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Get Organized in 5 Easy Steps

organize in 5 steps

One evening I was looking up the definition for “organize” in the dictionary. Don’t judge, I’m a professional organizer after all! The definition reads, to arrange in a structured whole, but it was the synonyms for organize that caught my eye : put in order, arrange, sort, categorize, and systemize were just some. It then got me thinking about what we at ClutterBGone use to keep us on track through our process. The acronym “SPACE” is an easy way to remember our steps for a successful organization.

SPACE in our industry stands for Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Evaluate and they’re the 5 steps we use and encourage with all our clients.

Sort

When organizing or downsizing the first step is to sort your belongings by category. organize in 5 stepsIf you were organizing in the kitchen you would sort all your pots, pans, utensils and such to see just how much you had of each. When doing a closet sort your shirts or blouses, dresses, pants, etc. You really don’t know how much you have of something until you see it all laid out in front of you.

Purge

Once the sort is completed the second step is the purge. Don’t confuse purge with getting rid of everything. All you are deciding here is what will stay and what will go. Go can mean donating it to a charity or giving it to a family member or friend. It can mean selling it through various ways or yes, by throwing it out. We find that the purge process is where someone really needs a third party to help. A third party, like a professional organizer, is non-judgemental and can help you make decisions quite a bit quicker.

Assign

Assign is the third step. This step is when you are going to assign a home for your item. You will want to do this based on the layout of the space, the space available and how often you need the item. ClutterBGone has the knowledge, systems and experience to help you make these decisions. You’ll love the systems we leave you with to keep your space organized. And we can usually find space that you just can’t see.

Containerize

Once you have completed the previous steps, you can store the items you have with containers you already own or purchase some new, clear containers to do the job. organize in 5 stepsRemember to store items in containers using the smallest possible container that will house all the items in a particular category. Most professional organizers will carry an inventory of commonly used containers to save time.

Evaluate

The last step is to ensure you review the spaces you have organized and to evaluate if any changes are required on a regular basis. You don’t want to fall back into a disorganized space after all the work that you have put into it.

These are the five steps to go through in order to organize any space. We would love to hear how you make out or better yet, we would love to help you in your next organizing project. Just contact us here.

Decluttering Tips For Hoarders

 

declutter tips for hoarders

Do you see signs that indicate you’re a hoarder? Do you know someone that hoards? Hoarders save items that others may find worthless. They collect items to the point where it affects their living and work spaces as well as their relationships with others. To help you avoid some of the challenges that come with hoarding, we have put together this list of tips to declutter when you see signs of hoarding.

Recognize what hoarding is

Although close to 5% of the population display signs of hoarding, I doubt many of you are true hoarders. Hoarding is a disorder that has most recently stemmed away from the relation to OCD and has become a category of mental illness on its own. Most times than none the individual really requires professional help. You may be chronically disorganized and living with clutter but that’s different than being a true hoarder.

Slow and steady

Don’t rush through and get rid of some items that may have value to you or others. declutter tips for hoardersOrganizing and decluttering isn’t a sprint. The clutter in your life didn’t appear overnight. Pick a room or a space that gives you the most grief and start there. Stay with that area until it’s complete. Now stand back and realize what you have accomplished. This will give you added energy to move on to the next space.

Handle it once only

One rule that ClutterBGone follows is, “if you touch it, finish with it”. In other words, once you have picked something up you must determine what it is, what it is used for, when was the last time it was used and more importantly what to do with it. Now you must make the decision to keep it, discard it, sell it or donate it and put it into the respective pile. There is no setting it aside and deciding later. I strongly believe clutter is easily explained as postponed decision. Later seldom comes and later is the reason for the build up of clutter in the first place.

The owner is the boss

When it comes to the final decision, the owner of the item is the ultimate decision maker. If you are helping a friend or family member you can’t make these decisions for them no matter how much you may disagree with them. This will only lead to arguments and the whole process can come to a standstill. You wouldn’t want other people coming into your home and making decisions regarding your possessions.

Pare down multiples

Many people who are disorganized or live with clutter have multiples of the same items. declutter tips for hoardersThey forgot they had it or quickly need it and couldn’t find it, so they run off to the store to purchase another one and now have more than 2 or 3 of the same items. These items are easy to make decisions about. They are the perfect candidates to sell, donate or give away.

Learn about yourself as you go

During this process you may learn a lot about yourself. Are you just chronically disorganized? Perhaps a schedule for monthly maintenance of your space will help. Do you compulsively purchase items to cheer you up or to feel great about that sale item? There are other ways to get that same feeling without sacrificing your space and money. ClutterBGone has helped many of our clients in the same situation you may find yourself in now.

So, if you think you display some signs of hoarding let these tips help you in your decluttering efforts. As always, if you can’t do it alone there are professionals out there to assist you. ClutterBGone has helped many clients throughout the GTA become organized and clutter free and we would be proud to help you. Just contact us here.

How to Spot Signs of Hoarding

signs of hoarding
The definition of hoarding is to amass and hide or stow away. Hoarders have difficulty parting with their possessions regardless of what the value may be. Typically, what sets a hoarder apart from someone who is disorganized or lives in clutter is the type of items they have like newspapers, bags, boxes and even old food. If you, or someone you love, is heading towards being a hoarder here are a few signs to watch for.

The inability to throw anything away

Hoarders aren’t able to throw anything away. They feel an attachment to everything that they have regardless of its state or value. Often, they don’t see that they have a problem. Researchers have found that victims of hoarding have abnormal activity in regions of the brain involved in decision making – particularly in what to do with objects that belong to them. Not only do hoarders collect too many things but they feel unable to throw them out even if they are useless.

Anxiety sets in at the thought of discarding an item

Have you heard the term disposophobia? signs of hoardingIt’s the fear of losing things or fear of getting rid of something. It’s also known as ‘Hoarding disorder’. This disorder causes the sufferer to save everything and brings on anxiety at the thought of having to get rid of any of it. The heart rate elevates, the breathing increases and the sufferer would rather run away than face a decision.

The inability to sort, categorize or organize any possessions

Unlike somebody who is just disorganized or lives with clutter, a hoarder is not able to sort their possessions in any manner. Their possessions need to be close to them and organizing them or storing them in any manner is out of the question.

The loss of living space

Slowly the living space will disappear in a hoarders’ home. Possessions will take over all space that is available leaving nowhere to sit, sleep or entertain. Once this happens hoarders will become more isolated as they become embarrassed about their home and don’t want visitors. Visitors will judge or will want to intervene.

The home is becoming unsanitary

Keeping the home of someone who hoards clean is almost impossible. There are too many items to get to an area that needs cleaning. Dirty dishes pile up, left over food is left out, laundry doesn’t get done, toilets aren’t cleaned, etc. A dirty home can quickly become unsanitary or even unhealthy.

If you recognize the beginnings of any of these signs in, you or a loved one contact ClutterBGone here for a free assessment to see how we can turn things around and get your space organized and clutter free.

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.

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 Do My Friends Stay So Organized?

Do you have a friend that seems to be always organized and clutter free? Do you pop in sometimes unexpectedly and their home always looks so neat and tidy? There’s no secret to how they do it but continue reading and I’ll share how you can do it too.

One in, one out

This could be the mantra of ClutterBGone, especially with clothing.Related image Unless you are replacing your entire wardrobe, you need to get rid of one piece of clothing for every new one you bring into your home. This doesn’t only apply to clothing, same goes for all other items entering the home. If you are bringing in an item to replace one that isn’t working, make sure you are putting the old one out as soon as the new one comes in.

Be prepared to donate

I keep a box or bag in my home for items I want to donate, it’s clearly marked “Donate” so all family members know where it can be found. We constantly place items in it that we no longer need or use. Once filled or every couple of weeks or so, we take it in to our local donation center and start again. It helps to keep the house clear of items that are not used by any of us.

Keep the counters clear

Cluttered counters or any horizontal surfaces can make an entire home look cluttered no matter how tidy the rest of the house is. It’s so easy to put something down on a surface with good intentions to get back to it later but never do. Keep all your flat surfaces clear of all clutter to maintain a neat and organized look.

Shop with a purpose

Never go shopping without a list and a need. Remember the old saying, don’t go shopping on an empty stomach? The same holds true for shopping of any kind, not just groceries. Without a purpose to go shopping you will bring home more than you want or need. This just adds expense and clutter to your life.

Tidy up when you leave a room

Pick up everything when you leave a room and put them where they belong.Related image Dirty dishes, books and magazines, electronic devices, everything. It takes just a few seconds and will help keep your rooms looking neat and organized. You may have to drill this into your spouse and kids a few times but soon they will get into the habit as well.

So, you see there are no real secrets to how your friends keep their homes looking so organized and clutter free. It just takes a bit of knowledge and practice. ClutterBGone works throughout the GTA and has a few other tips we would love to share with you. Just contact us here to get started on keeping your home clutter free.

 

What is Chronic Disorganization?

 

 

We all get disorganized many times in our lives. When we get ill or a family member becomes ill. When work requires a lot of extra time devoted to it or it calls us away for a bit. We move or get married. Whenever we are thrown a curve ball or something out of the ordinary appears we tend to become a bit disorganized, but we eventually get back on track.

The difference with chronic disorganization is that we don’t recover from these instances and the disorganization will worsen with time. The clutter continues to accumulate and suddenly you are overwhelmed. Sometimes procrastination will also become a challenge because you just don’t have the time or energy to do anything about it.

What is chronic disorganization?

Chronic disorganization is having a history of being disorganized and all efforts to help or change your circumstances have failed. Disorganization is affecting your current quality of life to the point where you are embarrassed or don’t want anyone over and/or your personal and financial life have been affected. Also, you don’t see any real expectation of improvement.

How do I know if I suffer from it?

Are you surrounded by clutter? Do you have newspapers and magazines that you just cant get rid of? Have you purchased items that you haven’t put away for a while? Have you run out of room to put things?chronic disorganization Have you always been disorganized? Are you or your family members ashamed to have anyone come over? Are you always looking for things that you know you have? These are typical questions that someone with chronic disorganization will answer yes to.

What causes chronic disorganization?

The most common cause is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADHD is characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. It’s almost impossible to stay organized with these symptoms. Many children attract ADHD and it stays with them through to adulthood. The American Psychiatric Association has stated that ADHD is a real and curable condition and affects about 1 in 20 adults. Depression is another trigger for chronic disorganization. Depressed people have a hard time getting motivated and constantly feel tired.

How can you get help?

Psychiatric and medical help is available. Professional Organizers can also help. We work with you and develop systems to keep you organized. We work at your pace and find solutions tailored to your individual needs.

ClutterBGone has helped many clients with different stages of chronic disorganization. Don’t suffer with it when there is help available. Call us at 905-642-5669 or click here. We’d love to help you.

Organize Your Paper Mountain

organize paper

Whether you go to work in an office or work from home, chances are you have a small mountain of paper that needs to be addressed. Did you know that a sheet of paper is roughly 0.004 inches thick? Hardly noticeable but when you start piling paper up it can be quite messy and ominous to tackle. ClutterBGone gets a lot of calls to help with paper. Here’s our tips to keep your paper from becoming a mountain.

Act on it right away

When paper arrives don’t let it rest on your desk or table. Create a system to get that paper off the surface. Use a labelled file folder, an in-box or any other system to move the paper along. Keep trying a system until you find one that works for you.

Delegate

Whether at work or at home there will be somebody who needs to know that, that piece of paper has arrived. organize paperWho pays the bills? Who responds to invitations? Whoever is responsible for the paper or the accounts or whatever action needs to be taken needs to know what has come in and needs an action. Pass it along, with a note if needed, so it doesn’t rest on your desk needlessly.

Make a decision right away

A lot of the paper that crosses our desk is not needed at all. I go to my mail box and most of what is in there is junk mail – flyers and ads. Out they go right after a quick peek. Don’t hang on to them for others to see unless you really believe they will be worthwhile or used.

Out with the dated

If you still have magazine and paper subscriptions consider an electronic version. organize paperIf you still need the feel of paper (and I do with a good book) ensure the previous issue is recycled when the new one comes in. If you really need to refer back to an article or story then take a picture of it with your phone. It doesn’t take up any space.

Set aside a bit of time

This would apply more for the office but set aside a bit of time to ensure that your desk or workspace is cleared of paper each day. You will feel more organized and productive when working at a clean and organized work area.

Go digital

A lot of us are still receiving statements and paying bills via paper. I myself switched as much as I could to digital copies. I can receive and pay bills online and electronically “file” a copy of the bill on my computer. It’s always there in case I need it. With the vast majority of paper that we file never getting looked at, doesn’t it make sense to go digital at home?

Even in this electronic age, paper is everywhere and accumulates quickly. If you don’t stay on top of it you will have a mountain of paper before you know it. You don’t have to scale that mountain alone. ClutterBGone has assisted many homes and offices in reducing the mountains of paper that come and go and devising systems to keep it that way. Just reach out to us here to see how we can help you.

Cleaning Out Your Late Parents Home

estate clearing

ClutterBGone receives many inquiries from people who have been left with the task of cleaning out their parent’s home after the passing of a loved. Many times one parent has passed previously and now the remaining parent has passed leaving a home full of memories to go through. Here’s a few tips to help the process go a little more smoothly.

Divide and conquer

If you have siblings get them involved. Besides being a traumatic time there will have to be a lot of time dedicated to this task. All hands need to be on deck to help and to support each other. You could also ask other family members and friends.

Be thorough

You would be surprised where ClutterBGone has found valuable items tucked away in homes where we have been called in to help when a loved one has passed. Some of the elderly still don’t trust banks. Others forget where they put things or forget that they even had them. Check all pockets, fan through books, look into the back of all dressers and drawers. You don’t want to miss something valuable even though it may be just a valuable memory.

Bring in experts

If needed, an appraiser can be worth their cost many times over. estate cleaningWhat you think may be insignificant may well be worth something. If there is a lot to sell give some thought to bringing in a third party to sell it for you. They will take a percentage of the sales but they take a lot of the work from you too. A professional organizer can help to sort, file and purge an estate when you just don’t have the time or people to assist you.

Donate the clothing

Most elderly people don’t spend money on clothes like people who work do. They just don’t need to. Unless you know there is a bit of vintage clothing in the home, you will be better off just donating the clothing to a charity that can ensure it is used by someone who could really use the items. Just check the pockets before giving it away!

Preserve the memories

You are going to come across a lot of memories during the cleaning out process. estate cleaningEnjoy it. Save all the pictures and letters that you want to and share them with family and friends. After the smiles and tears have gone consider preserving the memories in an album or a memory box.

As you go through your parent’s things a flood of memories will come. Enjoy the memories and take this time to say a final goodbye.

If you need help with cleaning out an estate ClutterBGone has assisted many families with this task. We are tactful, non judgemental and respectful. Contact us here to talk about it.