Do you look in the closets at home and wish you could wave a magic wand to organize them? What would that look like? If you want to simplify and make more sense of closet space, all within a short amount of time, then the closet organizing tips below from our organizing pros are sure to help you.

1.      Group Similar Items

This first tip is perhaps the most important one. It is the principle of grouping together similar things, whether pants are pairing with pants in your clothes closet or pasta jars beside pasta jars in your pantry.

Sorting them this way will make your life significantly easier. Not only will you save time in the morning finding your favourite pants to wear today as you know exactly where to find them, but you will also notice that the closet has a great cohesive look.

2.      Adjust Shelves

If you have yet to change the level on any shelf in the closet, now is the time. Often, shelving can move up or down, and doing so will allow you to fit more items without it looking cluttered.

On the other hand, you might want to create a custom built-in. This closet system is specifically designed for your needs and preferences; our organizers can help you measure for it and suggest how to maximize your use of the space

We can also help you decide where best to store things within this closet or another one. For example, items you frequently use can go on the center shelf of the linen closet, rather than low or high shelves.

closet organizing tips

3.      Hang Most, Fold Some

Whenever possible, hang clothes. They are then less likely to wrinkle, as well as being easier to locate a certain item than piles of shirts, pants, skirts, and sweaters.

The exception to this rule is the sweaters that might stretch if you put them on hangers rather than fold them. Put the ones you wear the most often on top of the folded pile to easily access them.

4.      Empty it First

If you’re unsure where to start, emptying everything out of the closet is a great first step. Then clean the shelves thoroughly to remove any dust or dirt that may have accumulated over time.

Following that comes decision time. Now is when you say yay or nay to what will go back into the closet. Those things you have not used for a year or longer are best put into the donation pile, or you might want to sell them instead. Otherwise, they are taking up precious space without adding value.

5.      Get Creative with Storage Add-Ons

Look at what you love about the closet. For example, it might have a high ceiling.

In this situation, take advantage of the vertical space by adding multiple rods to hang clothes, purses, a shoe organizer, and whatever else is useful for you. Then, look at what you aren’t such a fan of and focus on solving those issues. If there aren’t any shelves, for instance, then you might put a dresser in the closet for additional storage.

Are you looking for more help? Reach out to our professional organizing team to find out how to improve your closet space. We have lots of great ideas!