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Decluttering Checklist For The “Big Move”

moving seniors

Guest blogger : Alejandra Roca

Adjusting to life in a senior living community can be tough. The move represents a fresh start with new friends and fun, but also the loss of a home, belongings, and freedom. You can help your loved one transition smoothly by planning in advance, staying organized, and honoring their feelings throughout the process.

Start planning early!

Create a calendar and set dates for moving-related activities. moving seniorsYou’ll need plenty of time to pack as there is likely to be quite a collection of items accumulated over the years. Items not moving with you can be set aside for donation or hold a garage or estate sale.

Limit your time

Seniors typically tire a bit earlier so limit the packing to just a few hours a day. This will probably turn into a bit of a trip down memory lane. If your loved one wants to stop and reminisce, join in – it won’t hurt anything.

Documents

This is a good time to go through all the important papers in the home. Make sure documents like passports and licenses are up to date. Wills and power of attorneys can be reviewed to ensure they still meet the wishes of your loved one. If one has not already been created, now is a good time to open a file or binder for easy access to records and other documents. Keep these documents in a central location, like a safe deposit box, and let other family members know where they are so nobody feels left out of the process. Now is also a good time to update the address of everything that requires updating.

Decide on the what comes

Your loved one can and should bring keepsakes to their new home, but they probably won’t have the square footage to accommodate everything they collected over the years. downsizing seniorsYour local donation centers can use a lot of what is not required in order to help others. Valuable items can be sold or gifted to other family members. Remember that, first and foremost, it’s your loved one’s decision whether or not to part with items. If you’re too close to the situation and your help becomes frustrating for them, consider hiring an impartial third party – like a professional organizer – who’s used to helping people let go.

Be kind, patient, and understanding with your loved one. Support them during the move, follow up after, and check in regularly as your senior settles in to their new home. Remember that you, too, will one day be in a similar situation!

ClutterBGone has assisted many families with moving a loved one to asssited living facilities and we can help you too. Just contact us here.

Alejandra Roca is part of the content marketing team at Redfin and enjoys writing about home decor and real estate trends.

Originally published on: https://www.redfin.com/blog/senior-guide-for-decluttering

Downsizing During Divorce

downsize during divorce

Nobody likes to think of divorcing another. It means the end of a relationship and probably starting all over again. It’s a terrible thing to have to go through but sometimes it’s the only option left. The thought of moving, downsizing and separating yours from theirs can be overwhelming. ClutterBGone has helped couples through the process – here’s a few things to watch for.

Emotions

Your emotions, and those of your partner, are raw and things can quickly boil to the top making a peaceful separation of items extremely difficult. Friends and family are typically not impartial. Keep your emotions in check anytime you are dealing with the physical aspects of a separation.

The new space

Typically a move after a divorce is a move to a smaller space, rarely is it a move to larger premises. Be ready for the move and be realistic about the space you are moving into. Downsize ahead of the move to prevent clutter and disorganization from day one in the new place. Bring with you only the things that you absolutely love and let them be the start of your new lifestyle.

What to keep

Decorate your home with a mix of old and new. downsize during divorceYou may not want to bring those wedding gifts you received from his/her family but a few pieces that you love from your old home will make you feel at home in your new place right away. You don’t need to keep everything that your spouse gave you either but try to be practical about what you need and what you want. This is where a third party can help.

Do you need help?

There’s a lot to do when going through a divorce and you don’t have to do it alone. You will need a lawyer and perhaps a realtor. If emotions are getting the better of you both then maybe a professional organizer can assist during this time. ClutterBGone is impartial, non judgemental and has helped other couples through this difficult process.

If you need help during divorce or any other life change just contact us here. We would be happy to have a chat.

The Reasons You Want To Get Organized

reasons to get organized

During our intake process we ask all of our prospective clients why they want to get organized. We received a lot of different answers but I thought I would share with you the most common reasons why people want to get organized.

Can’t locate things

I’m tired of not being able to find things or spending too much time looking for them. Does this sound familiar to you? We spend so much time looking for things we know we have or we know should be in a particular place but are not. We spend a lot of time and end up stressing out when we cant quickly put our hands on something we know we have, and it always happens at the most inopportune time. Cooking? Where is that utensil? Bill due? I know I put it here for future reference. Think of all the time you will get back and the reduction on your stress levels when you are organized and have a system in place to stay that way.

I would like to have company over again

How long has it been since you had company over? reasons to get organizedPeople who are disorganized find themselves pulling away from friends and family out of embarrassment or fear of what they may think about you if they see the state of your living condition. You don’t realize that it is you they love and want to spend time with but embarrassment gets in the way. Once you are organized you will find your social life opens up again and you are eager to have people come over again.

Safety

Whether it’s for the safety of yourself or for a loved one you want to be organized for safety reasons too. Too many things on the kitchen counter can be a fire hazard, something falling out of a cupboard when it is opened can hit you or someone else, tripping hazards on the floor can send someone to the hospital. Once organized your living area will not only look and feel better to you but it’ll be a safer environment as well. This is especially important for the older ones in our lives.

Stress reduction

Being disorganized causes stress. reasons to get organizedAnd we know what stress does to your health. We touched on it above but being disorganized can put a lot of stress on you to the point where it can affect your health. We all know stress is hard on the heart and we should all be doing as much as we can to reduce or eliminate stress in our lives.

 

Save money

Who doesn’t want to save money? How many times have you run out to purchase a greeting card or wrapping paper, a grocery item or something else at the last minute (here’s that stress thing again) because you couldn’t find it at home? You know you have it and you know it’ll turn up when it isn’t needed. Get organized and you will not need to run out for that duplicate item.

So, do any of these reasons ring true for you? Get organized and save time, stress and money and improve your lifestyle. Let me know if you have any other reasons. We would love to hear from you.

Organize Your Garage For Spring

organized garage

Can you feel Spring in the air? It has been a long and brutal winter in the GTA. The calendar says spring is finally here. Normally we like to throw open the windows and get into our “spring” cleaning. Well, don’t forget the garage during this time.

Your garage has probably been neglected during the cold winter months. It now needs a good old de-cluttering and organizing just like any other area of your home.

Where did I put those backyard items?

You probably tossed a lot of items into your garage last fall and over the winter. Time to get them out, clean them up and get them ready for the mild weather.

Start with an empty canvas

Pull everything out of the garage to start fresh. garage organizingTake it all off the walls, off the shelves and even out of the rafters. Lots of dust will have accumulated over the winter and a lot more will get kicked up as you clean. Take this opportunity to wipe everything down as it comes out. Use a sweeping compound on the floor to reduce the dust that gets into the air and finds its way into the house.

Give yourself enough time

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 when it goes back in, so you can easily find those items again when they are needed.

Get it back in neat and organized

Rakes, shovels and the like should go back in securely on the wall, so they can’t fall on anything or anyone. Designate a space for sporting equipment, garden accessories and supplies and label where it goes. Once everything is up and out of your way you can be sure that your garage will stay 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 and the surrounding area. We love to organize!!

Are You Remodelling Your Kitchen?

kitchen remodelling

I recently read an article in Canada’s largest newspaper stating that an uncluttered kitchen was a homeowners remodelling goal. In fact, storage was the number one function concern for most people. The 2018 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study found that, for 75 per cent of the homeowners, decluttering counters was the No. 1 priority. That was followed by 66 per cent who wanted to put things away and 49 per cent who focused on recycling.

Respondents agreed that kitchen renos are a major and expensive undertaking: the cost for a 200-square-foot or larger kitchen averaged about $52,000 or about $32,300 for smaller kitchens. Why spend all that money just to have another disorganized kitchen?kitchen remodelling

Storage is a priority in today’s kitchen. Sixty-three per cent of those surveyed chose storage as the No. 1 function concern, followed by space planning (38 per cent), entertaining (32 per cent) and cleanliness (32 per cent).

All of this comes as no surprise to ClutterBGone as we have created space and organization in many kitchens. Let’s take a look at some of our golden kitchen rules when remodelling your kitchen.

Keep horizontal surfaces clear

If you must keep small appliances on the counter keep it to the ones that you use every day like the toaster, coffee maker, and maybe your smoothie machine. Appliances that are seldom used should be stored elsewhere. You’ll be amazed at just how neat and organized your kitchen will look with a clutter free horizontal surface.

Keep it clean

Now that the surface is clear, ensure it is kept clean with a quick wipe a few times a day. By doing this your surface will look more organized and you will end up putting things away when you clean.

Keep your daily use items within reach

Organize your kitchen so that the items you need are easily within reach of the task you are performing. kitchen remodellingIf you are cooking make sure your pots and pans are close by. Try to have your glasses stored next to the fridge. Your dishes close to the dishwasher for easy return. This will save you steps and time and will reduce the traffic chaos in your kitchen.

Keep the junk out of your junk drawer

I don’t believe in junk drawers but I do believe in having a drawer to keep miscellaneous items needed in the kitchen like pens, string and things like that. But, this drawer has to be reviewed periodically to ensure you don’t end up with a true junk drawer.

If kitchen remodelling plans are in your future, then you may need to contact ClutterBGone to help get ready or to help you get organized after the project is completed. We have helped organize many kitchens and would love to help you too.

Things We Buy And Never Use

things we buy

After having been in many client’s home over the years, I’ve seen a lot of things that are bought but never used. I thought I’d share this list with you to see how many of these you have and to perhaps give you a heads up if you’re thinking of buying any of them.

Exercise equipment

We’re reminded of this every year when resolutions come out to lose weight and get in shape. Shortly after the list of items you waste your money on come out and gym equipment is right at the top of the list. I’ll bet you that when ClutterBGone comes across gym equipment in a home, 9 times out of 10 there’s a layer of clothing or dust on it. You know yourself best, don’t buy it unless you know you’ll use it religiously. You don’t need clunky gym equipment to lose weight, weigh your options.

Kitchen appliances

This is the worst area of the house to find things that are bought but never used. items we don't useHow many of you have a fondue set? How about a bread maker? How’s that juicer working out for you? It’s hard not to see the benefits of the appliance when you’re shopping from the comfort of your couch at two in the morning, but these things take up a lot of valuable space either on your kitchen counter or in your cupboard. Appliances that you don’t use really hamper your productivity in the kitchen.

Magazines / Cookbooks / Newspapers

In this day of electronics, it’s so easy to find what you need on line. People tell me that I’m still old school but I have ditched the magazine subscriptions. I went digital with one of the subscription services and realized I still wasn’t reading them, so I stopped that as well. I’ve also donated my cookbooks and find all my recipes online (although I will admit to printing just a few of them).

Too many clothes

A lot of you will buy clothes for a lot of different reasons. too many clothesYou need them for a new job. You’re depressed and shopping helps. You’re trying to stay up with the latest fashion trends. I have two rules when it comes to clothes. I have to really love the piece and have a use in mind for it and something has to go when I get it home. Follow these rules and your closet will stay neat and organized.

Hobby supplies

ClutterBGone has sorted and organized numerous hobby rooms. During the process we have had to throw out a lot of dry paint, donate a lot of yarn and discovered many duplicates of supplies. Know what you absolutely must have when you go to the store to replenish your hobby supplies. Have an organized space for your supplies close to where you work. This is where ClutterBGone can help you.

We’ve helped clients organize every room you can think of and find many of these items that are just never used. If you have these items and more and need help in getting organized just contact us here. We love to organize!

Time To Get Your Taxes Organized

Well, February has passed and you should have all the documents you need to get your taxes prepared. Whether you do your taxes yourself or you have someone else do them, just getting your documents ready can be a stressful time. Taxes are something that you should be thinking of throughout the year but unless you are running your own small business I’ll bet tax time is the only time you think of them.

How long do I keep my tax records?

Keep your tax records & supporting documents for six full years.

Even if you do not have to attach certain supporting documents to your return, or if you are filing your return electronically, keep them in case your return is selected for review or audit. Revenue Canada may request documents other than official receipts as proof of any deduction or credit you claim, such as cancelled cheques or bank statements.

This six-year period starts at the end of the tax year for which you are filing. So, if you are filing your 2017 taxes shortly you will need to keep files from 2017 back to 2012.

What do I do with older records?

After the six-year mark (2011 files can be safely disposed of after your 2017 taxes have been filed) you can safely destroy older files. organize your taxes

Ensure that they are properly disposed of by shredding them! Do not leave anything to chance. If you don’t own a shredder most office supply stores will provide a shredding service for a nominal fee. I recently stopped into my local office supply store and had a box of documents shredded for just a few dollars.

Notice of assessment

You will receive a notice of assessment from Revenue Canada once your taxes have been filed and reviewed. It will confirm that your return was assessed and whether you owe taxes, whether a refund is owed to you or if there is a zero balance. If there are no discrepancies between your filing and this notice, then file it away with the taxation year that it applies to. You will need it for your next tax year when you file.

Filing throughout the year

Throughout the year you are going to accumulate receipts for many different items that you may or may not require for tax purposes depending on your individual circumstances. Open a file and label it according to the current tax year.organize your taxes Papers and receipts you need for taxes should be placed in this file. This current year folder will make it a lot easier to keep track of important documents you get throughout the year, like donation receipts, etc. All the papers you need to prepare your taxes will all be in one place.

You can even go one step further, especially if running a small business, and separate your tax receipts into categories like health expenses, business expenses, car expenses, office supplies, etc. to be even better organized for the upcoming tax year. You may want to separate your paperwork this way anyway if you want to track the cost of running your household on an annual basis.

Tax time can be pretty stressful but if you plan ahead and have an accessible file with everything you need, things will go a lot smoother. ClutterBGone loves organizing paperwork. It’s not too late. Tax time is here, are you ready?

Why You Buy Things You Don’t Need

buy things you don't need

We are a society of consumers. Go to your local mall at almost any time and look at the sea of people shopping. I dare you to easily find a parking spot at Costco but let’s not stop there, Amazon and other on-line retailers are also growing like crazy.

We buy a lot of things we really don’t need. We get the items home and realize we really didn’t need them. Have you ever thought about why you buy items you really don’t need? Below are a list of just a few reasons.

You can’t find what you’re looking for

I myself have done this. buy things you don't needWe need something but because we can’t readily find it we head out to buy another. The “lost” one always turns up doesn’t it? Having an organized space really does allow you to easily see what you have and saves you the money and time on buying another. We understand this is a common issue with clients we’ve worked with so let’s put an end to duplicate buying.

Buying things makes us happy

True, but at what cost? Sure, a new pair of shoes, a new appliance, whatever we purchase is bound to make us happy. That happiness only lasts a short time though and we’re on to the next. If this continues which most likely than not it does, you are then left with no space to put anything else and a room or rooms that’s cluttered. Let’s not even mention the credit cards bills that come later.

It’s a great deal

It’s only a great deal if you really need it. buy things you don't needMany of our clients’ homes are jammed with those “freebies” that come with another purchase. Guess what? They’re not free. The costs of those freebies are built into the cost of whatever you have to buy to get them and those freebies or samples are normally the things we end up throwing away when we start a project. Don’t be fooled into parting with your hard-earned money because the truth of the matter is you’re going to spend even more to rid your home of everything collected.

Fads

Remember the FloBee, that thing that attaches to your vacuum to cut hair? Do you own a fondue pot? A Chia pet? How about the Clapper? ClutterBGone has come across all of these, and more, in clients’ homes. Most of these fad items are just that – fads. It’s a blast to go down memory lane but I’ll bet you’re not that organized if you still have any of these items still in your home.

These are a just few reasons why we purchase things we don’t need or use. Do any strike a chord with you? If you need help getting organized or downsizing after having spent a few years accumulating things you don’t want then all you have to do is contact us here or give ClutterBGone a call at 905-642-5669.

Add More Storage To Your Bathroom

organized bathroom

Besides the kitchen, the bathroom has to be the next toughest room to find extra storage. If you live in a small apartment or condo you know how difficult it can be. Until you’re ready to have us in to organize your space, here’s a few ideas for you to try.

Got a corner?

If you are lucky enough to have a corner in your bathroom then take advantage of it. A corner shelf will hold a lot of items and don’t be afraid to install it higher if you have to. It can hold things that aren’t used as often.

Have a look over the door

Yes, many people wouldn’t even think to store items over the door but in a small room this can add a lot of storage space. Extra towels, toilet paper and tissue can all be stored on a shelf above the door.organized bathroom

Under the sink

There is normally a shelf under the sink regardless of the size but the sink itself doesn’t usually allow for a second shelf. Try storing items in decorative baskets or other easy to retrieve totes or bins.

On top of the tank

The space above the toilet is perfect for a shelf (allow enough room for the lid to be removed). If shelving is an issue get a basket that blends in with your décor to store items you need close at hand.

On the wall

There are so many creative items that allow you to store the things you need on your wall – within easy reach. organized bathroomShelves, baskets, hooks and many other organizing tools can be used in a variety of ways to increase space and keep you organized.

More ideas

There are so many storage ideas that can be utilized to increase the storage capacity of a small bathroom. ClutterBGone has seen and used many of these and we have the experience to help you increase your small space and get you organized.

We can help you too. Just contact us here.

Life Transitions And How ClutterBGone Can Help You

life transitions

Life seldom follows the path that we think we have set for it. It always seems to throw us a curve. Here are a few of life’s changes and how ClutterBGone can assist you with adapting to them.

The move

Moving is a big change in your life. Being prepared and organized all through the packing and moving process can reduce stress and save you money. life transitionsOrganized homes sell faster, pack easier and move quicker. We have assisted many clients on this big day. We can pack, help you move and even help unpack on the other end. We’re pros at any stage of the move. When you are ready just give us a call.

Divorce

Nobody likes to think about the end of a relationship but it does happen. Sometimes we are just too emotional to purge, sort and handle the things that need to be done. Perhaps you are still working or you’re busy looking after kids. We will come in and do the sorting, purging and organizing for you. We can even help you get organized administratively if this wasn’t your responsibility up until now. Divorce is overwhelming and we can impartially help you through it.

The returning child

Some kids are like a boomerang in that they will always come back. life transitionsMaybe you’ve already dedicated their bedroom to another use. Perhaps you have even already downsized and moved. We can help get your child settled in and their space organized. We will even leave them with a system to stay organized to relieve your stress. When they leave again though is totally up to you.

A death in the family

We’ve worked with quite a few clients where either a spouse or a parent has passed away and they are responsible for the disposition of the deceased’s belongings. We are sensitive to the fact that emotions are raw and have the experience to sort and purge items with your guidance. We have the contacts to handle the loved ones goods whether they are donated or sold.

The newborn is here

Welcoming a baby in to the world is one of life’s greatest joys. Be ready with a neat and organized space for your bundle of joy. We’ll make it easy to put things away and have easy access to them whether they are clothes, toys or supplies.

At ClutterBGone we have seen the impact that life’s transitions can have on people. We have assisted many of our clients through all of these and more. We can help you too. Just contact us here.