Gift Giving at Parties

A Short Guide to Declutter Unwanted Gifts

One of the biggest challenges of living a clutter-free lifestyle is giving and receiving gifts, and now that season of birthdays, weddings, and parties is about to start, the struggle becomes real. Most of the time, we receive gifts that don’t quite satisfy our needs or expectations, but, out of respect for the gift-giver, we accept them anyway.

But how can we effectively deal with unwanted gifts that don’t serve us any purpose? In this article, we will share some practical tips to declutter unwanted gifts.

Be upfront about not wanting gifts

If you’re planning a party or any other event, your guests will likely want to spoil you with a little gift. If you don’t want this to occur, you must be honest about it and add a little note to the invitations specifically saying “No Gifts Please.” While some etiquette experts advise against it, we don’t see a problem with mentioning it politely. To make it more cordial, you can add a message like: “Your presence is your present.”

Give people alternatives

Even if you specify that you don’t want gifts, there will always be people keen to skip the rule. In these cases, you must give alternatives that don’t take up space in your house. You can, for example, suggest that your guests donate to a charity in your honor.

Return the gift

If all of this fails, there are other options you can consider. If you have the gift receipt, why not bring the item back to the store and either exchange it for something you like or get cashback instead? Ultimately, it’s your choice what you do with a gift. By returning it, you have the chance to get something you really need and avoid cluttering your house with purposeless items.

Making a Donation Online

Make a donation

If we are honest, most of us already have everything we need. So why keep collecting and offering random items to people who likely don’t need them? An honorable and thoughtful way of letting go of unwanted gifts would be donating them to local charities, thrift stores, schools, and shelters.

Sell or Re-gift your unwanted gifts

In addition to donating, you can also sell the items or give them to someone else as a present. You probably have a birthday or party just around the corner, so take the opportunity to make someone happy. Besides, doing so saves time and money and simultaneously avoids additional trash!

Nowadays, most people yearn for more sustainable and minimalist lifestyles. However, weddings, birthday parties, and special celebrations like Christmas usually fill up our houses with gifts that have no value or utility. If that’s your case, don’t feel pushed to keep gifts you don’t love or don’t use solely out of guilt. That will land you in a house full of clutter and disorganization. Deal with unwanted gifts by saying thank you and letting them go. And if you need help during the process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a free consultation.

Decluttering For Spring Cleaning

Home Decluttering Tips for Spring Cleaning

As the lethargy of winter fades away, a ritual that induces an urge to clean comes to the forefront of our minds: it’s time to freshen up our homes! Spring cleaning carries a delightful fresh-start feeling. It encourages a healthier lifestyle and helps us feel mastery over our immediate worlds. But how can we efficiently get our homes in tip-top shape in time for summer? We have a few unmissable decluttering tips for Spring cleaning that will surely help:

Set your goals

Spring cleaning looks different for everyone. For some, it means decluttering and organizing, while for others it means finding the time to do major home renovations. So before you start, make sure you know your priorities and what you wish to accomplish. Doing so will make your spring cleaning routine easier, faster, and much more relaxing.

Step by step!

Even if you’re feeling a sudden rush of energy, trying to organize the whole house in one go is impossible. A true spring clean doesn’t happen overnight, so you should take a moment to prepare. Start by mapping out a plan of attack and get your ideas on paper. Make a checklist of all your chores and set completion dates for each phase of your cleanup.

One room at the time

The best way to make cleaning and decluttering easier is to do it in stages. Focus on one room, one space, or even one zone within a room at a time. If your family is also getting involved in the cleaning, give each member a room to declutter or work as a team to declutter each space. This way, the process will be much faster – and fun too!

Get the right tools and cleaning products

Spring cleaning products and a few new organizers or clutter management tools, such as bins, crates, and shelving systems, might be just what you need to put some order in your house. But remember: these things can also create unnecessary clutter, so make sure that you only buy what you truly need.

Decluttering Tips for Spring Cleaning

Tackle the seasonal chores

Don’t just focus on your cabinets and shelves. Now that you’re preparing for the warm weather, there are many important chores that you can’t leave aside. Cleaning the patio, moving lightweight clothes to the front of closets, and wiping down the ceiling fans are some of the tasks you should add to your list.

Know when to ask for help 

If you have a big house or an incredibly busy schedule, doing a spring cleaning all by yourself might not be feasible. And even if your family is involved, it can still be hard to get everything properly organized. In this case, you can hire a professional organizer or even a house cleaning service to assist you.

And remember: even though spring is in the name, you can do a thorough clean any time of the year. If you need help decluttering and organizing your spaces, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We offer you a free telephone consultation so that you can tell us all about your goals for a clean, clutter-free environment.

gifting to your heirs

How to Declutter Your Home and Gift to Your Heirs

When decluttering your home, it can be challenging to decide who to gift your beloved possessions. Whether you have collected valuables along the way, received important gifts from friends or family, or kept sentimental items throughout your life, most of your belongings hold significant meaning. Giving these items away can feel like gifting part of yourself or your story to your family. This is what makes these moments so special and why you should be intentional about having conversations with your family about what they may or may not want.

Your family does want something

It can be tempting to believe that your kids and relatives don’t want any of your belongings. But it is important to note that it can be awkward for a close relative to ask for an item you value. So they may have never shown interest out of respect for you. But if you were to breach the topic with them, they might have some surprising answers for you.

gifting family heirloom

Ask your family what they want

Have you ever given someone a gift that you were so excited about, but their reaction was not at all what you had hoped? On the other hand, have you ever parted with something you considered junk, only to find it was someone else’s treasure? As you start to declutter your home, it is a good practice to ask your friends and loved ones if there is anything they would like to keep. Their answers may surprise you.

You might find that the things you love the most are not the things your family wants. For example, you may learn that your daughter wants your garden shovel, instead of your jewelry collection, because it reminds her of the times you spent together in your garden. This is why it’s important to have difficult conversations with your family, even if it feels daunting to discuss the gifting of your precious items, along with your mortality.

What if they reject my gift?

Keep in mind that it isn’t personal when someone declines a gift from you. If you offer something you have an emotional attachment to, but your relative says no, ask them what item they believe would help keep your memory alive. When they answer, ask them why they chose that particular item. Their answer may be something you haven’t thought of or even considered, but it will open up the door to a great conversation. And, you will know the gift you gave is meaningful to your loved one.

If you are passionate about some key items going to certain people, preface your gift by sharing why it is so important to you that they receive this gift. If sharing your jewelry with your daughter is important because you want the pieces to stay in the family line, share that with her. It will mean so much more to her when she knows how important it is to you.

Create something new

Remember that things can be upcycled as well. Upcycling is when an item is transformed, updated, or repurposed. For example, old t-shirts can be used to make blankets or gift wrap, dresser drawers can become flower planters, and books can be used as floating shelves. If you’re creative with your ideas, the list is endless.

And, as always – if you need some support or assistance in this process, please reach out. We’re here to help.

Organizing and Decluttering

How to Make Organizing and Decluttering Less Overwhelming

Are you tired of searching through cluttered drawers and shelves? Is your kitchen counter in chaos? Maybe you’ve been thinking about hiring a professional organizer. Here are some tips to help on your way to an organized home.

Go Slowly

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re looking at a room full of clutter. When you take on too much at once, you set yourself up for defeat. Instead, focus on one small area for 30 minutes. For example, clear off your nightstand or dresser instead of organizing the whole bedroom. Our professional organizers can help make decluttering tasks seem less daunting.

Take Photos and Make Lists

Your smartphone can be a helpful tool for organizing your home. Take photos of cluttered areas as you notice them, and make digital lists of things you don’t want to keep. Using your phone for these tasks prevents paper clutter and helps ensure that you won’t lose your notes.

It can be painful to give away items, even if you rarely use them. A professional organizer can walk through rooms with you, provide a neutral perspective and help you sort items into “keep” and “donate” categories..

Scan Documents and Receipts

Speaking of smartphones, there are apps that can scan and file documents on your device or in the cloud. You may need to save all those receipts for tax season, but why not store them digitally? Digitizing paperwork can help reduce clutter and ensure that you won’t misplace a key document. Sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, are more secure in a password-protected app than in a stack of receipts on the kitchen counter.

Organizing and Scanning Receipts

File Paperwork

Even in today’s digital world, you may still want to keep a small amount of paperwork. Papers can quickly pile up, however, and get out of control. A simple yet consistent filing system can keep your paperwork organized. For example, a small safe can securely store important papers. An old-fashioned filing cabinet takes up little space in a corner.

Maybe it’s just too much of a bother to take papers to the recycle bin. Try keeping a bag near your desk, the mailbox or other places where paper accumulates. When the bag is full of discarded paper, you only have to make one trip to recycle.

Put Things Away

When you come home at the end of a long day, it’s tempting to leave your coat and gloves on the nearest chair. One or two items at a time, however, can quickly add up to a chair that’s buried under a small mountain of clothes. The last thing you feel like doing is sorting through and putting away all those clothes.

It’s easier and less time-consuming to put things away right away. If you hang up your coat or put the book on the shelf now, you’ll have a neater room and less cleaning to do later.

Professional Organizing Service

The team at ClutterBGone can take the load off your shoulders and help you restore order and tranquility to your home. Is decluttering getting you down? Contact us today and get started with a free consultation.

Maintenance after Decluttering

Why You Should Have Continuous Maintenance After Decluttering

After hours of sorting, discarding, scanning, and filing, you have a neatly organized home or office. But that’s just the first step. Organization is a continuous process that requires regular maintenance. A professional organizing company can keep your closets, filing systems, and other storage areas clutter-free by performing tasks such as:

  • Maintaining filing systems
  • Swapping out seasonal clothing and other items
  • Archiving receipts, bank statements, and other documents
  • Maintaining an inventory of supplies

Basic Home or Office Maintenance

Even the most organized home or office can quickly become disorganized. Repetitive tasks such as processing mail can be time-consuming. While you’re living your life or running your business, your supply closet has gotten out of control and your calendar has needed updating. Without help from a professional organizer, basic home or office maintenance can end up low on the priority list.

With regularly scheduled check-ins, the professional organizers at ClutterBGone can stay on top of maintenance tasks. Your home or office will stay organized and run smoothly.

Maintaining Filing Systems

A well-maintained filing system is crucial for a home or office. You don’t need stacks of paperwork that could have been shredded months ago. Maybe you have items that can be scanned or stored in the garage or a hall closet instead of piling up on your desk.

With regular maintenance, you’ll have documents and other items at your fingertips when you need them. Instead of searching all morning for a misplaced receipt or phone number, you’ll have time for more important things.

Decluttering Maintenance

Seasonal Updates

From mudrooms to bedroom closets, changing seasons bring new organizing needs. Gardening tools replace snow shovels and t-shirts replace heavy sweaters. Swapping out seasonal items can be a tedious and time-consuming task. A professional organizer can update your closets, entryways, and mudrooms and keep them organized.

Archiving Documentation for Tax Preparation

Archiving documents and paperwork for tax preparation is an ongoing task. Bills, receipts, invoices, and other relevant items keep coming all year. A professional organizer can archive relevant files and paperwork on a regular basis. Your documents and paperwork will be efficiently categorized and organized as you receive them. When tax season arrives, you can have peace of mind knowing that you can readily access those important items.

Maintaining Inventory of Supplies

You don’t want to reach for postage stamps or a pen and discover that your supply has run out. With today’s hectic schedules, it’s easy to put off replenishing supplies. You don’t always have time to check how much paper you have or to make an extra trip to the store. Besides organizing your home or office, a professional organizer can monitor and maintain an inventory of your supplies. That way, your neatly arranged drawers or closets will always have what you need.

Continuous Support to Help You Stay Organized

Remember that sense of calm you felt after that first decluttering? ClutterBGone provides continuous support to keep your home or office organized. Contact us today to find out how we can help!

 

declutter for mental clarity

Beating the February Blahs by Decluttering

While many people talk about overcoming the January blues, far fewer look at the February blahs. It’s easy to feel down this time of year with cold temperatures and so much time indoors. It might surprise you that decluttering the home can help invigorate your spirit. Let’s talk more about it.

Mental Health Benefits of Clearing Clutter

Did you know that decluttering lowers stress? Another of the mental health benefits of removing excess stuff at home is better focus. When you have a messy home, it’s easy to be distracted and you might feel overwhelmed too.

Also, tidying up will likely help you feel good about your home, which is a mood and confidence booster. Now you can finally relax at home in the winter months (and the rest of the year).

You’re also going to be more likely to have people over when you’re proud of how it looks. Not to mention being able to find things when you’re looking for them rather than rummaging through piles of things.

Organized Food Pantry

Tips for Decluttering: Let’s Start!

Now that you’re getting pumped about all these great benefits, it’s time to begin removing the clutter. A great place to start is the pantry and other places you store food.

During the winter months, you’re probably not exercising as much, and you might be indulging in comfort foods too. This combo can lead to weight gain. Set yourself up for a healthier lifestyle that is better for your body and mind by cleaning out the shelves and fridge, giving away the treats.

Then stock up on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, eggs, and fish. Make it a goal to have healthier meals – and don’t forget that snacking on chocolate can be good for you too. Yum!

What to Clean Up Next?

Look around and see what area is causing you the most stress. It could be a whole room or part of the space, such as the closet. Then, focus on clearing the clutter there.

A common area for many people is the place where they put the mail. It can easily pile up over time. Taking a half-hour over a few days to open envelopes and store papers or recycle unwanted mail can easily help you feel better.

Be Realistic in Your Approach

Start small, in one or more of the ways outlined above, when it comes to decluttering. Our organizers encourage you not to overdo it; try 20-30 minute sessions rather than several hours.

Also, remember that there is no need for your home to be perfect like magazines. After all, the goal here is to reduce the winter blues, not to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of organizing it!

A Few Last Words on Beating the February Blahs

If you are depressed or anxious, reach out to a mental health professional for support. When it comes to feeling better about your home, our professionals offer easy, smart ways to declutter. Reach out to us today as part of your plan to de-stress and take back control of your home.

downsizing and decluttering tips

Downsizing and Decluttering: 3 Tips for Seniors

When nearing retirement, many people think about downsizing their house. Moving to a smaller space can lessen tasks like home repairs, make more sense for those with health issues, and help with saving money with reduced bills. If downsizing and decluttering are on your plan as a senior, these tips can help make the process easier to navigate.

1.      Make Thoughtful Decisions

Before making any steps, take the time to make some decisions. Think through what you want and ask yourself questions, such as where will you move to and when will you move?

Rather than rushing the process, take your time to ensure that your actions match what you want. Doing so can also help you avoid the stress of packing things last-minute.

Having a significant amount of time also gives you the chance to get used to the idea of moving. That can reduce anxiety along the way.

2.      Start Small

Begin in one room and focus on it, rather than thinking about the overall house, which can feel overwhelming. While in this room, decide what you want to do with decor, supplies, and other things there.

Consider donating items to a charity or giving your friends those items that you no longer use and any duplicates. Be sure to toss those things that are broken. If you’re unsure what to keep or donate, think about what will fit in your new space and what will suit your new lifestyle.

As you pack belongings into boxes, be sure to label them clearly. For example, write the room and contents of the box on the outside. An example is “Bedroom – Sheets and Pillows.” That way, you know exactly what is in the box when it comes time to unpack.

decluttering professional

3.      Team Up with Professionals

The downsizing and decluttering process can feel overwhelming, and thankfully you don’t have to do it alone. Enlist the help of loved ones who support you in the process. Consider also working with an organizing professional at ClutterBGone. We can smoothly transition to a smaller space while keeping the belongings that matter the most to you.

We are here for you, whether you want help with packing and unpacking, assistance with decisions about what to keep or donate, figuring out an organized room layout for furniture in your new home, and more. Rather than pushing you, we provide friendly support as you need it.

Making the Process Easier for Yourself

By following the tips above, your downsizing journey can be much easier. By taking much of the stress out of the equation, these suggestions help you look forward to starting a new chapter in a new space.

As the moving date gets closer, stay positive by focusing on what you will gain by moving rather than what you lose. Also, begin making plans with loved ones for after the move to help you settle into the new home.

Finally, keep out a box of essential items for the first day of the move so you won’t have to search through boxes. Among the things in it will likely be a change of clothes, toiletries, medications, and snacks.

Christmas Clutter

5 Types of Christmas Clutter and How to Tackle Them

From Christmas decor to gift wrap, a lot of clutter accumulates over the holiday season. To help you get back on track in the New Year, here are great decluttering and organizing tips for all the stuff around your house.

1.      Wrapping Paper

Once the presents are opened, the amount of wrapping paper can really add up. Often it gets thrown to the side in the excitement of getting to the next gift, later leaving you with pieces of the seasonal paper scattered around the room.

Thankfully, you can prevent the clutter with a bit of pre-planning. Before opening any gifts, grab a cardboard box or big bag and keep it close by. As each present gets unwrapped, put the paper into the box or bag. Easy!

2.      Cards

Holiday cards are a beautiful part of the season as the kind messages from loved ones mean so much. But, after the season ends, the paper waste can add up.

To get the most use out of them and cut down the clutter, simply make gift tags out of them. Cut sections of the cards into gift tag shapes and add a hole punch at the end. Then, store the tags with your gift wrap for use next year.

Christmas Gift Tags

3.      Decorations

It’s easy to get carried away with decor around the house over Christmas. There are so many beautiful objects to hang and display to show the spirit of the holidays.

With that said, less is more when it comes to household possessions. A handful of things can have more presence than countless ornaments and trinkets everywhere. Plus, more stuff costs money and requires extra time to clean, and you must find the space to store them the rest of the year.

As you pack things away at the end of the season, ask yourself if you still like the item. If not, donate it as part of paring down your decorations.

4.      Gifts

The reality is that someone in your household is likely to receive a present they won’t use or appreciate. These items can take up valuable space as they collect dust at home.

In this case, consider exchanging the item for something more appropriate or donating it. Another option is to ask for gift cards instead this year to make sure you get exactly what you want.

5.      Kitchen

Is the kitchen a mess? Between the sweets and the meal leftovers, there is likely a lot more food than usual. Begin by going through the fridge and clearing out any spoiled leftovers and treats you don’t want to tempt you.

Then, clean the fridge shelves and compartments, as well as the countertop. After that’s done, stock up on healthy foods to start the New Year off on the right foot.

A Few Last Words on Dealing with Christmas Clutter

Clutter quickly accumulates over the holidays, and the tips above can help you get your house back in January. If you want more help getting organized over Christmas and when the New Year comes, we’re happy to help you. Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season from the ClutterBGone team!

Decluttering Sentimental Items

What to Do with Sentimental Items when Decluttering

Organizing and decluttering possessions is a great way to reduce stress and improve the look of your home, along with many other benefits. But some things are more difficult to remove, such as the box of memorabilia tucked into a closet. Our professional organizers know that sentimental items can be the hardest to part with. We also understand that you don’t have to say goodbye to all of it. Here are suggestions for dealing with sentimental items while decluttering at home.

Why Sentimental Objects are Hard to Part With

A common fear among our clients is that tossing something that stirs up memories will somehow erase those recollections and the attached legacy. But those memories will not disappear when you let go of items that hold sentimental value. You will still remember the past, and those people, even without the memorabilia sitting in that box in the closet.

We’ve also heard people say that keeping their mementos is harmless. And that’s true if it were only one or two. Often, though, there are many small things, and when put together, they take up a lot of space. Your home becomes a storage space and holding onto numerous sentimental items can detract from their specialness.

You Don’t Have to Throw Everything Away

Let’s make that very clear. We are certainly not saying to toss all the memorabilia. Instead, we suggest:

Choose One Item per Event. Let’s say that you have five items from your college graduation in a box. We suggest choosing the one that means the most to you to symbolize the event, rather than keeping all five. This process pairs down the belongings while keeping a sentimental item per event.

Use the Item. Yes! You might be waiting for a special event to use the crystal wine glasses you received years ago from your grandmother. But what better way to honour her and her memory than by using those glasses often?

Donate to Help Others. For those keepsakes that you don’t use, think about whether it might mean more for someone else to use them rather than having them collect dust in your closet. If another person can love something the way you once did, or the way the person who gave it to you did, that can be comforting and special.

Take Photos. Consider taking photos of mementos and printing them to put into a keepsake book. Then, give away the physical objects. This way, you can look at them any time you want to reminisce, and the book takes up considerably less room than all the items.

storing sentimental items

Letting Go is Empowering

When you let go of excess items, you embrace a minimalist lifestyle. It can feel like a weight is lifted when an excessive number of items no longer surround you at home. Last of all, we want you to remember that the memories associated with the sentimental objects still exist in your heart.

If you’re not ready to give up something, we suggest putting it aside for a year. Then look at the item again and see if you’re ready to let it go at that point.

Our organizers offer support and suggestions for decluttering but never pressure you. If you are finding it difficult to organize the home, reach out to us today for a free consultation.

decluttering

You’ve Tackled Your Clutter, Now What?

Eliminating household clutter can improve the look and functionality of the home, and help you think clearer too as an abundance of stuff no longer surrounds you. Now that you’ve put in all that hard work, though, how do you keep your home organized? Find the answer below from our professional organizers.

Take 15 Minutes a Day

Rather than putting aside a full day every few months to stay on top of any clutter, spend about 15 minutes a day on this task. Breaking up the activity into bite-sized chunks makes it much more manageable.

Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment by the time you go to bed as you look back on the day. Be sure to take stock of what you’ve accomplished at the end of each week to motivate you to keep organizing the rooms.

Involve Everyone in the Household

If you have a partner, kids, or others living in the home, they’re also part of the cleanup solution. Get them involved in organizing the place and hold them accountable for any clutter they’ve accumulated.

For example, kids can clean their bedrooms or help you do so, depending on their age. Or ask them to unpack the dishwasher when they’re done school for the day. It’s impressive how much more can get done when everyone chips in with maintaining a tidy household.

Hire a Professional

Another way to stay on top of clutter is to outsource the task to one of our organizing professionals. We provide maintenance support services that are personalized to you, depending on your needs.

For example, it could be switching over your wardrobe as the new season comes or archiving files and papers to prepare for tax time. If you don’t have the energy or time to stay organized in your home or office, the continued support of the ClutterBGone team can provide the solution. Plus, you’ll have more time to spend with your loved ones.

decluttering

Leave Room for Future Items

One more way to maintain an organized home is to ensure that when you decluttered originally, you left room for growth. The reality is that you will accumulate more items after decluttering the house. That’s normal.

What’s important here is to make sure you have the room to expand, at least a bit. For example, only partially fill the storage containers that you used when decluttering around the house. That way, you can easily add items to the bins in the future, rather than stressing about where to put them.

Keep It Simple

Keeping a space looking great also involves avoiding overly complex organizing rules. If no one in your home understands how things are arranged, how are they going to be able to stay organized? Also, if the process of putting things away takes a lot of time, you’re less likely to do it and it’s more challenging to stay on top of things.

Keeping your home clean and tidy after decluttering is easier with the tips above. Staying on track and keeping it that way IS possible!