6 Similarities Between Swedish Death Cleaning and ClutterBGone

Swedish death cleanse

You probably see the title of this blog and think what can this be all about? Interestingly enough Swedish Death Cleaning is actually the newest trend in downsizing and organizing. A new book by Swedish author Margareta Magnusson entitled The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning may be worth a read.

This new book centers on the concept of de-cluttering before you die so you don’t leave an unorganized, cluttered mess to your survivors. This is something we at ClutterBGone preach to our clients in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area all the time as well so I thought I would see what other similarities we shared with this new book.

1. Don’t be a burden

Your belongings are yours and your family most likely will not want the vast majority of them. Swedish death cleanseMore so if they are left in a cluttered mess. Whether it is clothing, furniture or dishes, styles change and tastes are different. If you are saving items just to pass them on after you are gone then you are saving them for the wrong reason.

2. Will I be happier if I save this?

The author asks this question and if the answer is not an emphatic yes then it is probably time to let it go. If a family member doesn’t want it now, perhaps you could sell it, donate it or recycle it. We challenge our clients in the same way. If you don’t absolutely love it, then leave it.

3. Don’t start with sentimental items

Typically if you start the de-cluttering process with photos or other personal items you are going to get slowed down with memories and the whole project could get slowed down or even put off. Start with clothing, books or in the kitchen and save the sentimental items for the end of the project. A great idea, and one that we follow.

4. The suggested items to downsize

Like us, the author suggests areas that are easy to become cluttered and unorganized. We have been helping clients for many years now and know what to look for even before we get into your home.

5. Once you are done establish a maintenance program

At ClutterBGone we never leave a clients home without ensuring that we have set them up with a system to keep things in place and clutter free. Recently we completed a large home organizing project in Aurora when we unpacked and organized a client’s new home with everything in place and super efficient. We also have maintenance packages available for those that need it.

6. Think about your impending death

This can be a sensitive issue and no one really wants to think about this. But, you do want to think about the impact your clutter will have on your loved ones after you are gone. The earlier you start the process, the better. It’s a lot to put on your children and other family members when you pass on.Swedish death cleanse

This summer we completed a home de-cluttering project in Unionville where siblings were left with their parents’ home and 60 years full of memories. Wanting to sell the home quickly it needed to be seriously decluttered, keeping the valuable items and then prepared for sale.

With a team of 3 professionally trained organizers we sorted every single item in that house, all three floors, including a full crawl space and garage, pulling many items for auction, for family, recycle, toxic waste, trash etcetera. A lot of work completed in 11 days and three full 20-yard waste bins! Via auction our clients came out with almost $10,000 from the auctioned items that they were initially going to dump in the bin!

All in all there are quite a few similarities between the Swedish Death Cleaning and the de-cluttering and organizing services offered by ClutterBGone. Whether you need home decluttering and organizing in Newmarket, Aurora, Thornhill, Richmond Hill or any other town or city in the Greater Toronto Area we’d love to liberate you of that burden.

We can help you too. We just don’t have a scary name for it.

 

 

5 Clever Steps To Downsize & Ease Your Mind

downsize

Downsizing is more than just a term to throw around for liberating yourself of items when you no longer have enough space. Downsizing is essential to most of us at some point in our lives. Whether you’re moving yourselves into smaller quarters due to aging or moving closer to the city where house prices are higher and therefore you get less for your money, we are all going to downsize at some point.

Have you seen those reality shows where people try to move into the smallest homes they can find? Do you wonder how they do that? Here are some guidelines that will assist you when the time comes for you to downsize.

Do I really need that?

That is the first question to ask yourself. The fact that you need to ask the question is telling you something. Take a good look around and make a list of everything that you just can’t live without. Now look at what’s left and ask yourself that same question.

If you have not used an item for over a year chances are you really don’t need it. downsizeHow about that chair that you “inherited” from a family member? Saving it for the kids? They are not likely going to want it either, so why not donate it to someone who can truly appreciate it now? Be practical knowing that space may be at a premium for you.

What about those duplicates?

Again, make a list. Are you moving in with someone? What do they have that you already have and vice versa? Go over this list before the move and decide what is coming with you, as good intentions tend to fly out the window after you have settled in. How about your dishes? Have duplicates there? Everyday dishes, “good” dishes, dishes packed away somewhere? When is the last time you entertained for a large gathering? Do you need enough wine and beer glasses for a sorority party or is rental an option? It may be time to pare them down.

Donate, gift or cash?

A lot of items that you no longer need can be used by many charities to help others in need. You can check on line for charities in your area. Many will have a free pick up service and will make good use of your items.

Your children may have their eye on a special item that you have or perhaps they could use an extra chair or table now. downsizeGive some thought to gifting to them now rather than later so you can see them enjoying your items. You can always sell what you no longer require as well. You worked hard to downsize so why not sell the items and use the cash for something you have always wanted? Go ahead, treat yourself.

Have the tools ready

When moving into smaller quarters you will have to think like a professional organizer. Containerize when you can and use clear plastic containers so you can easily see what is stored inside. Lazy Susan’s are great to take advantage of minimal cupboard space and double up your storage in your closets with extra closet rods.

Maintenance is key

Once you have completed the task of downsizing you will wonder how you lived with everything you did. Remember the number one rule – one in = one out. Regardless of what it is but especially with clothing, when one comes in select a similar item to go out. Schedule periodic times to take stock of what you have and what you can do without.

To learn more about how ClutterBGone can assist you with your downsizing dilemmas, simply contact us here. We would love to have a chat.

Do You Really Think You Are A Hoarder?

Hoarding

Many of our clients refer to themselves as “hoarders”. A lot of people use the term to describe others who have more possessions than they think they should have. Individuals that have been medically diagnosed as a hoarder typically require specialty services relating to de-cluttering and much more than just downsizing and organizing services.

What is Hoarding?

Hoarding is the overwhelming difficulty of throwing away or getting rid of one’s possessions. It is often classified as a compulsive behavior. The possessions could range from plastic bags to old newspapers and magazines. Regardless of the items accumulated the value of them are irrelevant to the owner. Those with this compulsive behavior accumulate a large quantity of possessions, which is what makes this behavior stand out in comparison to other people. The compulsive behavior, which is associated with hoarding, can also be related to compulsive buying, compulsive collecting of free items, or a compulsive search for the perfect item. An individual diagnosed with hoarding is unable to let go of any item, regardless of the value.

Hoarding is not to be confused with collecting. The behavior of collectors is often prideful in regards to their possessions and are proud to display their items. Collectors are also more organized than hoarders.

What are the Symptoms of Hoarding?

Individuals with a hoarding disorder often demonstrate severe anxiety when attempting to get rid of an item, or have the inability to discard their possessions to make space for new ones. hoardingThose affected with this compulsive behavior often find it difficult to organize their belongings, as they often feel unsettled about where to keep them. In some cases, they even feel unsettled about their possessions, and often act suspicious of other people touching any of the items. This compulsive behavior causes obsessive thoughts of their items whereabouts, or possibly not having enough of one particular item.

Why Do People Hoard?

The compulsive thoughts associated with hoarding are often that the individual believes they need the item for future use, feel a strong sentimental value towards it, feel it is irreplaceable, or they got such a great deal that they don’t want to throw it away. In some cases hoarding may be a disorder on its own; however, it is a common symptom of other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and/or depression.

How Does Hoarding Affect One’s Quality of Life?

Hoarding diminishes one’s quality of life considerably. Due to a considerable number of possessions, the hoarder’s living space may become unhealthy or even dangerous. Many hoarders will live without basic comforts, and cope with things such as broken appliances or furnace in order to avoid somebody coming into their living space to fix the problem. In many cases, this behavior causes issues among the individual’s family, from feelings of anger and resentment to depression. Hoarding can affect the social development of children who live in the space, and can have an impact on the family structure from divorce to loss of child custody. Hoarding can cause the living space to be unlivable, which may lead to eviction. Serious financial problems can occur as well.

What are the Effects of Hoarding?

As a result, hoarding behavior can be damaging and affects both the individuals with the hoarding behavior and their family members. hoardingThis behavior can affect those on many levels, including emotional, physical and social, as well as financial and/or legal. In some cases, due to the loss of living space because of the large quantity of items, the living conditions can cause health problems.

So you see, hoarding is much more than just being disorganized and having clutter in the home. Hoarders typically don’t see a problem with their behavior and rarely reach out for assistance on their own.

If you need help with your organizing and clutter challenges look no further than your professional organizing team at ClutterBGone. ClutterBGone is proud to serve Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, including York and Durham regions. From home organizing and downsizing, to small office organizing, ClutterBGone is here to liberate you from your clutter!

When Is Virtual Organizing Right For You?

virtual organizing services GTA

Virtual organizing is a new platform to assist certain clients in getting their space(s) organized. It may not be for everybody but how do you tell if it is right for you?

You’re self-motivated

You need to be self-motivated in order to take advantage of virtual organizing. Together we will set a goal and you can visualize the results and ensure you have what it takes to work independently to complete the tasks given to you. You are a do it yourself person.

You don’t need to be handy but you do need to be able to roll up your sleeves and get things done. We are there to help by giving you the guidance you need but with virtual organizing you are doing the physical work.

You are a busy individual

We all lead busy lives in this day and age, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time required to have a team come into your home to work side by side with you.
virtual organizingVirtual organizing allows you to carve out the time you need when you have it. We’re available when you are for guidance and advice so you’re working on your own schedule.

You don’t want people coming into your home

People have many reasons for not wanting people coming into their home. Some clients are a bit reclusive. Others may have a sick family member with them and feel having people coming into the home could be intrusive. We understand and are available to help you get organized through this new service we offer.

You live in a rather rural area

As much as ClutterBGone would like to be everywhere, we just can’t – until now. virtual organizing servicesVirtual organizing allows for anybody to take advantage of our professional service. We have been servicing the GTA with our trained, insured team and can now offer our virtual organizing services to anybody at anytime, anywhere.

So, when is virtual organizing right for you? The answer is right now. If any of the characteristics above stopped you from hiring ClutterBGone in the past, those obstacles are now removed with virtual organizing. Contact us today to get started on organizing your home.

How Do You Know It’s Time To Hire A Professional Organizer?

hire a professional organizer

Your lives are constantly busy with work and family. It seems life just keeps getting busier with no time for a lot of home maintenance or chores. You hire a gardener to tend to the gardens. You hire a cleaning service to clean the house. When do you know it’s time to hire a professional organizer?

Many people think of professional organizers for the chronically disorganized or something for people with sever hoarding tendencies. We do get calls for that but most of our calls come from busy professionals like you who need a hand to tackle problem areas or your whole home. So how do you know when it’s time to call in the pro’s?

You really have no time to spare

Between your career, your personal life, your time spent with your family and the many other things that tie up your life you just don’t have time to get everything done. hire a professional organizerThings have piled up and your life and home have become disorganized to the point where you know you can’t do it yourself. That is where we come in.

You feel isolated

Disorganization and clutter can lead to a reduced social life. You become embarrassed to have family or friends over for fear of what they may think. ClutterBGone has helped many clients regain control of their clutter and have seen their social life, and confidence, improve dramatically.

It’s becoming a safety hazard

We have had many clients reach out to us for their own home or on behalf of their parents because the clutter has become a safety issue. Too much clutter can be a trip or a fire hazard.

You spend too much time looking for things

This is a common complaint. According to Newsweek the average person spends 55 minutes a day looking for things they own but can’t find. I don’t know about you but I can think of a lot of things I would rather do with that time. Let us help you get some of your time back.

Are you feeling depressed?

Researchers at UCLA found that there is a definite link between clutter and depression. The more stuff we have the more stress women feel. hire a professional organizerFunny that it doesn’t hold true for men. Even families that want to reduce clutter often are emotionally paralyzed when it comes to sorting and pairing down objects. You either can’t break sentimental attachments to objects or believe your things have some hidden monetary value. At ClutterBGone we bring an impartial viewpoint to help you make those decisions and rid you of that stress.

If you recognize any of these signs then perhaps it’s time to bring in the reinforcements to get your home organized and clutter free. We’re easy to reach just click here.

Are You a Good Candidate for Virtual Organizing?

virtual organizing

Many of you know what a Professional Organizer does. We come into your home and work to organize and de-clutter the space(s) causing you the most grief and frustration. We work with you, side by side or we work independently and call you in when we need you to make decisions. It’s your call how involved you want to be.

With virtual organizing you’re working on your own with our guidance, coaching, instruction and support using today’s technology. Are you a good candidate for virtual organizing?

You’re ready

The first step of course is to recognize that clutter has affected you or your loved ones in some way and that you’re ready to take control of the clutter in your life.virtual organizing

You realize that you just can’t get it done yourself and that you need instruction, coaching and assistance.

You recognize the value of a professional organizer

Professional Organizers are trained to get your home and life in order to make life easier for you and to make your home as clutter free and productive as possible. During the transition we create systems and processes for you to follow so you can expect to maintain the same organization in your home after we leave.

You’re good at working independently

You need to be good at working on your own and be able to complete tasks on time. Part of the virtual organizing process is for the Virtual Organizer to follow up on your progress and assign agreed upon deadlines for having tasks completed.

You are “somewhat” familiar with today’s technology

You don’t have to be rocket scientist but you should be comfortable using any number of communication methods like Skype, Facetime or others. virtual organizingWe use a platform called “Zoom”. It really is easy to communicate with us so don’t worry, we will walk you through it if needed.

You live in an area that is not serviced by our profession

If you live outside of the traditional suburban areas chances are you won’t be able to find a professional organizer that serves your area. Virtual organizing to the rescue! Now everybody has access to a professional organizer and you can actually hire anybody you want from any part of the world (but I know you will choose ClutterBGone).

Work at your own pace, at your own time and at significant savings. If you feel you are a good candidate for virtual organizing, we have a variety of packages that will suit any requirement. Contact us here to learn more about virtual organizing.

The Key Benefits to Virtual Organizing

Virtual organizing

Virtual organizing is a new and growing trend in the downsizing and organizing industry. It’s not ideal for everyone who needs assistance in downsizing and organizing but great for many. Here are some of the benefits that can be realized through virtual organizing.

It saves time and money

Like any other professional service the cost of employing traditional assistance to downsize and organize can be outside of your budget. Virtual organizingVirtual organizing is less costly for several reasons. There are no travel costs for a professional organizer to get to your location.

With virtual organizing you are working with one fully trained professional organizer rather than having a team of 2 or more come to your home. Typically, we work in shorter time blocks resulting in less cost to you.

We run on your schedule

Regardless of the way we communicate, our hours are more available to our clients as we are not in traffic or on site at a daylong job. With sessions typically lasting only one hour it is easier to set a time to meet electronically.

Less pressure on you, the client

On many of our initial consultations we know you may be embarrassed with the state of your home. With virtual organizing we are seeing and working on only the part of your home that is currently giving you grief and that you want to work on.

It’s a good first step

For those that are hesitant about hiring a professional organizer, a virtual organizing session can give you an idea, at less cost, of how we work. Virtual organizing It will also allow you to get to know your professional organizer. After all, to be really effective you need to be able to trust and work well with anybody you hire.

You may realize that virtual organizing is not really your thing and therefore may require a traditional session with on site staff. Conversely, you may find that virtual organizing is the way you want to continue.

It is available to everyone

At ClutterBGone we have received a lot of inquiries from people outside of our traditional service area. We strive to service everyone who contacts us but in some cases unfortunately they are just too far away.

This new service allows us to serve anybody who requires our service regardless of where they are located.

Virtual organizing may not be for everybody but it is available to everyone. Contact us here to find out more and how we can assist you virtually!

Case Study: Decluttering & Downsizing an Estate After the Passing of a Loved One – Part II

Estate downsizing GTA

Last week we told you about a recent downsizing project we had completed for a client whose parents had passed away. They had been living in their GTA home for over 50 years. Their home was chock full of items to be disposed of in one manner or another in order for the home to be listed for sale and ultimately sold.

We had completed the initial consult, were surprised with the actual scope of work to be done and met with a rather unpleasant surprise, a mouse infestation. Enough of the teasing, let’s get to the results.

The results

As we were pulling items from the crawl space, much of what we retrieved was so severely infested with mice feces and urine that it had to be tossed in the waste bin we had dropped. We actually filled four entire 20-yard bins with items that could not be salvaged for either donation or sale. The crawl space alone took our team 2 full days to empty and sort – tough work as the crawl space was only 3 feet in height. All work down there was performed on a mechanic’s creeper on wheels so we could easily maneuver.

During the process we were thrilled to discover a large number of vintage items that would reward our client with good prices during auction. There was also a significant number of tools, electric and otherwise that would be auctioned off as well, including a generator, numerous drills and other cool items.

Remember the garage I mentioned earlier? Estate organizing GTAWhen we began sorting through everything we found not only a wooden desk buried beneath debris, but also a kayak, motorcycle, boat motor other sporting goods as well as a variety of construction items, all easily auction able.

When we reached out to an on-line auction house we had worked with in the past, they were pleasantly surprised to see the large variety of items, including all the housewares, dish wares and furniture items, plus a piano and vintage accordion!

Once we carved out all the items for sale, donation, trash, toxic waste and keep, we ended up with over 147 lots of items for auction! We then coordinated with a team the auction house provided to come in and professional photograph and catalogue all the lots, coordinating the timing of the auction with the deadline for listing the home for sale.

I don’t know if you have ever followed an online auction but boy, does the action ever heat up on the last day and in the last few hours. Estate organizing GTACoins, clothing, furniture and everything you can think of was sold during the auction. Have you heard the expression “one mans junk is another mans treasure”? Well it’s so true. I myself was so surprised at what some of the items brought in at the end of the auction. All the items in the auction came in at just under $10,000! And to think the real estate agent and client initially thought they would just toss everything into the waste bins! Thank goodness, we were able to advise them otherwise.

In summary

ClutterBGone loves to give back and with our generous clients we’re able to do that on a regular basis. Many items from this project went to a few different charities including one for new immigrants. Our team was in the home for seven days and managed to get through everything and get the house in order and staged for sale. The house sold within 30 days of the job completion and sold for over market value. It would have been for a lot less in its original state.

And the auction? Our client made enough to pay for our services and then some so he was extremely happy and that’s what it’s all about to us – a happy client.

We’re so thrilled with the results of this project and with the effort put in by our team. Our service partners were also a big help on this one.

Big or small we love them all. Downsizing and organizing is what we do. Contact us here to see how we can rescue you from your organizational challenge!

Case Study: Decluttering & Downsizing an Estate After the Passing of a Loved One

Estate organizing GTA

We recently completed a project that we’re eager to share with you. A client whose parents had passed away contacted us through their real estate agent. They needed help in organizing their parents’ home (deceased for 3 years) for sale. The home had been left empty for 3 years and nothing had been done inside the home to clear out any possessions whatsoever, including food. The parents had lived in the same GTA home for over 50 years.

Our client was not at all interested, nor did he have the time or means, to clear out the home to prepare it and make it presentable for sale. Since it had been abandoned for such a long time and with food sources in the home, mice had decided it was a great place for them to set up shop. The home was a good size, over 2,000 square feet with a crawl space that was jammed full of boxes and contents. Time to call in the big guns.

The initial consult

I met with the real estate agent and our client at the home for our initial consultation and needs assessment. Initially, when speaking to the agent over the phone he advised there wasn’t much in the home and that he felt everything there would be thrown out. downsizing in torontoI was skeptical but kept an open mind.

The consult is the most important part of our process. It allows us to see the full scope of the project, assess the client’s needs and behavioral characteristics and allows us to accurately judge the number of hours a job will take and see how many team members will be required. We were on site for one and a half hours.

Not quite as it seemed

During the consult we learned, and saw first hand, that the home had not been lived in for many years. The parents were quite elderly and had not done much, if anything, in the way of downsizing or reducing clutter due to their physical limitations.

We determined that we were dealing with a full home plus garage and all rooms were full of furnishings, memorabilia, and appliances, even food in the kitchen. The contents were just as if a family were living in the home. The basement crawlspace was jammed. Did I mention the garage? Oh, boy! A lot of work would be required to get the house ready for sale but we were up to the challenge

The plan

Our client originally thought and even advised us during the consult, that almost everything was trash. Estate organizing GTAAs we assessed the home we quickly determined there was a great deal of value in the contents that the client could monetize with the right platform for selling. We felt at least $5,000 could be recouped if not more. As such we began pulling and sorting items into categories or lots that could then be auctioned off.

The plan was to go in and make a quick determination on whether an item was to be kept by our client, trashed, donated or sold. The real estate agents were interested in getting the home listed quickly to take advantage of the GTA market (and to get their commission) but we at ClutterBGone saw an opportunity to make the client some money back on his decluttering investment. We hate to see items just go into landfills, especially when there are people in need of items and where our clients can monetize items.

An unpleasant surprise

We saw signs of mice (droppings and nests in various places) that had been living in the house for some time. Initially, it did not appear that it was a huge infestation however as we uncovered and moved belongings it was evident that we needed protective masks and gloves and needed to call in the professionals to decontaminate the furniture and flooring. Mice droppings can be very dangerous to breathe in so it’s important to take precautions.

We frequently work with a contamination expert who came in quickly for us and made it safe for us to work and safe for others coming into the home. The decontamination process took over 2 days! We even saw mice droppings inside the freezer!

The process

We delegated a team of 3 ClutterBGone professionals into action. Estate organizing GTAEvery item was touched and sorted. Obvious trash went right into the 20-yard waste bin we had dropped. Some items the client had advised us to put aside for him and other large furniture items would be kept in the home for staging purposes.

Some items were slated for donation and the majority of items were slated for the on-line auction that we were coordinating on behalf of our client.

The results

I myself was amazed at the results and I’m eager to share them with you but you’re going to have to wait until next week to find out ……….

We love working on estate projects and if you’re in need of help with one we’re just one click or phone call away. Let us rescue you!

Stay tuned!

How To Organize Your Life After The Loss Of A Loved One

organize after a death

As a professional organizer in the greater Toronto area, people who have experienced the loss of a loved one have hired us to help declutter and organize their homes. These are usually the hardest of jobs to work on because of the remembrances that constantly come up for our clients. Clearing out items after the death of a loved one can be a true challenge.

These few tips below will give you some guidance to get organized and take care of yourself at the same time.

Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting

Far from it. Your loved one will always be in your heart, not in the items that are left behind. Start the process only after you are ready. Know that you are not dishonouring the memory as you process through the items left behind.

Go at your own speed

Not everyone is ready to move on at the same time and at the same speed. We recognize this and plan accordingly when scheduling our team to work with you

How involved do you want to be?

Some of our clients want to be hands on and we encourage you to work side by side with us. Others just want to be there for decision-making only. Whatever your capabilities are we work with you at your pace and on your time.

You don’t have to keep everything

One of the challenges that we come across is the desire to keep everything as a remembrance.organize after a death There is no need to feel guilty about selling, donating or giving away anything that belongs to your loved one. Chances are you’re not going to use the items so make use of them in a way that your loved one would have approved. Our trained staff at ClutterBGone is sensitive to the difficult times you are going through and the difficult decisions that you are going to make. We can guide you along the way with trusted charities and resources to make your decision making easier.

Things are really only “things”

The items you accumulate during your life are really only important to you. We don’t expect everyone to have the same interests or hobbies so assigning a value, either monetarily or emotionally, to an item can restrict your ability to declutter.

Options for remembering

ClutterBGone has helped many clients remember their loved ones with memory boxes, special photo albums and other ways of keeping their loved ones in plain sight as opposed to hidden away in a box in the basement. Let us help you in the same way.

Where do you want items to go that are not needed?

Do you or your loved one have a favourite charity you wish to support? clutter and downsizingDo you have certain items you would like to see go to family? ClutterBGone is partnered with many charities and other resources and can arrange for disposition through sale, auction, donation or otherwise. Whatever works best for you. We also have experience in tagging items to be kept for, or given to, family members.

We will all experience the loss of a loved one in our lives. If you or your family don’t want to organize or declutter after the loss of a loved one, ClutterBGone has done so for many other families and are available to assist yours. Just contact us here to start the process.