Often times my clients are short on bathroom space, especially cupboards and drawers to hold grooming and cosmetic supplies. A great fix for that is to purchase an over-the-door shoe organizer that has deep pockets for storage of products. The organizer can hold not only curling irons, hairdryers, brushes, etc. but also can hold shampoo bottles, hairsprays and other bathroom grooming products so you can easily see exactly what you have and be able to retrieve the items without having to bend over and knock other items over in the process of retrieval or return. If you’re on the shorter side, simply cut off the bottom half of the organizer and mount the top half on hooks at waist level so you can reach inside. Try it and let me know what you think!
Getting organized is really about forming new habits that will, undoubtedly, reduce stress & frustration and save you time and money for the things in your life that are most important to you. Change is hard. I feel this myself, especially when it comes to new technology. My husband would say I’m a “techno-phobe”, although I think I’ve grown substantially over the last two years in that regard. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I have surpassed him in terms of communication technology. Entertainment technology, not so much. I am the proud owner of a Blackberry, which I use tirelessly. Without this I would not be able to work efficiently, staying on top of everything from my emails, my contacts and research necessary to operate a successful business. I also recently acquired a new laptop for our office. With a new laptop, comes new, updated software, the switch to which can be frustrating. However, it’s well worth it when you realize the additional benefits of a faster operating system and new elements that make your “to-do” list a lot easier to manage. Why not challenge yourself, move outside your comfort zone and try something new in technology? The benefits will surprise you, organization will be your favourite word and you’ll feel great conquering something new!
After meeting with a few new clients today for consultations it struck me that, when it comes to closet organizing, I receive the same questions and hear the same dilemmas. Often times clients will tell me they have tried to organize their closets on many occasions only to have their attempts fail over and over again. Here’s a quick tip to start your organizing project: organize your closet when it’s at its fullest. You need to make sure that all your clothes for the season are clean, all items back from the dry-cleaners and all other items, namely, belts, bags, scarves, etc. are in your room so everything is in one place and you can see all that you have. There should be nothing in transit. This way when you begin to organize your space you will be working with all the clothes that you own. When you are make sure you have a place to put the laundry and dry cleaning.
Downsizing is a tough process in and of itself. For seniors, taking the plunge is even harder. One thing to make it easier it to remove the guilt factor. Although you may feel you’re the one who has to be the keeper of all heirlooms in the family, there are other options. Perhaps there are other family members who would like some of the heirlooms you are closeting in your home, especially if you are in fact storing them as opposed to using them. In sharing with other family members you can feel secure in knowing that they really want them and will be the one to inherit them. I recently did this myself with some items that my father had given to me before he moved back to Amsterdam. I no longer had a physical place to store them, and knowing that they always have a place in my heart made it easier for me to share the items with others in the family who would be in a position to enjoy them more. And remember, the item is not the memory. The memory lives within you, not in the item itself.
As part of the services I provide, and also in my day to day life, I come across and have dealings with a variety of service providers. What I don’t understand is how some of these companies actually stay in business when they offer poor customer communications, sub-standard services, and/or when they clearly lack in honesty and integrity. For me and the services I provide to my clients, integrity, honesty and customer satisfaction are the fundamental principles of my business. I personally don’t do anything half way: I either do it right, or I don’t do it at all. I don’t believe in “good enough”. Yet there are so many businesses operating out there that just don’t get it. I make every attempt to work with people on my team who have the same principles that I do. I set the bar pretty high and you either meet, or exceed it, or we don’t do business. It’s that simple. And don’t think I’ve never been burned. Just recently I allowed a new service provider in my home for cleaning and ended up shaking my head and feeling frustrated and angry. Never again. My words of wisdom are to be very careful who you invite into your home.
The last two days of this project went extremely well! Firstly, the final refresh of the landscaping made a huge difference to the curb appeal. Check it out, before and after:
With the home decluttered and cleaned, my pre-staging evaluation began. 3 hours later I had reviewed every square foot of the site and made detailed notes on what needed to be done in order to enhance the home for sale with the priorities that would garner my client the biggest bang for his buck. On the day of staging, my assistants and I worked laboriously for 7 hours re-designing and enhancing every room and space in the home. Normally I would be bringing in furniture and other items for staging. However, for this particular project my client’s wish was to use only existing furniture and accessories. On my recommendation, he also authorized a small expenditure for additional decorative items that I felt would enhance the living room and dining room areas. Not a lot of money, but I stretched those dollars to the max! I’ll be posting all the before and after pictures for this project on my gallery in the next few days so be sure to check them out.
By this time we had all the shredding completed, items targeted for removal were gone, the landscapers were primed and ready, praying for some dry weather, and a cleaning service booked to scour the site top to bottom. An electrician was also brought in by my client to complete some outstanding repair work. We had so many people on site this day. The major areas left to declutter before starting my pre-staging evaluation were the office and wardrobe room on the main floor so we turned our focus to these two areas.
This was important as the cleaners were slated to come by in two days so the home had to be ready for them. By the end of the day I was happy with the progress made and, leaving several homework items for my clients to complete, I looked forward to the next site visit two days later when final decluttering & cleaning would be completed and I could begin my evalution.
As mentioned in my last blog post, we were facing very tight time lines for this project. Everything slated for either, recycle, donation or trash had to be clearly identified and/or outside ready for the disposal trucks. In over a dozen clear plastic recycle bags we packed clothing, linens and footwear slated for donation. Over a dozen green garbage bags of trash were removed together with various furnishings, many of which were slated for donation as well. Hundred of books were also packed up to be either recycled or donated depending on the condition.
As a result of mice droppings, many of the books were not suitable for donation. We had two full truck loads for removal and it took two men from JunkMaster Inc. a total of four hours to remove the targeted items from the site and load the trucks. Then there were the over 60 boxes of files that had to be shredded along with a number of clear plastic bags containing personal papers. Shred-It was hired to come by the site with their on-site truck to destroy these items. While all this was happening, I also had subcontracted a company, Dirt Girl Landscaping, to do a garden refresh to enhance the curb appeal of the home. Two extremely overgrown Skyrocket Junipers were overtaking the front entrance and the first order of business in that regard was to have them removed. Perennial gardens were also to be refreshed, weeded, mulched and enhanced with seasonal mums. By the end of the first week on site we were on target and things were looking good!
The next couple of days working at the site were strenuous, both physically and emotionally. We continued to remove items from the 1,000 square foot attic, uncovering some surprising, and not so surprising possessions. Tons of family historical memorabilia continued to be uncovered as well as a few small deceased furry creatures and plenty of their droppings. Not at all surprising of course, for this type of project. As the attic spaces began to reveal themselves, there appeared a light at the end of the tunnel. In the evening hours when our assistant labour came on board, we moved down to other areas of the home and began focusing on the office space. This one was another challenge due to the sheer volume of paper to be reviewed and processed. Here’s a photo of the office space we were working on.
Office decluttering and editing is one of the most challenging as it can be very tedious for the client. Changing direction within the office, such that paperwork would be reviewed for a hour or so, and then I would redirect the client towards something a little more interesting, such as paper memorabilia and other historical items found in that space. A change of pace is critical to keep focus and the client on task. While my client focused on editing this particular space, I changed direction to ensure we were going to meet the time lines for the disposal truck, arriving within two days. The pressure was definitely on!
As promised in my last blog post, here are a few of the steps taken to get this project off the ground.
Upon arrival at my client’s site, we began reviewing each of the rooms and with various colour coded sticky paper in hand, we surveyed each and every space in the home to determine which items were destined to be removed from the home for donation, recycle or trash; which items were to be given to family members, and which items were going to be removed but stored in another location, off site. Once all the rooms were processed in this manner, we then made our way up to the attic. This is when my stomach began it’s acrobatic display of flipflops and twirls. Here are a couple of pictures taken to give you a sense of what we were dealing with. There was very little space to even maneuver. The ceilings were high enough, however there were so many items stored, that there was very little space to walk. Furthermore, there were sections of the attic where safe footing was sparse, so we had to be very carefull where we stepped. Once in the attic, the same process of selecting which items were to go where was continued. And, as luck would have it, this first day of the project the temperature outside was about 27 degrees celcius which meant that the attic was at least 10 degrees hotter and very humid. 5 of the 8 hours of this first day were spent in the attic, moving items out and onto the lawn in a collection area. The last two hours of the day additional labour was brought in for the heavy lifting and continued evacuation of the attic. We made a huge dent that first day! Hot, sweaty, tired and exhausted, (and, if I’m being honest, still a little overwhelmed,) I reviewed our progress for the day, reviewed with my client the anticipated agenda for day 2 and left to go home to a good night’s sleep. My client was very happy with the progress made and I still hear his words clearly in my head when he said, repeatedly, “this is so much happiness for me”. It’s good to hear that I can provide a little happiness to my clients. I just love that.
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