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.

Emergency Preparedness – Be Organized



With the recent devastating fire in Fort McMurray I thought it prudent to write about being organized and prepared for an emergency. You never know when an emergency will strike or where. I think back to the Mississauga train derailment in 1979 when 200,000 people were evacuated or the black out in 2003 that affected 10 million people by cutting power anywhere from several hours to a week and now the Fort McMurray fires. Each time there is an emergency Canadians are quick to open their homes and wallets to those in need but we all have to be ready as time is scarce when tragedy strikes.

The essentials

On the Government of Canada’s website ( they suggest that you have enough supplies for you and your family to last 3 days. Food should be canned or dried or items that won’t spoil like energy bars and don’t forget a manual can opener. Have enough water (about 2 litres per person per day) to last each of you three days and have it stored in containers that are easy to transport.


Electricity normally goes out during an emergency so have a flashlight and batteries ready at all times.

Hand crank radio

There are a number of lights and radios that work on a crank that you can keep with your kit.

Some things you may not think of

Duct tape is Tim the Tool Man’s friend and it really can do a lot. Toss a roll into your emergency kit for sealing or holding things together. A small tool kit will probably come in handy with just the basics like a screwdriver, pliers, a hammer and a whistle can be used for summoning help.

First aid kit

A basic first aid kit is a must not just for you and your family.

Red Plastic First Aid Kit Box Isolated on White Background.

You never know who you are going to come across who may need assistance. You can find them all over town or the Red Cross ( has kits you can purchase from them.

Keep it handy

Once you have your kit together pack it in a duffel bag or similar item that you can carry and make sure everyone knows where it is. Go through they kit every 2 or 3 months to take stock of what you have and replace any items that are no longer any good like food and batteries.

Make sure someone out of your immediate family knows your plans if you need to leave home so they can find you and keep a small amount of cash with you. Do not spend a lot of time rounding up personal things – they can always be replaced – but do take a fully charged phone with you along with medications that you will need. For more detailed information visit the Government of Canada’s website.

Canadians have always been generous in times of need and the Government of Canada has pledged to match all individual donations made to the Red Cross to help those affected by the wild fires. Give generously and be prepared.

Donating to Schools

With all the cutbacks in funding, I think we can all agree that schools are always in need of supplies no matter how small. I’m currently working with a client who has an old, unused sewing room jam packed with everything from fabrics to old Vogue patterns, costumes and all sorts of sewing accessories. Although many local craft guilds would give their right arm to get some of these items, another idea is to donate to your local school.  In addition to sewing related items,  schools would love to receive these other things as well:

  • postcards, greeting cards
  • old magazines
  • wrapping paper
  • small wood scraps
  • craft materials
  • sequins and buttons

So, after the holiday rush is over and you are settling in to (hopefully) a couple of days off, take some time to go through some of your unused items and see what you have to donate to your local school.  Not only will you create some space in your own home for what’s important to you now, but you’ll also help develop some creativity in your community school as well.   So donate and feel great!








3 Ways To Teach Children To be Organized

With the holiday season in full swing, what better time than now to teach your children how to let go of items and be organized. You’re never too young to start.

The first way is in regards to their toys. Go through toys with your child every 6 months and point out which toys they no longer play with. You can suggest they donate to another child. It’s important that your child be part of this process and makes the actual decision with your support.

The second way is with clothing. With a very young child as you go through their clothing have them look at the piles of clothes that no longer fit and confirm with them that they are ready to let them go. I suggest you even ask them to come with you to the donation centre to drop them off. Including them in this process helps them to learn to let go and make decisions, which is an important step in the organization.

The third way is through artwork. Once a month you can review the pieces of art made by your children and ask them to select those that they are ready to recycle. It’s important that they physically put the item into the recycle bin themselves. Through this process they will learn to pick out the more treasured pieces from those that no longer hold value to them. If your child is struggling with letting go of a piece of their art, offer to take a digital photo for them.

Remember to reward the child for his or her decision-making. This way they will associate organization with positive reinforcement and keep them coming back for more. What methods do you use to teach them organizing skills?