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How To Keep Small Spaces Organized

Living in a really small space can sometimes feel like you’re living a real-life Tetris game. Living spaces are smaller now so we have to make do with what we have. Here are my suggestions for keeping small spaces organized.

Build upwards

The absolute best way to stay organized and take advantage of space is to go up. Whether you have the standard 8 to 9 foot walls or you’re lucky enough to have higher walls, utilizing the wall space can create more space for you than any other way. You can add a wall unit, add shelving or hang whatever you need on your wall space. You wouldn’t believe the spaces we have created for clients.

Take advantage of dead space

Take a look around your living space. Do you have space under a bed? Is there space over your closet shelf? ClutterBGone’ s organizers are experts at finding and utilizing space you don’t know you have.

Rotate your wardrobe

Rather than having all of your wardrobe items for the entire year crammed into your closet try keeping only a season or two in there at a time. organized small spacePack the off-season clothes and store them away (remember that dead space?). This will give you more space to work with and give your closet a more organized look.

Store items where they are used

Doesn’t it make sense to keep your dishes near the kitchen prep area? Are your glasses near the fridge? Storing items near to where they are used saves steps and results in less clutter with a more organized work area.

Keep it tidy

It goes without saying but a little bit of clutter can look like a lot in a small space and a pile of laundry quickly becomes a mountain. Do a little each day and things will stay more organized.

Look for smaller versions

Know the space that you have to work with. organized small spacesI love my coffee in the morning, especially those single serve pods, but I don’t have the space for the large machine. Instead, I found a great one serving machine that takes up about a third of the space. Do you need a four-slice toaster or will two do the job?  And if you live in a small space avoid the temptation of going to those big bulk stores. You will find you will need to store items everywhere giving your space a very cluttered and disorganized look.

Invest in space saving products

Products like shoe organizers, clear containers, appropriate hangers and other products offered can add to your storage space to help you stay organized. ClutterBGone knows all the latest space saving products and where to use them. We also have an inventory of organizing products ready to go.

If you need help organizing a small space, we have the team to help you. Just contact us here to get started.

Organizing Statistics That May Surprise You

organizing statistics

I wanted to share with you some interesting organizing statistics released by the Professional Organizers In Canada. I was quite surprised by some of these, as I’m sure you will be too.

The number of us that are disorganized

Eight of ten of us admitted to being disorganized. Most Canadians are at least somewhat disorganized at home, at work or with their ability to manage time. Add children to the home and you have a much higher chance of being disorganized. Surprisingly, younger Canadians in the 18 to 34 year range admitted to being disorganized more than older Canadians.

What is the most disorganized area?

Twenty nine percent of all Canadians say that their home is their most disorganized aspect of their life. organizing statisticsTake men out of the equation and that number rises to 34%. The basement is said to be the most disorganized area of a home. Not surprising since ClutterBGone has seen what the basement in many homes is used as – a storage area for goods seldom used. When you compare homes with and without kids 82% say a home with kids is disorganized. Only 21% without kids admit to being disorganized.

The office

Seven out of ten disorganized Canadians say that their workplace is disorganized. No surprise in that the desk is the most disorganized area in the office. In order to be at your most productive you need a neat and organized work space.

Have you ever tried to get organized?

Most have tried to become organized but one in six never have. Just over a third that have tried to get organized have failed. Sixteen percent have never tried to get organized and some don’t even know where to start.

Is it time for professional help?

Three in ten Canadians are willing to hire a professional organizer to help them get organized. organizing statisticsA professional organizer is trained in the latest organizing trends and knows all of the storage containers and systems that will work for you. Professional organizers are trained, skilled specialists who help people create order where it is lacking in their lives, so that they can make long-term improvements and keep disorder at bay. We take courses and are certified in what we do. We will come in and assess not only what needs to be done but how we got to this stage in the first place and then design a system that works for you to keep you organized long after we have left.

A large majority of Canadians feel that being disorganized negatively affects their lives. Just over ten percent admitted that being disorganized made them feel like a failure. Stress and anxiety play a large part in being disorganized.

Did you find some of these organizing statistics surprising? If you need help in getting organized why not enlist the services of a professional? ClutterBGone has helped many clients in the Greater Toronto Area and we would love to help you too. Just contact us here.

How Does The Pareto Principle Work In Downsizing?

pareto principal organizing

Do you know what the Pareto Principal is? It’s commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of the effort is gained by 20% of the people. Commonly, 80% of sales income comes from 20% of the customers. Teachers will spend 80% of their time with 20% of their students. You probably spend 80% of your time with 20% of your friends. You get the idea.

How does this principal apply to downsizing?

In our home

Once our kids have moved out (and I mean for good) we spend 80% of our time in 20% of the spaces in our home. organized hallwayWe use the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and our “TV” room but rarely venture into the other rooms. Spare bedrooms, home office and even the finished basement rarely gets used anymore. That’s a lot of extra room to have to clean, or at the very least dust. Consider downsizing to a more manageable living area. Use the equity gained in the sale of your larger home to do the things you really want to do.

Our clothes closet

Surely you have a lot of clothes hanging in your closet that haven’t been worn for a very long time. We all have our favourites that we love to wear. The rest just hang in our closets. There are two things I like to do in my closet. First, quite often I will reverse all the hanging items in my closet. organizingAfter I have worn something I will put it back with the hangar facing the correct way. After about three months I can see what has not been worn. It can be an eye opener. Secondly, I will sometimes leave the price tags on an item and date it with the date I bought it. When I use the item I will see how long it has been since I bought it. Sometimes another eye opener. The point is that 20% of our clothes are worn 80% of the time so unless you really love the piece and really need it, resist the urge and save the space and the money.

If you follow this principal when you are downsizing or organizing you will come to realize that you don’t really miss the 80% of items or space you once had.

ClutterBGone challenges you to adopt the 80/20 rule when you start the downsizing and organizing process for whatever reason you need to do so. If you need assistance with downsizing or organizing we can be easily reached by clicking here. We would love to show you how the Pareto Principal applies to you.

A Little Bit About ClutterBGone

ClutterBGone

We’ve written about Professional Organizers and what they do in past. I thought I would let you know a little bit more about ClutterBGone in particular and what we are all about.

Background

ClutterBGone has been in business for the past seven years so we have a lot of experience in helping clients downsize, get organized and get some calm back in their lives. We service the entire Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and have several teams so we can work on several projects at the same time. All team members are fully trained and are fully insured.

How does the whole process start?

Once you recognize the need for assistance and reach out to us we come to you for a one on one to see the space that you require help with. We look at what you want to accomplish, in what timeframe, how you use the space and whether or not you will need any organizing products. We’ll let you know right then and there how much the project will cost you. ClutterBGoneWithout this initial consult we can’t possibly give you an estimate.

How long will the project take?

That depends. We have organized complete homes as well as smaller projects like a hall closet. But, we will let you know after the initial consultation how long we think it will take. We’ve been doing this long enough that our estimates after our first meeting are usually spot on. We will schedule sessions according to your timetable and how involved you want to be. We are able to work whenever you need us to.

Will you make me throw things out?

No. You are the boss. ClutterBGoneYou make all the decisions on what stays, what goes, what gets donated and what gets sold. We will encourage you and challenge you on certain things but you ultimately make the decision. Our goal is to teach you as we go along about the value of things compared to the space you have and when I say value I’m not just talking about the financial value. At ClutterBGone we recognize that sentimental value plays an important part too.

Will all this be confidential?

Of course. ClutterBGone has built our business and reputation on trust. We will never give or sell any of your information to anybody at anytime. You will never receive any advertising or information from us without first consenting. We also adhere to the code of ethics of the Professional Organizers of Canada.

If you are at the stage where you recognize the need for a little professional help just contact us here. ClutterBGone is ready to help you with your organizing needs as we have done with many other clients in the GTA.

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.

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.