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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.

Don’t Leave Your Clutter For Others

leaving clutter to family

We don’t take our possessions with us when we pass. So, what do we do with all of our cherished items? Leave them to somebody else? ClutterBGone has worked with so many clients that have had to go through an entire house full of goods after the passing of a loved one, most of which nobody wanted.

Don’t leave the decisions to others

Most of our kids don’t have the same taste in home décor or furnishings and certainly not in clothes. Today’s Boomers want a more minimalistic lifestyle and don’t have the room for a lot of new items anyway. Leaving a house stuffed with items nobody will want is a burden on your loved ones. It will create stress on them to go through everything in a short amount of time while they are also grieving. Keep this in mind when preparing for your move or preparing your will.

Saying goodbye to items can be easy

Now that you’re no longer in the work force, someone else can use your work clothes. leaving clutter to familyThat suit or dress you no longer wear could help someone else look sharp in an interview. Are you going to use that silver server set you received as a gift a decade ago and still haven’t used it? The kids certainly don’t want it. Donate it to a cause where you’ll know it will bring joy to someone else. If you are up against a tough decision just ask yourself “Does it bring me joy”? If not, why keep it?

Money talks

You’ve heard that phrase “cash is king”? It’s true! Rather than leaving an item to someone that won’t use it or isn’t going to appreciate it, why not sell it and leave the money? Better yet, why not use the money for a little something you’ve always wanted?

Talk to your family about what they want

If you aren’t sure about who wants what, have a discussion with your family and find out. leaving clutter to familyThis can be a little sensitive to some but it will ensure that a special memory will be left to the right people. In previous jobs we have even had the names of family members put on the back or bottom of an item so there is no confusion at all. Let them know that leftover items will be sold, donated or tossed.

We all love our possessions but they don’t hold the same value to someone else. If you have recently retired or will be moving to a smaller space soon, now is a great time to make some decisions about what you will keep and what you won’t. ClutterBGone has assisted a lot of families in this exact same situation. We can also help you. Just contact us here.

Limit The Money You Spend On “Things”

own less stuff

Have you ever read George Carlin’s book titled A Place For My Stuff? He also has a hilarious stand up routine on stuff. In a nutshell he talks about the stuff we collect and how we have to have bigger homes in order to store our stuff. Crazy when you think about it in those terms.

It reminded me of an article I read some time ago about spending your money on experiences instead of things. We work hard for our money and rather than spending our leftover money on things we absolutely don’t need or don’t love, how about buying some of life’s experiences or little pleasures instead? You’ll feel better, have less clutter and probably get a little more enjoyment out of life.

Keeping up with the Jones’

Do you tend to compare yourself to others? own less stuffI just have to have that new set of golf clubs Tom has. I need to purchase a new dress for the party or our friends will think I wear the same thing all the time. I’ve seen this a lot and it’s one reason why there is so much clutter in homes. Live with what you have and what you need and you will be surprised at how much you have to do other things.

New becomes old quickly

Purchasing something new gives us a good feeling but the feeling quickly fades. Sometimes we end up asking ourselves why we bought it in the first place not long after the initial purchase. Shopping is often an emotional experience. Had a bad day? Feeling bad about yourself? Let’s go shopping! Shopping can get to be a habit. Before you know it you have a closet full of clothes you don’t need or wear and you have a storage room filled with items you never use.

Now you’re in that rut

Have you looked around and were surprised to see what you have accumulated? own less stuffYour closets are full. You may have duplicates of items you don’t need. Maybe you’re having trouble putting your hands on something you know you have. So many people I have talked to over the years admit that they didn’t realize how much money they have spent on needless items. And it makes them cringe to think what they could have done with that money like take a trip or pay down debt.

I wouldn’t expect everyone to become a minimalist but having less can lead to having more. It’s never too late to start. ClutterBGone has kick started many families into spending less on “stuff” and enjoying more out of life.

The Hall Entrance – A Case Study

organized hallway

First impressions are important, and your front door area is what people first see when they enter your space. I recently had the pleasure of organizing the main entranceway of a client’s home. My very first organizing job was a hall entry so I kind of have a soft spot for these spaces.

Renee is a married mother of three, with very active kids. Aside from her role as a mother and wife Renee is also an entrepreneur of a growing business run out of her GTA home, so things can get a little out of control when you’re being pulled in all directions. That’s when she called in ClutterBGone.

ZNews (a division of Zoomer Media) came along to film it all.

Sort

The first thing we did was sort all of the items that were in this area. Like items with like items. It’s an open area without a traditional hall closet so it can quickly become visually disorganized. Coats, boots, scarves and hats were all gathered and gone through with the client. Being spring we can take the fall and winter wear and set them aside for storage until next year.

Declutter

Next up, time to declutter! A family of five is going to have a lot of shoes, boots and coats. organized hallwaySome no longer fit or just aren’t worn. Others will be handed down to the younger kids. Items that are no longer required are going to be donated so others can use them. ClutterBGone is big on making sure that someone else can benefit or use things that no longer have a home in our client’s space. We like to promote an environmental friendly way to reduce, reuse and recycle. Our clutter does not belong in the ground, so we like to ensure something positive is achieved through our process. Keep in mind that the client is always in control of the decision-making process and determining where each item is destined to go. We’ll just help to give you a “nudge” now and again where needed and always keeping you on pace to get it all done in a timely manner.

Organize

Finally, the moment we’re all waiting for, it’s time to re-organize and finesse the space based on what is left. This is where we like to get creative. We put everything away in a neat and organized fashion. We also want to ensure everything is accessible to the client but also the little ones. Items are then containerized and labelled to ensure we leave you with a system to stay organized.

Before you knew it, we left with a very happy client who is now eager to have people come through the front door. A few items were donated so others can use what we didn’t need on this site. Renee and her family were very happy with the end result. As mentioned earlier, I have a soft spot for hall entryways, so I was really pleased to take this on. Thanks to ZNews for coming out. You can check out their short video of the job here.

Do you have an entrance or space that needs some organizing? Contact ClutterBGone here. We would be honoured to help organize your entry way too.

Downsizing And Donating

downsize and donate

I was driving through Markham recently and passed a sign put up by the Town. It said “Time to downsize? Donate now”. I was surprised, and pleased, that a town would encourage residents to both reduce clutter and help others while doing so. It got me to thinking just how downsizing can help others.

It helps you first

You will be the first one to feel the benefits of downsizing. organize and donateLetting go of items you no longer need or want will give you a feeling of freedom. You will feel more in control of your life. You will find things quicker and spend less time looking for what you need. You will actually save money because you are no longer purchasing items you have but can’t find. Have you been embarrassed to have company over due to the state of your home? Once the downsizing process is complete you will be proud to have people come over, even unexpectedly.

It helps others

Whether you donate it or put it in a consignment shop you are helping others. Many of your used items will be used to help others in need. A piece of clothing that is needed for a job interview or to stay warm. A piece of furniture that is needed but isn’t affordable just now. You know how expensive kids sports equipment is. You could be helping a child get into after school sports. Many of your items will be repurposed to help others and it will stay out of the landfill.

Make some money while downsizing

If you have items with some value there is nothing wrong with turning those unused items into a little bit of cash to buy that something you have had your eye on. Maybe the cash could be added to your vacation savings jar or a nice dinner out. There are a number of consignment shops in the GTA that will take some of your items on consignment for a split of the sale. We have worked with many of them and know where and how you can make the most of what you have.

Sell vs. donate vs. trash

It can be hard to determine what can be sold, what can be donated and what should be trashed or recycled. downsize and donateEveryone has different ideas of worth and sentiments start to play a big part in your decision-making. That is where a third party becomes useful. ClutterBGone has been helping clients downsize and organize in the GTA for quite a while now. We have the experience to help you make quick decisions and we know which pile your item will end up in.

Good for Markham for encouraging a clutter free life and in turn helping others. Lets hope other towns and municipalities get on board.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to donate your used goods. ClutterBGone has worked all across the GTA and works with many charities and donation centers that would love to have your items. If you are looking to downsize we are discreet, non judgemental and thorough. Just contact us here to find out more.

A Guide To Helping Your Parents Downsize

Seniors downsizing

One of my family members is a senior who is currently going through the process of downsizing. It got me to thinking that most of us will have to address this at some time in our lives with a loved one.

Some of our parents are not going to be able to stay in the larger family home and are going to need help in downsizing to a smaller dwelling be it a smaller home, a condo or even a retirement residence. If you find yourself in the position of having to assist a senior in downsizing here are a few things to keep in mind when doing so.

Emotions

The move and the preparations that are required are going to be an emotional time for both you and your parents. seniors downsizingExpect some tears, some smiles and maybe even some arguments. Keep your feelings in check and remember that it’s your parents that are being uprooted and moved leaving behind a lot of memories. Remember how you felt when your parents moved when you were young and the feelings you had? Most important is do not be judgemental. Perhaps a third party will be required to help with the process

Plan the new space

You will know the approximate size of the new rooms so sit down with your parents and decide what pieces of furniture are just not going to fit into the new living quarters. Maybe now is a good time to help out a child or a grandchild that could use a piece of furniture that is not going to fit into the new place. Explain that the piece will still get good use and will provide memories of them to the new owner. Maybe a sale would be in order with the money from the sale being used for something special that they want or need.

Precious memories

Decorative items are really the ones that make the place feel like home. Ensure that you know which are most important and pack them carefully. Once in the new place have them hung or displayed in a place for all to see to reduce the anxiety of the move. These memories will bring a sense of home and calm to them.

Now is the time to purge

I don’t know if it’s an age thing or not but many elderly people I’ve met tend to hang on to things and don’t want to let go. downsizing seniorsNow is a great time to go through the closets and drawers and toss anything that is worn to the point it is no longer wearable or donate anything that just doesn’t fit anymore.

As you go through the process remember the three piles – toss, donate and sell. Don’t be judgemental, be patient and let them know that there are people that could use the things they don’t need or don’t have the space for anymore. And remember – we are all going to be there at some point so compassion and empathy now will probably come back around later.

ClutterBGone has assisted countless GTA families with this process. We’re non-judgemental in our approach, compassionate and caring. If you need assistance with helping a loved one downsize just call (905-642-5669) or click here to contact us.

Get Organized For The End Of The School Year

end of school organizing

Whether its public or high school, the end of the school year is swiftly approaching. There will be lots of stuff coming home with the kids as the school year ends. Like everything else in your home, these items need to be sorted, organized and purged.

Backpacks

The backpacks will be retired for the summer but before they are check them out for wear and tear. end of school year organizingThey get a lot of use through the year so it may be time to replace them at the beginning of the next school year. Maybe your babies have “grown up” and want a more mature looking backpack next year. In that case maybe the current one can be handed down or donated for continued use. Check the backpacks for any lunch leftovers too. You don’t want to be tracking down a terrible smell later in the summer!

All that paper

The end of the school year may bring a lot of paper into the home. Notebooks, art projects, test papers and a lot of paper and documents that were accumulated and kept in the desk through the year will be coming home. We’re all proud of our children but we can’t keep everything they create. Go through it all, preferably with your child, and sort into what you will keep and what you will discard. I like to keep a memory box for each child and place the keepers in there. Others will create a sort of scrapbook and place them in that. Either way you and your child will have easy access to everything you found important enough to keep.

Keepsakes

Kids will collect many keepsakes through the school year. end of school organizingRibbons for participating, trophies for doing well, special drawings, school yearbooks, heck maybe even a few notes from a secret admirer? What will these mean to you and your child in a year or five or ten? Decide what goes in the memory box and what goes.

Old school supplies

A lot of the notebooks, pens, pencil crayons and other supplies can be kept for next year. Go through them for wear and discard what is not needed or usable any longer.

Go through all of the school items as soon as they come in at the end of the school year. This will reduce the clutter in the home and teach your kids responsibility and organization. Now let’s get ready for summer!!!

Spring Decluttering of Your Home

spring decluttering

Oh, spring! You have finally arrived! In the GTA there were times when we thought spring would never get here. Now that it has, people are out enjoying the sunshine. Many others are tackling the job of spring cleaning. ClutterBGone has a lot of experience in decluttering homes at this time of year. Let’s share some of our experiences with you.

Pick a starting point

You have to be organized in your approach to organize your home. Pick a room, one that you can organize the easiest. Make a list of what needs to be done in that room and get started. Once the easiest room is done you will have the sense of accomplishment to carry on.

Allow enough time

As much as you would really like to, you’re not going to get the whole house completed in a single weekend. spring declutteringIt takes time to sort and purge and organize as you go and working 8 to 10 hours a day on decluttering isn’t really reasonable. You will get frustrated and lose interest and the quality of your work will suffer. We find 6-hour increments work best.

Have the right tools

Before you begin assess what you have and what you will need for organizing. Do you have enough hangers? Are they all the same type for an organized look? Do you need a utensil tray? Will you need clear storage boxes? ClutterBGone has organized many homes and knows what you will need and most often we have these items in stock and bring them with us in case you need them.

Leave sentiment outside

We all have certain items that we keep for sentimental reasons and we would never suggest getting rid of everything. spring declutteringBut keeping that ratty sweater because the kids bought it for you or that appliance that doesn’t work because you “may” get it fixed one day just adds to your clutter and disorganized state. Be realistic about what you need and use. Keep the things you really love and take a real hard look at the rest. Sometimes a third party is needed to be impartial.

Scheduled maintenance

Just like your car, your furnace and heck, even your hair, your decluttering requires maintenance. Schedule an hour or two a month to keep your space organized and clutter free.

ClutterBGone has helped countless homes get organized and we love spring organizing! Contact us here to see how we can help you declutter your home for a fresh start to the summer.

5 Signs That You May Be Disorganized

signs you are disorganized

Do you ever wonder if you are chronically disorganized? ClutterBGone has worked in many homes in the GTA and have seen the signs. Here are five signs that you may be disorganized.

You can never find things

It continually takes you a lot longer than you thought to find things. How many times have you gone to look for something and you know where it is – at least you thought you did. After quite a bit of time you find it only because you have torn the house apart and spent a lot of time doing so. Now you are even more disorganized with everything strewn about.

Your social life is suffering

You are embarrassed or experience shame to have company come over. signs you are disorganizedI get it, when we have company over we want to make a good impression and show a neat and organized household. Who wants to have company – family or friends – over when we have items all over the counters and boxes of possessions piled up on the floor? Being disorganized can cause some people to crawl into a shell and become unsocial.

Your life is full of stress

You are stressed just thinking about having to get organized. It’s a fact that stress is a killer. We all deal with stress differently and stress can have an adverse impact on our health. If you are feeling stress or anxiety over the thought of getting organized don’t let it get the best of you. Reach out for help either with family or friends or from a professional.

It’s not safe in your home

You or someone you love has fallen or tripped over something that is always out of place. signs you are disorganizedThis is the last thing we want but there are some people that just don’t know how to get organized and end up stacking things on the floor causing trip hazards or having so much in a cupboard that items fall out when the cupboard doors are opened. Most common accidents happen in the home so lets do what we can to maintain a safe environment for our loved ones and ourselves.

You are always late

Whether it’s for appointments or paying the bills or meeting up with someone, you are always late. Running late because you did not record the appointments where they are easily accessible with a reminder? Are you getting those nasty fees or penalties added on to your bill because you were late with the payment? How about those nasty credit card interest charges due to late payments? Ouch! Being disorganized can cost you time and money.

Do any of these signs ring true with you? If so, ClutterBGone can help you get and stay organized. We are just a click or call away. Contact us here or call us at 905-642-5669.

Storing Your Hockey Gear

storing hockey gear

With the pro hockey season now winding down it’s time to get that hockey gear stored until next season. Our friends at Pro Stock Hockey have offered some tips on how to correctly store your gear so it’s fresh and in great shape the next time you play.

Pick a spot

Hockey families will have a lot of equipment to store especially if there’s more than one child playing and possibly Mom and Dad as well. Pick a spot where everything can be stored together and where it can be kept dry. Design a system whether it’s a shelf or hanging on a wall and ensure everyone uses it.

Sticks

Sticks need to be secured to make sure they aren’t falling onto a car or worse, onto a small child. storing hockey gearWe have seen many different ways to keep sticks secure. We can recommend something to you that will work in your space.

 

 

 

Extra gear

You know how fast kids grow and that means they grow out of equipment. Once it can’t be used, sort it and get it out of the house. There are numerous charities that would love to take your used gear. Also, you can sell it at a second-hand sports store or sell it yourself online.

Sweaters and pants

Being a hockey family I’m sure you are familiar with that hockey “scent”. That is usually caused by sweaters and, socks and pants being left in the bag. Hang these up when being stored to eliminate that nasty smell.

The extras

Try to use a bag that has extra pockets to store the miscellaneous items like tape and pucks.hockey gear It will make them easier to find when needed. And don’t forget to put skate guards on your skate blades to protect everything else. Hockey equipment is costly so it needs to be protected.

 

ClutterBGone has helped many clients get their hockey gear (and other sports equipment) organized and stored. Reach out to us here to see how we can help you.

Thanks to our friends at Pro Stock Hockey. The link to there article is here.