Outdoor Fall Organizing

Outdoor Fall Organizing Done Right, Finally!

If you are tired of heading into fall and then winter feeling like you haven’t gotten everything accomplished outdoors, this guide is for you. Find out how to organize your home’s exterior so it is not only great for autumn but also ready for the colder months that follow.

Pack Up Patio Furniture

Rather than keeping them out all year long, pack up and store the table, chairs, and umbrella, if possible. That way, these items will stay like new longer, rather than getting weathered by the wind, rain, and other elements.

If you decide to keep the bigger furniture on the patio throughout the year, though, then clean them well to help prevent the growth of mildew and mold. Then put a protective cover on top to deter rust. Ideally, keep cushions in the storage shed or a closed unit on the patio so that any harsh weather doesn’t ruin them.

Outdoor Fall Organizing

Fall Cleaning of the Home’s Exterior

Just as you did spring cleaning, now you will do fall cleaning to ensure the garden is ready for winter. Among the to-do list items are raking leaves from the yard, washing windows, and cleaning the dryer duct.

Another task is to clean the deck. For example, you may decide to weatherproof the wood patio by adding a sealant that protects against mold and mildew.

Before applying the sealant, though, thoroughly clean the deck to remove any debris and leaves trapped between the boards that can otherwise lead to rot. Sweeping and then scrubbing the wood with an appropriate cleaner will be a must in most cases (except if it is a new deck).

Organize the Garage

Now is a great time to clear away any clutter in the garage. By donating, selling, or tossing items that are not used any longer, you will have more physical space for storing the patio furniture. Plus, you will ideally be able to fit your car, rather than having it outdoors in the cold and snow that comes soon.

Plus, organizing the garage will remove any stress you might have otherwise carried with you through fall and winter every time you looked in there. Seeing the clutter would have been a constant reminder that you still needed to clear it out.

Taking the Time Now to Organize

Spending time on outdoor fall organizing activities will help to make life a lot easier come springtime. As you do the tasks mentioned above, think about what you need to remove or make ready for the harsher weather over the next several months.

For example, pick up any toys and yard tools that are outside in the home. Store them in the shed or garage to protect them.

Get more tips, including how to organize a tool shed or garage to make it a more effective use of space by contacting ClutterBGone. Our professional organizers have storage ideas that you won’t find anywhere else. They make the area look great too! Call today to get the outside of your home ready for the harsher weather ahead.

Organizing and Decluttering Your Garage for Spring!

garage organizing

The snow is gone, the air is milder, the buds are starting to appear. All the signs of spring are here! So why aren’t you excited?

Are you having a tough time getting into your garage to find your gardening tools and patio furniture? Well, you’re not alone.

Your garage is a space that’s largely neglected during our cold winter months. Come spring, it needs a good old de-cluttering and organizing just like any other area of your home.

Let’s face it, the winter is cold and it makes it a lot easier to just store items in your garage and forget about them until you’re forced to deal with it head on. Who wants to work in an unheated garage during our cold Canadian winter? This causes you to dump things in the garage over the winter and you eventually must deal with it come spring.

Believe it or not, your garage is not the best place for storage.

Garages typically have solid concrete floors and despite the age of the garage, concrete still creates moisture. Moisture eventually finds its way into your possessions and can create mould. Many of our clients have had their possessions ruined by mould created from this type of moisture.

Do it right!

When storing and organizing items many should be contained so there’s no chance of anything falling on to you, your possessions or your car (for those of you that can fit a car into your garage). Containerizing is also important to protect your belongings from pests and moisture that can be severely damaging.

garage organizing GTA

Sporting goods should all be stored within easy reach and systematically according to seasonality. ClutterBGone has the experience and knowledge to use the right tools and items for easy and safe retrieval.

Time is precious

Depending on the volume of clutter you may need more than one day. A lot of our clients don’t have the time or simply understand and acknowledge that their time is worth more. Many of our garage projects take a minimum of 6 hours and can sometimes exceed 24 hours with a team of two depending on the size of the garage and the sheer volume of items stored (dumped) inside. Remember, it’s not just tidying up, it’s creating a system of organization so that you will never have to do it again.

Make a clean sweep.

Once everything is up and out of your way, you can be sure that we will leave your garage in a clean, tidy and organized manner. Everything will be within reach and easy to put back and retrieve once you’ve invested in a system of organization for your home.

I know most of you are itching to get into your yard work and get back into the garage. Contact us here to find out how ClutterBGone can help you organize your garage in Toronto so you never have to feel the fear of Spring.

Get Organized Month

ClutterBGone is a proud member of the POC (Professional Organizers in Canada) and the National Association of Professional Organizers in the U.S. who have declared January “Get Organized Month”. Many of us here in Canada are also promoting this month long event in order to promote the benefits of living and working in an organized environment.

How organized are you?

Did you know that the average person spends just under one hour looking for things? That’s a lot of time every day that you will never get back.

Organized people know where things are and spend just a fraction of that time looking for items.

This may shock you.

Almost 80% of what we own we never use. We NEVER use!! Take a look through all of your closets, drawers and cupboards with this in mind and see if that number compares to yours. If not, I’ll bet it is very close. Now think about the space you can save and the money you have spent on these items. When purchasing something ask yourself “do I love it?”. If not, take a second to think about it.

Do you pay bills late?

Almost a quarter of adults surveyed (23%) admitted that they regularly paid bills late because they lost the bill. And almost all of these had incurred late fees as a result. A system needs to be set up so you have instant access to your unpaid bills and you know when they are due.

After that, a filing system needs to be in place to file these paid bills. Save money and protect your credit score by paying your bills on time.

The clutter impact

Clutter has a significant impact on the stress in your life. It distracts you from what you need to focus on. It makes it almost impossible for you to relax. It creates feelings of guilt and embarrassment restricting you from being social. It can just plain be a downer. Get organized and see your stress levels drop.

This statistic comes up every year. Almost 90% of us are planning on organizing a part of our life this year. The majority of you are doing so because you’re tired of clutter and its effect in your life. I’m not one for making New Year resolutions but this is one I can get on board with. A new year and a new clutter free environment will improve your productivity, give you back some much needed time, save you money and reduce your stress. Who wouldn’t want that? Let’s start the new year by getting organized. Let me know how you make out and, as always, we are here to help.

Organizing Your Garage – 4 Things You Must Do

garage

I hate to say it, but winter is just around the corner and it’s time to get the garage ready to put your car in there for the winter. I can’t tell you the number of garages I see with possessions stacked to the ceiling.

It can be the absolute worst place to store items due to the condensation coming from the concrete floors and walls and the changing temperatures. I see a lot of garages turned into man caves (smoking rooms) too with fridges, heaters and big screen TV’s.

In our home, we have a single car garage and that’s where my car goes in the winter. My husband readily agreed to that to avoid having to clear off a second car after a winter storm. So, let’s get out to the garage and get it ready for the winter.

Get rid of what you don’t need

The garage is an easy place to dump things and get back to them ‘later’. Especially when there are no cars in there. In North America, almost half of homeowners admitted that the garage was the most disorganized area of the house. It’s little wonder that we receive a lot of calls regarding garages.

garage-4

Tackle the garage with the same mindset that you do with the rest of the house. If you haven’t used an item in over a year it is time to sell, donate or toss it.

Chemical “freezies”

Now that you have gotten rid of what you don’t need any longer let’s get ready for the cold weather. Place all of your liquids in a tote or box and bring them inside. They won’t freeze or gel and will still be good for next spring and summer.

Don’t forget the garden hose. If it’s on a reel, I like to unwind it to get the water out and then rewind it, disconnect the main hose and take the reel off the wall with the hose attached and store it inside. Sometimes it’s tricky to get all of the water out of those plastic fittings in the reel but this has saved us buying a new reel.

Store it high

Most garages are nine or ten feet high or more. Give some thought to storing things high with either ceiling racks, tall shelving or using manual or electric ceiling hoists for bikes. Some affordable ones can be found at your local hardware or big box store. If you are really in a pinch for space consider a small storage box or deck box for some items.

Zone in

When arranging the items you’re keeping in the garage designate a shelf for each type of item and label each shelf accordingly. Car accessories such as windshield wash and ice scrapers on one shelf, driveway salt on another and kids winter accessories on yet another.

garage-5

This will help with easy retrieval when needed. Containerizing goes a long way to keeping items in place. And labels are important!

Organizing your garage and getting it ready for winter doesn’t have to cost a lot but it will take some time to do it correctly. If you do need assistance in creating space to get your car in the garage for winter, contact us here. ClutterBGone has done that for a lot of people just like you.

Get Organized Week

get-organized-sign

Get organized week just past, being the first week of October. Now’s a great time to take part in Get Organized Week with Thanksgiving just over and the Christmas holidays approaching fast. What did you do to get organized?

Being organized isn’t just having a home that looks neat and tidy and where everything has a place. It is also about being able to easily retrieve items you need, not needlessly spending money on items you already have, not having any safety hazards in the home and not wasting precious time. Here’s a quick list of benefits that I promise you will see when you are organized.

Increase your productivity

How many hours do you spend looking for things? If you are part of the national average you are spending one year of your life looking for things. A recent IKEA survey showed that we spend 6 minutes on average looking for our keys in the morning! Newsweek says that we spend 55 minutes each day looking for things we own but can’t find. Get some of that time back and be more productive with your time by being organized.

Improve your health

We all know that stress is a killer and stress can be caused by something as easily as not being able to find something important when you need it.

stress

When you’re organized you will have less stress resulting in more relaxation time or time to do just about anything you want to do. Sound good?

Save money

How often have you gone out and purchased something that you just knew you didn’t have, only to find out shortly after that you did indeed have that item? Now you own more than one and sometimes you will never get any use out of the second one you have.

Do you pay late fees because you can’t put your hands on your bill? You do know that late payments reflect poorly on your credit rating. Get organized and save money.

Be an example to your family

Often when I make an initial visit to a client I find out that they came from a family of disorganization.

familypic

Their parents were disorganized with clutter and they didn’t know any way else. Being organized is a skill that will benefit your children throughout their lives in school, at work, and in their own home.

This is just four of the many benefits to being organized. Get Organized Week may have just past but it is not too late to become organized. Give us a call and we can let you know of the many more benefits to being organized.

How To Get Your Car Organized and Decluttered Now

car-trunkTo many people, their car is a statement. Your car can be an extension of yourself and in fact tells others about you, your character, style, and personality. To others, their car is an investment. In either case, a car is a big-ticket purchase that you want to take care of in order to obtain the best possible sale or trade in value.

We’re taking more with us in the car and so are our passengers. Phones, tablets, books, etc. As a result, you want to keep your car’s contents organized, functional and accessible. Let’s look at some ideas and tools to get your car organized.

Starting the car organizing process

Pick a good weather day and roll out a small tarp or blanket on your lawn or driveway. Begin by removing everything out of your car (don’t forget the trunk, behind the visors and all compartments throughout your vehicle). Place everything out on the tarp or blanket.

Keep an open trash bag on hand as well so you can place any trash you come across immediately in the bag.  Also have on hand an empty bin that you can label “Put back in the house” in which you will place any items that originated from there and should be returned.  This would include coffee mugs, food containers, etc. Once everything is out on the tarp, take a photo. You will likely be amazed at how much “stuff” was living in your vehicle without your knowledge.

Categories are cool

This next stage of organizing your car is like a game of “match” as you will be sorting like items with like items.  For instance, place all tools together, DVD’s in another pile, paper in yet another and continue this process until you have put everything in a category, like items with like items.

If you find any maps I suggest you check the dates for relevancy.  My rule of thumb is that any map over 3 years old has likely changed and may not be worth using on your next road trip unless you are looking to take an unscheduled detour. If you have a GPS system or use your phone as one, a map may no longer be necessary. This would also be a good time to update your GPS system.

Once everything is in a category begin to revisit your piles and start purging. Think about the essential items you need in your vehicle all the time. For instance, if your work requires your car to be your office as well, you may need certain office supplies. If you regularly drive kids to and from school, perhaps you may want to carry a supply of wet wipes or snacks.

Remove items that are obsolete and out dated, broken or damaged. Multiples of items should be addressed and should not be kept unless there is something special or unique about them in terms of size or shape.

Organize and corral

Now it’s time to corral all your piles.  Using separate bins and crates, load your categories of items into the best sized container. Corralling items in your trunk will save you time and frustration scrounging around in there when you are looking for something. An orderly car is less frustrating and more efficient than disorganized chaos. Don’t forget to plan a regular schedule for cleaning out your vehicle to maintain the state of organization.

The “kids” stuff

I recently received a terrific car organizer from Bearoy and boy do I wish I had one of these a few years ago. They have thought of everything. This organizer fits around the front seat of your car without any impediment to the person seated up front.

bearoy-car-organizerThis product will not only keep your kids entertained during drives but will also keep the back of your seats clean, drink temperatures maintained and keep everything organized.

The best thing I liked about this car organizer is the ability to insert a tablet into the compartment that has a clear touch-screen window so the tablet stays in place and the screen stays clean. Pockets are there for hot or cold drinks, snacks and has enough pockets for earphones, pens, and other items. There are two carabiners to keep keys from getting lost.

This very affordable, waterproof, polyester organizer will look great in any car and snaps off and rolls up when not needed. To view more details, simply click here. If you would like to purchase this organizer, go to Buy the Bearoy.  One of the best car organizers I’ve seen in a long time!

If you’re planning to travel over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays now is the time to get your car organized and ready for every trip. Even without holiday travel, keep your car organized for day to day use and your daily trips with the kids will be much more enjoyable!

Drive organized!

Fight Procrastination And Stay On Top Of Clutter

now-later

Fight Procrastination Day came up earlier this month and it got me thinking about how procrastination really is one of the root causes of clutter, beyond those with a hoarding tendency. There are so many comical quotes about procrastination but it really is a serious issue for a lot of people.

“Procrastination isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. So procrastinate now, don’t put it off.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

When your to-do list is a mile long or the house looks like a tornado touched down, it is so much easier to put de-cluttering and organizing off. But you have to get to it at some point. Here are a few tips to help you avoid procrastinating and staying on top of your clutter.

The two-minute rule

If what needs to get done can be done in under 2 minutes, do it now! I know you’re really busy but in the scheme of things what is two minutes compared to the results you will see? This one simple rule alone will have a life changing effect on your home. We tend to put off the smaller, simpler tasks, which ultimately build up, so applying this rule will eliminate a lot of clutter. For example, when you get home with bags from the store, empty and put items away immediately rather than leaving them lying around.

A done list instead of to-do

If you feel overwhelmed with the volume and scope of work that needs to be done around the house, try starting a “done” list and mark down each task you have completed that day. You will see that although it may look like you will never get through everything, in fact, you did complete more than you thought.

Break it down

Does your room look like a wrecking crew came through? Don’t know where to start in the kitchen? Break the job down into smaller tasks to see your accomplishments as you go.

where-do-i-start

Tackle just one corner of a room or one drawer and don’t stop until you complete the task.

Know when you are at your best

We all don’t function our best at the same time. Try getting me to perform at my peak level early in the morning. It isn’t going to happen. Know your best time of the day when you are at your peak energy level and get started then. You can focus better and be more productive.

No drop zones

Do not allow any surface in your home to be designated as a drop zone. This is going to be tough to enforce with the kids and your spouse but do not let them come home and drop things on the hall table or kitchen counter to be put away later.

clear-counters-in-ktichen

Remember the two-minute rule? It applies to them as well. They can put things away when they get home in less than 2 minutes.

The cost of procrastination

The obvious costs are late payment charges for late bill payment and failing grades for school assignments not handed in on time. More serious is your credit rating being down graded and not being able to enjoy a social life for fear of embarrassment or you need to stay home to get things done.

Have you ever bought a last minute gift for someone that you regretted?

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” ― Rita Mae Brown

Procrastination is not a trait; it is something that is learned. I even know people who take vacation time from work to get things done at home that they have been putting off. That is no way to spend your well-deserved vacation time. A partially completed task weighs heavily on the mind. Get it done and take the weight off.

Let us know if ClutterBGone can assist you with any project that you have put off to get you back on track. Just contact us here.

Keeping Small Spaces Organized

apartment-shelving-organization

Many of the projects that we work on involve downsizing where people are moving from a larger home to something smaller and more manageable for them. Space can often be a challenge when you’re used to an abundance of storage. The same applies for people moving out of the home for the first time to a condo or apartment.

Here’s list of tips to help keep a small space organized.

Take advantage of the space you think you don’t have

What did she just say? You may have to get creative when dealing with the smaller spaces. Do you have space above your kitchen cabinets? Decorative baskets up there will hold cookbooks or smaller appliances that are seldom used. Space under the bed can be used to store off-season clothing in clear containers. Take a walk around your space with this thought process in mind. Look up and maximize your vertical spaces.

Keep things tidy

It’s especially important to keep a tidy home when space is limited. Even a plate on the counter or a couple of magazines out of place can cause a cluttered look.

kitchen-counter-neat

Stay vigilant in putting things away and you will be surprised at how easy it is to keep your home looking tidy and organized.

Keep your counters clear

This is mandatory. I’ve been in several small condos where kitchen appliances are left out on the counter and it has made the entire kitchen look cluttered. When not in use (and many are not used all that often), store them away. And whenever possible purchase the smallest version of the appliance that you can, especially for a condo.

Look up

Take advantage of any opportunities that you may have to store vertically. Many new homes and condos being built today have 9-foot ceilings or taller. Use this extra space to store or decorate using higher shelving or taller built-ins and multifunctional pieces.

Store it off site

In a pinch, there is a host of off-site storage companies that have appeared as they know people are always looking for space. The newer ones have all inside storage, 24-hour camera security and free use of dollies and carts.

self-storage

Rates can be very competitive as well so if there are items you just can’t fit into your new place and cannot bare to part with, outside storage is an option.

Purchase multi-functional pieces

When making purchases for your new space try to purchase multi-functional items like an ottoman that doubles as a storage trunk or a murphy bed that folds away. A room divider can also act as a wall unit or bookshelf. The ideas are endless.

Prioritize

Finally, take a real hard look at what you have and what you use. How often will you use that ice cream maker you received as a gift? Do you really have the space for 2 or 3 sets of dishes? When space is limited you need to prioritize between what you have and what you really need or will really use.

Living in smaller quarters certainly has its advantages – less to clean, less maintenance – but it takes a little work to keep it organized and looking uncluttered.

We have assisted countless individuals in getting ready to downsize and in creating space when you think there is none. If you think you need assistance, just contact us here. We would love to talk.

Exactly How Does Clutter Accumulate?

 

Organized living room

Clutter means different things to different people. Many of us can work in and actually thrive in, what others would consider a cluttered state. Others have to be in or work in a minimalist state. Whatever environment works for you, at some point we find ourselves with too much clutter around us. How does that happen?

Life happens

You are all so busy these days with raising a family, working (maybe even more than one job) or just not aware or caring what is accumulating around you. Some of you are able to see it as it happens and act on it and some just realize one day that you’re finding it hard to find things and spending more time looking for things or cleaning up than actually getting tasks completed.

Your energy is gone

With a busy life comes reduced energy levels and who wants to clean or organize after a busy week or weekend? You need to be in the mood and have a high level of energy to start the process.

Too tired dog

Starting without the ability to see it through will only defeat you and prevent you from going at it again.

Life has thrown you a curve

A critical illness or the loss of a loved one can leave you spinning out of control and put you out of commission for a very long time. You rarely go out and don’t have the energy to do anything at all. Depression can cause you to remove yourself from the rest of the world giving you the same results.

I know a lot of you tend to hang on to certain items thinking you’ll make use of them again whether it’s a broken appliance or maybe even some clothes that you think you’ll fit into again. Lean on your family and friends during these times for help and support.

But it was on sale!

What better way to feel good about something you bought then to know how much you saved? Want to save even more?

Sale

Don’t buy it at all unless you really need it and when you do make the purchase remember my rule on clothing – one in equals one out. If you find it hard to resist a good buy try to limit your trips to the mall or the big box stores.

Hoarding tendencies

Maybe you were raised in a household that always had clutter and you don’t know any other way. This cycle can be broken so you can enjoy more free time.

No matter how clutter appeared in your life or what your level of tolerance for clutter is, we can help.

ClutterBGone has helped many clients with all different levels of clutter and disorganization in their lives. If you need help, we’re here to give you a hand and see it through. Contact us here.

Garage Organization – A Case Study

Garage 3

ClutterBGone has organized quite a few garages over the years but there is one that stands out. This particular garage organizing job was quite challenging because the husband was not originally aware that his wife had hired us to organize the garage and challenging because of the weather – it was late fall with temps near zero and a mix of rain and snow coming down.

The garage had become a sore spot in the relationship to the point where it was either get it organized or get a divorce! I’m sure you have all seen those garages in your own neighborhood that are stuffed to the rafters with all kinds of stuff. This was a single car garage and was just like that. The husband reluctantly gave in provided he could assist us. This was actually the best scenario as whoever owns the items must be the decision maker in terms of what to keep and what needs to go. We honor and respect client’s “stuff” and so nothing can ever be tossed without the owner’s permission.

Garage

We started the project by bringing everything out to the driveway (remember I told you there was a mix of rain and snow?) and almost everything that was taken out was met with “I need that” or “I’m not going to get rid of that” from the husband. Hmm, this is going to be a tough one. Of course, our methodology is to first sort and categorize everything into piles and then make decisions on what to keep or go. We had to reassure the Mr. that we respected his belongings and nothing was leaving at this stage of the process. He was very anxious (understandably) so we ensured that we communicated constantly with him every step of the way. Managing client emotions and expectations is a large part of every downsizing and organizing project.

Once we had everything out we saw that there was a large workbench in the back of the garage (not visible earlier in the project) with a lot of tools to go along with it. The husband all of sudden became more interested. He had actually forgotten that he had a workbench in there and all these great tools that he had been looking for.

After sorting through everything both the husband and wife realized how much they had and the sheer volume and quantity of each item. Lots of duplication and money needlessly spent. They confessed that quite often they would give up looking for something and buy another – a common issue with people who live with disorganized chaos. After seeing the multiple tools, pieces of garden equipment, auto accessories, etc. they both agreed that things had gotten out of hand and they both dove in and made some great decisions – together. It was quite cathartic for them.

Garage 2

We got the OK to bring in a small dumpster to haul away the trash (unbeknownst to our clients, many items had active mold growing and others could not be recycled or repurposed due to pest contamination) and we separated the duplicate items to be donated, sold or given away to family. The husband spent hours at the tool bench reorganizing the tools and hardware and found many duplicate hand and power tools that he gave to his sons. He was like a kid in a candy store. A neighbor actually stopped by to see what was going on (I think he thought there was a garage sale happening) and ended up buying a power saw and a tool box from our client!

This garage organizing project took 2 full days with a team of 3 and on the second day our clients had brought us some portable heaters that they had borrowed for us. Boy, were they a welcome sight! We installed a couple of functional garage shelving units, put everything away in an efficient, functional and organized fashion, set up an organizing system on the wall and left them with an organized garage.

To this day (a year later) the garage is still organized, the couple are still together and they can even get a car in the garage for the first time in 10 years! We love transforming spaces and transforming lives!

If you need help with your garage organizing project we would be happy to hear from you.