Posts

7 Reasons to De-Clutter & Let Go

When we talk about getting organized or de-cluttering your life, we generally speak about donating, repurposing, selling or trashing items. Today I wanted to speak to you about the reasons to let go of items, no matter how you actually do it.

Be clutter free

Many of us want that clutter free home where we can easily find things, and not be ashamed to have family and friends over. Did you know that over 1 million North Americans suffer from chronic hoarding? It is more prevalent in older people and here is a surprise – it is more common among men than it is women! Start the process now and see how much time you save and how you will love having people over.

Save time

Last time I checked, the average person spent just under one hour per day looking for items. That is the average. time managementDisorganized people are going to spend even more time looking for things. Homes have gotten bigger today than they were decades ago and therefore there is more space to keep stuff and more space to look through. There is even a tendency to fill spaces with “stuff” even when those items are not a necessity. Get that time back by reducing the items you needlessly have to sift through.

Less House Work

Does anyone enjoy housework and want more of it to do? I’m thinking not. Clutter creates more items to move when dusting and attracts more dust by itself. Clutter also attracts more clutter. Think about it. When passing a cluttered area you are more likely to set something else down when you see something already there.

More clutter, more items to move, more cleaning required. A cycle begins.

Would you like more money?

Saving-Money_1A US study a few years ago indicated that over 20% of people admitted to paying bills late because they lost the bill. Interest charges and late payment fees apply as well. Being organized will reduce these fees thus saving you money.

Non-use

My rule of thumb is if you haven’t used an item for a year you need to take a serious look at why you have it. Perhaps it was purchased with good intentions but it just never got used. Maybe you know somebody that could use it or if it has value perhaps you could sell it and recoup something. Why not turn your clutter into cash?

Did It Stop Working?

Are you seriously ever going to get around to fixing or taking an item and getting it fixed? How long has it been sitting there? Is it worth getting fixed? Come to grips with the fact that it does not work and you just are not going to get it fixed.

Support Your Local Charities

Someone else can always use the item that you are not using and there are many worthwhile charities in your area that can make use of the item to help others.

hands holding letters spelling words

Be a hero and help others by donating your unused items.

These are just several of many good reasons to pare down your belongings and reduce clutter in your home.

We at ClutterBGone have helped many clients make the tough decisions and can help you too. Contact us to learn more about how we save you time and money.

Get Your Children Organized For Life

Many parents let out a sigh of relief when the kids went back to school. We love them but after a couple of months of entertaining them and being around the house so much we appreciate our kids being back in school.

Many of you thought of tackling the disorganization in their rooms while they are in school, however with work, chores, shopping and the hundreds of other things that come up in our busy days we just don’t have the time. Why not teach them to organize themselves?

Give Them Credit

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Get them involved in keeping a neat, organized room at an early age.smart kids It will get them in the habit for later in life and give you a little help in keeping the whole home neater.

Give Them Cash

One way to help them decide what to keep and what needs to go is to hold a family yard sale. Let your child decide what he or she has outgrown. All the proceeds from the sale of each child’s items goes to that child. Together you can decide what will be done with the funds. Buy new, age appropriate items, invest in an education saving account or whatever you both decide.

Charity Begins At Home

Many other families can benefit from the items that your children have outgrown. Both gently used toys and clothes are always in need in every community. charitable-kids-that-giveExplain to your children how these items will be used and take your kids with you to the donation centre encouraging them to hand over the toys to the representative at the centre.

Explain to your kids what happens to the items and how they will be used again by another family and other children in need.

Display The Memories

Shadow boxes are becoming very popular for items to be showcased to remind us of loved ones or special times in our lives.

Instead of keeping old baby clothes and items that will never be used again stored away in containers, have your child go through these items with you and select a few things that mean something special to them. Showcase them in a shadow box that can be displayed in their room or elsewhere in the house rather than piled up (probably getting damaged) on the floor or in a box, rarely to be seen.

You will be surprised at how much your kids will appreciate being able to see their treasures displayed, even later in life.

Give Them The “Atta Boys”

Praise goes a long way and we all appreciate it.atta boy Regardless of whether their standards of cleaning and organizing reach your level or not, heap on the praise for a job well done. It will act as encouragement to your kids to organize and to continue with the maintenance of staying organized. This will prevent them from just giving up at some point and returning to the way things were.

 

Lead By Example

Finally, our children are always learning and the best way to learn is by example. Don’t expect your children to stay organized if you do not. If you want their room kept neat and orderly ensure yours is too and they will work to impress you and be just like you.

Children learn adult lessons all through life and by teaching them to be neat and organized early on will help them be that way later in life. A bonus is that it will definately reduce your work around the house too!

If you need assistance with your children in getting their rooms organized we can help. Contact us here for more information.

6 Simple Tricks To Get Organized and Stay Organized

I often get asked, “How do you do it? How do you stay organized in your home?” I’m not tooting my own horn here. We all have busy lives and juggle many things throughout the day whether it is family or business. There are certain tricks and tasks that I do every day, and that we teach our clients so that they can get and stay organized too.

Flat Surfaces

One of the most important tricks is to keep all horizontal surfaces clear – especially the kitchen. It is so easy to toss something down with all the intentions in the world to come back to it. You know what happens to those intentions….they go right out the window as you get distracted with other things.

Interior designBefore you know it you have a pile or piles of “stuff” laying somewhere that it shouldn’t be. If at all possible, don’t be a “piler”.

I preach this a lot and cannot emphasize it enough. Keep all flat surfaces clear. I know you can do it!

Write It Down

I keep an agenda type book and I write everything down in there. I mean every single thing. Appointments, things to follow up on, people to call, items to purchase, places to research and more. My book is my bible.

I know a lot of you keep track of these things in your phone or tablet and there are a lot of great apps out there to help you keep track. I find there is nothing like writing it down. To me visibility, the physical aspect of writing it down and easy access to view is key. I get that with writing it down the old fashioned way.

File It Away Right Now

When a bill or any other piece of mail comes to the house (email or snail mail) it goes to the “In box”. Simple enough. In fact, I have what I call “Action Files” where paper is further designated until I get to the specific task at hand.

Maybe it needs to be paid, filed, there’s someone I need to contact or something I need to research. I have separate action folders on my desk for each category and the paper goes in the particular category of action for next steps.Filing

Once the action is performed, the paper then gets filed right away or shredded if I don’t need to keep it.

Take care of it now before those few pieces of paper grow into something that will take you hours or longer to attend to.

 

Ask For Help

Sometimes we have a task to perform that is just too much for us to handle on our own for whatever reason. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness – just the opposite. Asking for help is a sign of knowing your limitations and having the courage to do something about it. At times having a partner can make the task go faster and two sets of eyes can be more productive than one.

Know Your Limits

Are you a morning person or an evening person? If you know for instance that you just aren’t that productive in the morning then don’t start something that you know you are not going to finish or give your all. Set aside the time of day when you are at your best to tackle tasks.

Make It A Routine

Things don’t take care of themselves. Staying organized requires periodic check ups. Give yourself some time each month or quarterly if you feel you are truly doing well and review your rooms for items you don’t need any longer or are broken or you haven’t used for a long time. And my most important rule is “One In, One Out”. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you bring one into the house, get one out of the house.

Staying organized is an attitude as well as a discipline and these tricks will help you get and stay organized. Contact me here and we can chat about your next project!

5 Top Reasons Why You Want To Get Organized!

This is something that I get around to asking all of my prospective clients when I meet them for the initial consultation. But it recently occurred to me to ask you – and everyone else – “Why do you want to get organized?”

There are many answers that I have received over the years and everyone does have their own specific reason(s). Here are the top 5 reasons that I have been given to date.  Check to see if your reasons made this list.

1) I’m tired of not being able to find things without sending out a search party.

looking for lost items

Sound familiar?

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 waste a lot of time and end up stressing out when we can’t quickly put our hands on something we know we have, and it always happens at the most inopportune time. Cooking? “Where is that stupid spatula?” Bill due? “I know I put it here somewhere!”

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.

2) “I miss having people over”. “I’m too embarrassed”.

I hear this one a lot.

People who are chronically 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. Your 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 over to entertain.

3) “There’s so much stuff it’s not safe”.

do you have too much stuff

Safety. Whether it is for the safety of yourself or for a loved one you want to be organized for these reasons too. Piles of “stuff” in the basement. Boxes and boxes of paper piles can light up a fire in no time flat. 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 will be a safer environment as well. This is especially important for the older ones in our lives.

4) “I need to reduce my stress and feel in control again”.

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, your relationships and your job. We all know stress is hard on the heart. We should all be doing as much as we can to reduce or eliminate stress in our lives.

5) “It’s costing me money!”

piles of tools

Got your attention? How many times have you run out to purchase a tool, greeting card or wrapping paper, a grocery item or something else at the last minute (here’s that stress thing again) because you could not find it at home? You know you have it and you know it will turn up somewhere at some point but you just can’t put your finger on it right now.

So what do you do? You go out and buy another one. Eventually you may find the original, but in the meantime you have duplicates, even quadruplicates of items. When you get organized you will not need to waste your time and money on things you already have.

So, did your reason make this list? Get organized now and save time, stress and money AND improve your lifestyle. Let me know if you have any other reasons to get organized in your home or office. We would love to hear from you!

I Felt Cheated Until I Lived With a Professional Organizer

It’s not very ofter that I have guest blogger on my site, but my husband insisted that he write a post about living with an organizer.  So, below you have it.  A husband’s point of view.

I have always thought I was a fairly neat and tidy person. Although I will admit that I am not the most organized person in the world, I didn’t really think I was disorganized. Let me tell you that living in the Toronto area and being the husband of a Professional Organizer will let you find out just how organized or disorganized you really are!

In the beginning you may be a tad annoyed with the way things seem to be organized and the need to keep it up, but eventually you become appreciative of those things that may have bothered you in the past. Let me give you a couple of examples:

Clothing organized

For a guy, how easy is it to maintain your wardrobe? You buy something new, pick up dry cleaning or put away your laundry by hanging it up or putting it in the drawers, right?

organized man clothes

Not so. I have learned that it helps if you hang your clothes according to colour and have all your shirts hanging the same way. Not only does this give you a neat appearance but it makes selecting your clothes a whole lot easier.

In and out

One in, one out rule for clothes – Originally this rule just seemed just plain silly to me. Why would you want to get rid of something just because something new came in? Well, it turns out this may just be the best advice an organizer can give you. Rather than having closets that are crammed to the point where nothing else will fit, or piled in a dresser drawer that is overflowing, I have learned that if you follow this simple rule you will always have a neat and organized clothing space with easy to find whatever you need.

Organized Kitchen

Just last week I put a frying pan away in the “wrong spot” and was “politely” reminded of where it lives. I use this as an example of why every thing needs a home. I can’t tell you the time I have wasted in the past looking for things that were in the wrong place.

organized cubby kitchen

A lot less time spent looking for things and a lot less frustration is the result of putting things back where they belong. Lesson learned.

Giving to the community

Giving back.  This is by far the most important lesson learned from living with a professional organizer. Rather than tossing out things that I no longer require I take the time to look at it and decide if it is in good enough shape to donate. There are so many organizations that can use and even depend on donations to help the less fortunate. Everything from clothing to toys to small appliances and even items of value that can be sold at charity stores or auctions can be used to help someone else.

So, yes, being married to a professional organizer can have its challenges, but it really does make life more calm, less stressful and more giving. I highly recommend it and I’m not just saying that because my wife is standing over my shoulder. Really.

Doug Ward, happy husband of a professional organizer.