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Understanding Why We Accumulate Clutter

understanding clutter

We are a society that constantly buys items. We need new clothes to keep up with the latest fashions. We love to have the latest in electronics. Our kitchens are full of gadgets that make our lives easier. With our living spaces becoming smaller it’s almost essential to stay organized. Organizing itself can be quite easy. We accumulate, we pare down and sort through and get rid of some of our items but without understanding why we accumulate the clutter you’re doomed to repeat the process.

What is truly important?

Of all your possessions there are only a few that are truly important to you. understanding clutterWe hold onto many items out of sentimentality. Maybe it belonged to a loved one. Perhaps you still hold on to those old high school awards. When was the last time you even looked at them? Will your loved ones want them when you are gone? Choose just a couple of these items and purge the rest. ClutterBGone knows how to make sure those memories are with you without the clutter.

Material items define your success

Keeping up with the Jones’ is a real thing. We clamor for the latest and greatest in all things. Just look at the line ups when a new phone is launched. How about those Boxing Day line ups all to get a great deal? What are these people doing with the things they already have? Obviously, success shouldn’t be measured on what you own but rather what you accomplish, how you achieve your goals and how happy your home life is.

It was too good to pass up

We always run into a bargain or a sale that we believe is just too good to pass up. understanding clutterWow! Eighty percent off something that I may need at some point? Who could pass that up? You should. Even eight percent off is still too much to pay for something you just don’t need. Besides, there will always be a sale at some point. If you truly want to live clutter free, then purchase only what you need and when you need it. Keep in mind that everything you buy requires some maintenance whether it is cleaning, dusting or moving it around and it takes up valuable space too.

Letting go is overwhelming

We see this with a lot of our clients. Just the thought of letting go of something can bring on the sweats and anxiety. They don’t know where to start so just keep putting it off. A professional organizer understands this and works with their clients to reduce the anxiety and work with them at their own pace. You don’t have to do this alone.

ClutterBGone understands the reasons why people accumulate clutter and how hard it can be to declutter and get organized. We understand the psychology behind clutter and work with you, side by side, to get you to an organized and clutter free home. Contact us here to start the process.

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.

Resolve to Get Organized This Year

resolve to get organized

With the new year fast approaching a lot of you will be making resolutions to make 2019 better than 2018 was. If you are one of those that makes New Years resolutions, then I know a lot of you will be resolving to get organized this year. In order to avoid being in the same cluttered mess at the end of January, here are some tips on how to help you stick with your clutter free resolution.

Know why you want to be organized

Jot down the main reasons for wanting to get organized. resolve to get organizedDo you want to have more time to spend with your family or friends? Do you want to reduce your frustration and anxiety levels when you can’t find things? Will being more organized improve your relationships? Will you save money on past due and interest charges and improve your credit rating? Whatever the reason, write them down and keep the list in a conspicuous place until the task is completed. It will be a constant reminder to you.

Tackle one room at a time

Rather than running around the house picking up clutter, pick the one room that causes you the most grief. Start on that room. Be realistic about how much you can give to the task at one time. With every drawer you organize, with every pile you make disappear or with any space you open up give yourself a pat on the back and realize the step you have taken towards an organized and clutter free pace.

Give, store or sell?

There are so many ways to rid yourself of the items you are not going to keep. Family members may want some of the items as a keepsake. Any items that are in good working order or aren’t worn could be sold in a consignment shop or on line. Many charities would love to receive your gently used items to restock their shelves after the holidays.

Get any help you need

A lot of the clients that ClutterBGone has worked with in the past could not have done it alone and there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Enlist the help of friends or family if you feel you just can’t get it done yourself. You can also hire a professional organizing service like ClutterBGone. We can get you organized in no time with our highly skilled team just like we have with hundreds of satisfied clients in the GTA.

So, if you have resolved to get organized in 2019, good for you! Keep these tips in mind. And if you need professional help to get organized just contact us here to get the ball rolling. We love what we do!

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.

When You Should Hire A Professional Organizer

Hire a professional organizer

Does your hall closet look like a four-season disaster? Does your bedroom look nothing like a place you would want to sleep in? Do you spend too much time, and get too frustrated, looking for items? Do you just not have the time to get organized yourself?

It sounds like you may be needing a professional organizer to get your home organized and clutter free. Many of our clients never thought they would be hiring the services of a professional organizer, but our testimonials speak for themselves.

Here are some of the reasons why ClutterBGone has been hired to help many clients in the GTA.

You don’t know where to start:

Organizing and decluttering a whole home can be a daunting task. Professional organizers are trained to hone-in on the areas that give you the most trouble and take it from there. We also learn how you operate in an area and organize it with that in mind. Our team can tackle an entire home in no time.

Paper piles

Not everyone has an act for organizing paper. hire a professional organizerBeing disorganized in your home office can cost you money with late fees applied because of lost bills. After a while your credit score can take a hit and that can cost quite a bit when you are refinancing a home or loan. ClutterBGone has organized small and large offices and we have staff that specialize in paper.

Improve your mental health

It’s no secret that disorganized people live in a state of anxiety. Some even suffer from depression. All that clutter can weigh you down. Once you are organized and clutter free you will feel like a load has been lifted off your shoulders. You will want to use the rooms that have not been used in a quite a while. You will also want to have company over and entertain.

Find things again

Do you have a closet full of clothes but can’t find anything to wear? Does it take you forever to find your gloves or scarf but know they’re there? Disorganized people spend more than a year of their life looking for things and this always happens at the most inopportune times. Wouldn’t you like to have some of this time back and reduce the anxiety it causes?

Maybe you eat out more than you want to because of a cluttered kitchen. Perhaps you’re paying for the storage of items you no longer use or need. Or, maybe you can’t get your car into the garage this winter due to the mounds of items already in there.

Whatever the reason, a professional organizer can get you organized and eliminate your clutter in no time. Contact ClutterBGone here to see how we can help you.

 

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.

Where to Start When Organizing Your Home

organizing your home

When you finally decide to start organizing your home the first question that comes up is “where do I start?” Is there a certain order to follow? Do we start with the largest rooms? The most used? The most cluttered? Unfortunately, it all depends on who you speak to. Each professional organizer will have a different viewpoint. It also depends on you and the resources you have available. How much time do you have to devote to this? Do you have anybody to assist you? Will you be hiring a professional organizer?

Here is where we at ClutterBGone would begin the process of organizing your home.

Which room gives you the most grief?

We always ask our clients which room they would like to gain control of the most. organize your homeIt’s easy to say the whole house but there is one room that is causing you the most grief. One room that is resulting in more misplaced items, more lost productivity, one room that became a drop zone, maybe even one room that looks the worse than the others.

How much time can be dedicated to the task?

Each room you work on will require a much different amount of time. Kitchens will often be the most cluttered room but can be organized rather quickly because we are working in a smaller area with many of the same items such as dishes, spices and the likes. Bedrooms on the other hand can take a lot more time. ClutterBGone receives a lot of requests to organize bedrooms, and bedroom closets in particular. Each item must be looked at to make a decision on whether to keep, donate or toss. Then, it all has to go back in a way that is organized, with a system that works for you.

Do you have the space for storage?

organize your homeOnce the organizing process starts you are going to have items that you want or need to keep but rarely use. These items will need to be stored away. Do you have the space for the storage of items? Do you have the materials required to store items like shelving or containers? The area that you use for storing unused items must also be organized in a way that makes it easy to find and retrieve items.

Slow and steady wins the race

All that clutter wasn’t created overnight so it’s going to take some time to gain control of your room and home. Keep the end goal in mind and recognize the small victories as they occur, like an organized drawer or a cleared surface. Dedicate the time that is needed. Enlist the help of family or friends or a professional organizer to help with the task.

Overcoming clutter and getting organized again will take some time and dedication on your part but the results will wow you with a transformed living space and a feeling of accomplishment on your part. ClutterBGone has seen this time and time again.

If you are about to start the decluttering process to get your home organized give ClutterBGone a call at 647-642-5669 or click here. We can help you decide where to start and have your home organized in no time.

 

 

How Does A Person Become A Hoarder?

becoming a hoarder

We hear a lot about hoarding these days especially with all the TV shows surrounding the now popular term. At ClutterBGone we get asked a lot why people hoard and how they become a hoarder. I thought we would take this opportunity to answer some of the questions we get asked.

What exactly is hoarding?

Hoarding was a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) however it’s now being studied as a mental health category on its own. Recent statistics estimate that one in four people with OCD are also hoarders. With these numbers more and more people are coming forward to open up about how hoarding is affecting all aspects of their lives.

What are the symptoms of hoarding?

There are many symptoms of hoarding, some of which apply to clutter in general.becoming a hoarder

Hoarders tend to live in cluttered spaces and have an inability to rid themselves of pretty much anything. You’ll see stacks and piles of everything from reading material to clothes scattered everywhere. A hoarder’s idea of cleaning up is to move a pile of something to a new spot without discarding anything. People with hoarding tendencies are more often than not procrastinators and have minimal social lives.

How can I help someone I know that is a hoarder?

Before attempting to assist anyone with hoarding tendencies you will need to educate yourself about hoarding. Hoarding may not make sense to you, but it’s a real mental heath issue and needs to be treated as such. Never remove any belongings of a hoarder. This can cause great emotional distress and could threaten your relationship with this loved one. You ultimately will lose their trust, this is something that is very important if you have any hope of helping the individual.  Instead, see if they would like some assistance in organizing their belongings or better yet, help them find professional treatment.

What is the difference between hoarding and just plain clutter?

It may seem that there is a fine line between hoarding and clutter however when assessed properly you can understand the difference greatly. Hoarding falls under a category of mental health all on its own whereas clutter is actually a matter of sorting, purging and organizing. We all live with clutter at some point and can get through it ourselves or with professional help like ClutterBGone, but hoarders cannot get it done on their own at all. Think of it like this, having a messy home versus living in a home where you’ve lost most functionality.

I hope we have answered some of the questions we get asked quite a bit about hoarding. If you have any more that you need answered, or if you need any assistance in getting your clutter under control, just reach out to us here.