How to Downsize When You Retire

downsize when you retire

More and more people are retiring or preparing for retirement as the population ages. As we start out in life, we purchase a small starter home and increase in size as our family grows. Most of us stay in this larger family home after the kids are gone to hold the family gatherings. Or maybe even to keep the space available for the returning kids.

It’s difficult to let go of the home that you have lived in for many years. There are many memories there too but at some time we need to downsize into a more manageable space. If you’re about to retire and are thinking about downsizing your home here are some tips to help you.

Define the reasons for downsizing

There are a variety of reasons why people want to downsize when they retire. You can free up cash or reduce mortgage payments allowing you to do the things you want to do in your retirement years. Maybe the stairs at home have become a bit of a challenge and you need to move into a bungalow or maybe you just want to move closer to the kids and the grandkids.

Let go of the clutter

downsize when you retireAfter living in your home all those years, you’ve surely accumulated a lot of items. There’s furniture and decorations to consider. Will all these fit into your new space? The sentimental items are the hardest to go through and decide what to keep. Emotions can sometimes take over and stop you from making the tough decisions. That is where a professional organizer like ClutterBGone can help. We are non-judgemental and don’t have the emotional attachment that you do.

How much space do you need?

When downsizing be realistic about the space you need. Do you need the four bedrooms, 3-bathroom home that you currently have? Do you need the two-car garage? Will you be hosting the family dinners that you use to? Will you be having company over as often? In most cases we have seen clients reduce the footprint of their kitchen and dining rooms drastically.

What will you do with the items not coming with you?

downsize when you retireNow that you’ve made the decisions on what comes with you and what doesn’t, what will you do with the items you no longer require? It’s an easy decision for the items that you’ve been storing for the kids. Call them up and have them pick it up. For the rest, determine what will be sold, what will be donated and what will be thrown out. Again, this is something that’s a lot easier with a professional.

So, if you’ve made the decision to downsize when you retire, follow these tips to make the transition go smoother. And, if you need the assistance of a professional, ClutterBGone has helped many others in the same situation that you are about to find yourself in. Contact us here to find out more.

How Being Organized Can Change Your Life

organizing can change your life

When we at ClutterBGone complete a project with a client we frequently hear how being organized has changed our clients’ lives. It really is one of the reasons why we love what we do. There are many benefits to being organized. You will feel a peaceful calm at home, your health and finances will be in better shape and it can have a positive impact on your relationships.

Let’s look at some of the benefits in more detail.

Improve your productivity

Both at home, and at work, your productivity will improve. You won’t be wasting as much time looking for things in an organized environment and once you’re organized the system we leave you with will keep you organized. You’ll have more time to spend with your loved ones or even have the time for that cup of coffee in the morning.

Save money

organizing can change your life Many people don’t understand just how much money you can save by being organized. Bills will be paid on time thereby saving late fees. Your credit score will improve as well. You won’t be buying duplicates of items that you can’t find but know you have somewhere. In more than one case we found cheques that were misplaced! Luckily, they weren’t stale dated yet.

Feel that sense of calm

Just being in an organized space is relaxing. Not only is clutter an eyesore but it’s stressful just looking at it. Now, just imagine living in an organized space. No more running around looking for things that you need at the last minute. No more panic attacks when you need something but can’t find it. This sense of calm will also transfer over to other members of the family and who wouldn’t want that?

Being organized is healthy for you


Let’s face it, stress is a killer and being disorganized can cause a lot of stress. organized can change your lifeOnce you are organized you’ll find you have the time to do things you love or always wanted to do. You’ll have the time to hit the gym or meet up with friends or sometime for a quick walk at lunch time. Many of us don’t do these things because we “don’t have the time”. Let us help you find that time.

In a nutshell, being organized brings you a sense of calm that translates to improved health and wellness. So, what are you waiting for? Contact ClutterBGone here to find out how we have changed the lives of many clients and how we can change yours.

Getting And Staying Organized For The Holidays

Image result for christmas images
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and maybe you’re already getting tired of the holiday ads on TV. It’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner. We all know that the holidays around Christmas are the most stressful of the year. Here are a few ideas to help stay calm and organized during this hectic time.

Holiday Shopping

stay organized during the holidaysThe shopping centers will confirm that a lot of you put off the holiday shopping until the last minute. Set some time aside to get it done earlier.  Calendarize it if you need to and treat it like an appointment – no changes.  Arrange a babysitter if need be or if you’re able to book an afternoon off work, even better.  The shopping malls get crazy with each passing day, as you know.  Last minute shopping is the perfect recipe for stress over the holidays and for purchasing items that tend to lead to clutter.

Gift Wrapping

Gather all of your wrapping supplies and keep them in one place.  Make a list of what you are short of and get out to buy what you need before the selection is minimal in the stores.  A basket or even a box will do to hold the tape, ribbons, bows, etc. that you will need.  I use an old cookie tin for bows to keep them from being flattened.  Gently tie all of your rolls of wrapping paper together.  Prepare a ‘wrapping station’ somewhere in the house and bring all of the gifts to this area for wrapping.  Everyone will know where the station is and you will not have to hunt down the supplies when other people wrap gifts.

Meal time

Christmas to me is all about the meal with family and friends. Sure, the gifts can be nice but there is nothing like the laughs and conversations you have around the dinner table. Make a list now of everything that you will need for dinner.  If you order a fresh bird for dinner, get it ordered soon to ensure the type and size is available. If wine is on your list, you can expect crowds at the stores so get out there early while your favourite is still in stock and avoid the long line-ups.  Don’t forget the extras like the cranberry sauce and rolls.  The Christmas meal is one of my favorites of the year.

Do you have room for the new arrivals?

Now is the time to go through the toys or clothes of your kids and purge what is no longer usable or just doesn’t fit any longer.  You know family is going to spoil the kids with a lot of gifts so make room now and reduce the stress of trying to make everything fit into the same space later.  Have the kids get involved.  It will build their excitement leading up to the big day. Don’t forget about your own closet too.

Gift Giving

I’m sure you have already given plenty of thought to what you are going to purchase for your loved ones.  Many of us anguish and plead for hints or ideas trying to give that special gift.  Many items over the holidays are returned or even worse, not used at all and end up adding the to clutter that people already have.  When in doubt gift cards are always appreciated and with the newer consumer laws most will not have an expiry date.

The holidays are traditionally a very stressful time for most of us but with a little bit of planning we can reduce the stress and stay organized during this time.  If you need assistance in getting ready for Christmas there is still time.  Contact us here to see how we can help.

 

Where to Start When Organizing Your Home

organizing your home

When you finally decide to start organizing your home the first question that comes up is “where do I start?” Is there a certain order to follow? Do we start with the largest rooms? The most used? The most cluttered? Unfortunately, it all depends on who you speak to. Each professional organizer will have a different viewpoint. It also depends on you and the resources you have available. How much time do you have to devote to this? Do you have anybody to assist you? Will you be hiring a professional organizer?

Here is where we at ClutterBGone would begin the process of organizing your home.

Which room gives you the most grief?

We always ask our clients which room they would like to gain control of the most. organize your homeIt’s easy to say the whole house but there is one room that is causing you the most grief. One room that is resulting in more misplaced items, more lost productivity, one room that became a drop zone, maybe even one room that looks the worse than the others.

How much time can be dedicated to the task?

Each room you work on will require a much different amount of time. Kitchens will often be the most cluttered room but can be organized rather quickly because we are working in a smaller area with many of the same items such as dishes, spices and the likes. Bedrooms on the other hand can take a lot more time. ClutterBGone receives a lot of requests to organize bedrooms, and bedroom closets in particular. Each item must be looked at to make a decision on whether to keep, donate or toss. Then, it all has to go back in a way that is organized, with a system that works for you.

Do you have the space for storage?

organize your homeOnce the organizing process starts you are going to have items that you want or need to keep but rarely use. These items will need to be stored away. Do you have the space for the storage of items? Do you have the materials required to store items like shelving or containers? The area that you use for storing unused items must also be organized in a way that makes it easy to find and retrieve items.

Slow and steady wins the race

All that clutter wasn’t created overnight so it’s going to take some time to gain control of your room and home. Keep the end goal in mind and recognize the small victories as they occur, like an organized drawer or a cleared surface. Dedicate the time that is needed. Enlist the help of family or friends or a professional organizer to help with the task.

Overcoming clutter and getting organized again will take some time and dedication on your part but the results will wow you with a transformed living space and a feeling of accomplishment on your part. ClutterBGone has seen this time and time again.

If you are about to start the decluttering process to get your home organized give ClutterBGone a call at 647-642-5669 or click here. We can help you decide where to start and have your home organized in no time.

 

 

Organize Your Garage for Winter

organized garage

Winter is coming! No, we’re not talking about Game of Thrones. Winter really is coming with all it’s joys like the cold temperatures and snow. Personally, I’m not a fan of the season but I know many who are. I typically don’t park my car in the garage during the summer, but I sure like to keep it in there for the winter. It saves me the hassle of clearing the snow off after a storm and keeps the car a little warmer.

Now is the time to get your garage organized for the winter before it gets too cold.

Dedicate the time

Set aside a whole day. After a whole summer of tossing things into the garage you are going to need a full day to get them out, sorted and put away.

Have the right storage items

You can save a lot of time by having the right storage items before you start. organized garageYou don’t want to be running off to the store during the project to pick up what you forgot to purchase. Plan on having a large trash can and trash bags, shelving if they will fit, hooks for hanging items on the walls and a few clear storage containers. We’ve worked on many garages with our clients and know what will be needed from start to finish.

Let’s get started

Everything comes out. As you bring it out sort it into piles of what goes elsewhere (like the shed, basement or back to your neighbour!), what goes back in and what is not used. The not used pile will require further sorting to determine what you are going to do with it. Once everything is out, give the garage a good cleaning to get the dirt out, clean out the cobwebs and chase those spiders out.

Use the vertical space

Some of the garages in the newer homes are quite small. organized garageIf you don’t have enough space for free standing shelving, use the vertical space that you have. There are plenty of shelves and hooks that can accommodate almost any storage need on a wall. ClutterBGone has seen them all and carries an inventory of some of the most common ones.

Designate and label the spaces

As with any organizing project, ClutterBGone works with our clients to design a storage system that works for them. We designate a space for items based on how often it’s used among other things and always label spaces and containers for easy retrieval and put away.

Tips

While organizing your garage don’t forget to turn off and bleed your water taps. Don’t leave any liquids in the garage that can freeze during the winter.

I don’t know what it is about garages, but ClutterBGone loves tackling these organizational challenges. If you’re not a do-it-yourself kind of person and need your garage prepped for the upcoming winter, reach out to us here. During our initial consultation we’ll work together to formulate the plan and then show up with the needed supplies and have your car in the garage for winter in no time.

 

 

How to Stay Organized in Very Small Spaces

organized small space

I recently went on vacation and had the opportunity to tour a US Naval ship. The sleeping quarters were extremely small, and I noticed how the sailors kept all their possessions in very small spaces. It got me thinking about those that live in really small spaces like condos. Here’s a few tips on how to maximize your very intimate space.

Be ruthless about what comes in

When you live in a small space you really need to make tough decisions about what comes in to your home. Generally, I really have to love something to purchase it, especially clothes. When you live in tight spaces you can attain that cluttered look really quickly. Remember our one in, one out rule.

Declutter on a regular basis

ClutterBGone always recommends that you declutter on a regular basis, but it’s even more important when space is at a premium. organized small spaceDiarize this task if you need to. Take a look around and note what you haven’t looked at or picked up in the last year or more. That wedding book from ten years ago, the small appliances that don’t get used. They can be donated, sold or even put in storage to keep your small space organized and decluttered.

Increase your closet space

Adding a closet rod in your closet will double your storage capacity. organized small spaceThis works really well if you have 9- or 10-foot ceilings as most condos these days do. We’ve even put small dressers into a closet to increase the space in the bedroom which resulted in a less cluttered look.

Increase your dresser space

Rolling your t-shirts instead of folding them can increase your space in a dresser. Organizing by color can help you identify what you own and eliminate you buying something you already have and don’t need.

Take advantage of all spaces

Look up. Use the vertical space where you can to add shelves or hooks. This can get items off the floor or off the horizontal spaces. This makes your room look a lot more spacious and organized. Do you have room under your bed to store a clear container with last seasons clothes? ClutterBGone knows where to look for additional space and how to take advantage of it.

There are unlimited ways to improve your storage in a small space and ClutterBGone knows how to stay organized in tight spaces to give you the clutter free look. Just contact us here to see how we can help you.

Keeping Your Storage Area Organized

 

organized storage area

Typically, when you organize your home or just a single room you’ll have items that you want and need to keep but don’t know where to put them. In the case of organizing an entire home you’re probably going to have enough items to keep that you’ll want a storage area.

You probably haven’t thought of keeping your storage area organized, but we at ClutterBGone have!

Invest in shelving

You need a place to store your items and containers. Shelving will keep your precious items being stored high and dry but also makes it easy to retrieve. There are many types of shelving available depending on your needs. We can help you decide which ones are right for you and your needs.

Use clear containers

ClutterBGone promotes the use of clear containers in order to quickly identify the items that are in them. It saves time when you need to retrieve these items quickly for whatever reason. We’ve seen a lot of storage areas that look like a bomb went off with containers and lids strewn everywhere after trying to find something. Colour bins are a big no-no.

Label it

When ClutterBGone completes a project all bins and shelves are labelled. organized storage areaA label maker is a definite must when organizing. When you need those Christmas decorations once a year or when you need those craft supplies they’ll be easy to see and retrieve. Label both the container and the shelf so you and everyone else in the family, knows where it goes when it gets put back.

Use the vertical space

Just like the rest of your home, we like to take advantage of vertical space where it is available. Add a few shelves for extra storage space or hang a few items on the wall where you can.

ClutterBGone carries an inventory of all of the items you need for organizing your storage area so we are ready to go right from day one. We even carry our label makers everywhere! If you need help with your organizing project in the Greater Toronto Area, we are available to help. Just contact us here.

How Does A Person Become A Hoarder?

becoming a hoarder

We hear a lot about hoarding these days especially with all the TV shows surrounding the now popular term. At ClutterBGone we get asked a lot why people hoard and how they become a hoarder. I thought we would take this opportunity to answer some of the questions we get asked.

What exactly is hoarding?

Hoarding was a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) however it’s now being studied as a mental health category on its own. Recent statistics estimate that one in four people with OCD are also hoarders. With these numbers more and more people are coming forward to open up about how hoarding is affecting all aspects of their lives.

What are the symptoms of hoarding?

There are many symptoms of hoarding, some of which apply to clutter in general.becoming a hoarder

Hoarders tend to live in cluttered spaces and have an inability to rid themselves of pretty much anything. You’ll see stacks and piles of everything from reading material to clothes scattered everywhere. A hoarder’s idea of cleaning up is to move a pile of something to a new spot without discarding anything. People with hoarding tendencies are more often than not procrastinators and have minimal social lives.

How can I help someone I know that is a hoarder?

Before attempting to assist anyone with hoarding tendencies you will need to educate yourself about hoarding. Hoarding may not make sense to you, but it’s a real mental heath issue and needs to be treated as such. Never remove any belongings of a hoarder. This can cause great emotional distress and could threaten your relationship with this loved one. You ultimately will lose their trust, this is something that is very important if you have any hope of helping the individual.  Instead, see if they would like some assistance in organizing their belongings or better yet, help them find professional treatment.

What is the difference between hoarding and just plain clutter?

It may seem that there is a fine line between hoarding and clutter however when assessed properly you can understand the difference greatly. Hoarding falls under a category of mental health all on its own whereas clutter is actually a matter of sorting, purging and organizing. We all live with clutter at some point and can get through it ourselves or with professional help like ClutterBGone, but hoarders cannot get it done on their own at all. Think of it like this, having a messy home versus living in a home where you’ve lost most functionality.

I hope we have answered some of the questions we get asked quite a bit about hoarding. If you have any more that you need answered, or if you need any assistance in getting your clutter under control, just reach out to us here.

 

Is Clutter Affecting Your Relationships?

clutter and relationships

In many of the project’s ClutterBGone has worked on, we’ve seen the impact that clutter has on relationships.  Clutter can have a negative impact on family and friends and can be a factor in a deteriorating relationship. Here are a few ways that clutter can affect a relationship.

Clutter makes you feel tired and depressed

Clutter is overwhelming. Most people living with clutter just can’t find the energy to get started let alone declutter an entire area. Clearing the clutter and living in an organized space gives you a feeling of accomplishment and gives you the energy to do what is important to you. Clutter is also depressing. Feelings of hopelessness can increase with clutter. Relief can come, at some extent, from getting organized and reducing the clutter in your lives. A new, organized space gives a feeling of starting anew with a renewed sense of energy that your family and friends will see right away.

Procrastination

Most disorganized people are procrastinators. Everything is left to the last minute or even later. They find it difficult to put things away immediately and leave it until the clutter has grown into a pile that seems impossible to get to the bottom of. Bills get paid late or not even at all. Interest charges mount, your credit rating is negatively affected and we know that finances are the biggest cause of arguments in a marriage. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to turn this around with a system that we create just for you.

Harmony at home

Clutter is also a cause of arguments at home. clutter and relationshipsThe home may always look like a bomb has gone off. Even though your home may be clean, clutter can make it look messy and dirty. If one partner is a neat freak and the other let’s clutter dominate then we have a recipe for arguments. Let’s clear out the clutter, get organized and reduce the things that put a strain on relationships. Lord knows there is enough of those already!

Clutter is isolating

Many people who live with clutter admit that they don’t want to have people over. They are embarrassed with the condition of their home. Social contacts get reduced and you start to miss out on important social activities. Relationships are important to our mental well being. Don’t let clutter rule your social life.

Don’t let clutter negatively affect your family and friends. Let ClutterBGone show you how to declutter your life and improve your relationships. Just contact us here to get things started.

Do You Have These Pieces Of Clutter In Your Home Right Now?

pieces of clutter in the home

Most of us aren’t able to objectively identify items that are no longer needed. We keep things because we think they have value or we think we may need them some day. Unless they are really broken beyond repair we tend to hold onto things we just don’t need or use. That is how clutter accumulates. Here is a quick list of some of the more popular items we find in clients’ homes that really need to go.

Glasses

ClutterBGone has found so many pairs of prescription glasses in homes that have not been worn in many years. In some cases, we have found 6 or more. Besides the pair you use now, keep the most recent pair in case something happens to your current prescription and donate the rest, so the frames can be reused.

Food containers

How many containers do you have without a lid? How many containers do you have that are really stained? The food container drawers are one of the most disorganized areas in a kitchen. If it can’t be used, or doesn’t have a matching lid, get rid of it.

Clothing

Do you dread opening your closet in the morningpieces of clutter in your home? Does it take you too long to find what you want to wear? Time is valuable in the morning and a cluttered closet can get your day started off in the wrong direction. Styles change, seasons change, heck even our bodies change. Pair down what’s not worn.

What about those single socks you’re saving? You know the dryer will never cough up the matching pair again. Donate any clothing that no longer fits or is in need of repair. A neat and organized closet or drawer will make you more productive and reduce your stress. Let us show you how.

Check the fridge

I love to grab some take out when I am in a rush or just don’t feel like cooking. But, I am never going to use those packets of condiments that are left over. We see them all the time in the fridges of clients. The same holds true for salt and pepper packets in the cupboards. Rather than trying to save a penny or two keep your kitchen clean and organized and toss them out!

Do you dare take a look in your junk drawer?

ClutterBGone has seen it all in junk drawers. Do you really need all those elastics, pieces of string, plastic forks and other useless items? I realize the need for a drawer to keep miscellaneous items (I don’t like the term junk drawer) but many people use this drawer as a drop point for items that will never see the light of day again. Make a point of going through this drawer several times a year and throw out what hasn’t been used since the last clean out.

Old electronics

Let’s speak to something all men can relate to. I’m not just talking single men but to all the husband’s out there as well. Many of you hold onto old electrical cords knowing you will find a use for it later but, you never do. What about that collection of TV remotes you’re holding onto?  Cell phones too. Why hang onto the older technology when the reason we upgrade is for the newer technology? Recycle or donate these items. You know you’ll never use them again, so why not give it to someone who will.

Small appliances

If you have any small kitchen appliances that no longer work I implore you to toss, recycle or donate them. You’re not going to suddenly enroll in a repair class and if they no longer work, why have them take up the space?

Reading material

We find older editions of magazines and newspapers in a lot of our clients’ homes. The rule of thumb is to toss out the previous issue when the new one comes in. If two editions have not been read by the time the third edition arrives it may be time to think about cancelling your subscription to save the money and avoid clutter. There’re so many other ways now to stay informed besides printed copies.

These are just a few of the many pieces of clutter that ClutterBGone has seen in many homes. We know what to look for and can help you keep your home organized and clutter free. Just contact us here to see how ClutterBGone has assisted others in the GTA.