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Organize for Your Winter Vacation

 

 

organize for travel

With winter here, and more of it ahead of us than behind us, I’ll bet quite a few of you are lucky enough to get away to a sunny destination. Travelling can be stressful enough with the line ups, security checks, cramped airline seats and all that goes with it. Reduce that stress by being organized before you leave.

Make a list

I drive my husband crazy with my lists and I always make a list of what to bring when we travel. This serves two purposes. organize for travelIt ensures that I bring everything I need (and no more) and stops me from having to purchase items I don’t need when I get to my destination.

Use packing aids

There are so many items that can help you take advantage of the space inside of your suitcase. I own a couple of those small packing cubes where I put socks and smaller items. In a pinch plastic grocery bags will protect your shoes. And here’s a tip – place all your liquids like shampoo and sun screen in zip lock bags. The last thing you need is these liquids spilling out during your trip. I use an undergarment bag to keep everything in great shape during arrival and it makes it so much easier to unpack at my destination.

Unpack right away

I know you want to get your vacation underway as soon as possible but take the few minutes upon arrival to unpack and get everything put away. You will feel more at home and won’t look like a wrinkled mess when you go out for dinner.

Use your electronic devices for stress free travel

I love those apps that allow me to store my boarding passes on my phone. organize for travelI no longer have to juggle things while in line to retrieve my boarding pass. You can also use your phone or other electronic devices to access the airlines entertainment system on board. Store your books on your Kobo or similar device to reduce space and weight on your trip. There are many apps as well that will track your flight to let you know when there are delays or changes to your trip.

Travel tips

When I travel, I bring a few disinfectant wipes with me to wipe down the trays, arm chairs and buttons. I know the airlines don’t do a great job at this. Bring a few snacks with you so you aren’t purchasing expensive food items on board that you normally wouldn’t eat.

Travelling can be a very stressful time but being organized and ready can take a lot of stress out of it. If you are one of the lucky ones to get away this winter have a great time and follow some of these organizing tips to make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable.

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.

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.

A Guide To Helping Your Parents Downsize

Seniors downsizing

One of my family members is a senior who is currently going through the process of downsizing. It got me to thinking that most of us will have to address this at some time in our lives with a loved one.

Some of our parents are not going to be able to stay in the larger family home and are going to need help in downsizing to a smaller dwelling be it a smaller home, a condo or even a retirement residence. If you find yourself in the position of having to assist a senior in downsizing here are a few things to keep in mind when doing so.

Emotions

The move and the preparations that are required are going to be an emotional time for both you and your parents. seniors downsizingExpect some tears, some smiles and maybe even some arguments. Keep your feelings in check and remember that it’s your parents that are being uprooted and moved leaving behind a lot of memories. Remember how you felt when your parents moved when you were young and the feelings you had? Most important is do not be judgemental. Perhaps a third party will be required to help with the process

Plan the new space

You will know the approximate size of the new rooms so sit down with your parents and decide what pieces of furniture are just not going to fit into the new living quarters. Maybe now is a good time to help out a child or a grandchild that could use a piece of furniture that is not going to fit into the new place. Explain that the piece will still get good use and will provide memories of them to the new owner. Maybe a sale would be in order with the money from the sale being used for something special that they want or need.

Precious memories

Decorative items are really the ones that make the place feel like home. Ensure that you know which are most important and pack them carefully. Once in the new place have them hung or displayed in a place for all to see to reduce the anxiety of the move. These memories will bring a sense of home and calm to them.

Now is the time to purge

I don’t know if it’s an age thing or not but many elderly people I’ve met tend to hang on to things and don’t want to let go. downsizing seniorsNow is a great time to go through the closets and drawers and toss anything that is worn to the point it is no longer wearable or donate anything that just doesn’t fit anymore.

As you go through the process remember the three piles – toss, donate and sell. Don’t be judgemental, be patient and let them know that there are people that could use the things they don’t need or don’t have the space for anymore. And remember – we are all going to be there at some point so compassion and empathy now will probably come back around later.

ClutterBGone has assisted countless GTA families with this process. We’re non-judgemental in our approach, compassionate and caring. If you need assistance with helping a loved one downsize just call (905-642-5669) or click here to contact us.

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.

How To Organize Your Life After The Loss Of A Loved One

organize after a death

As a professional organizer in the greater Toronto area, people who have experienced the loss of a loved one have hired us to help declutter and organize their homes. These are usually the hardest of jobs to work on because of the remembrances that constantly come up for our clients. Clearing out items after the death of a loved one can be a true challenge.

These few tips below will give you some guidance to get organized and take care of yourself at the same time.

Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting

Far from it. Your loved one will always be in your heart, not in the items that are left behind. Start the process only after you are ready. Know that you are not dishonouring the memory as you process through the items left behind.

Go at your own speed

Not everyone is ready to move on at the same time and at the same speed. We recognize this and plan accordingly when scheduling our team to work with you

How involved do you want to be?

Some of our clients want to be hands on and we encourage you to work side by side with us. Others just want to be there for decision-making only. Whatever your capabilities are we work with you at your pace and on your time.

You don’t have to keep everything

One of the challenges that we come across is the desire to keep everything as a remembrance.organize after a death There is no need to feel guilty about selling, donating or giving away anything that belongs to your loved one. Chances are you’re not going to use the items so make use of them in a way that your loved one would have approved. Our trained staff at ClutterBGone is sensitive to the difficult times you are going through and the difficult decisions that you are going to make. We can guide you along the way with trusted charities and resources to make your decision making easier.

Things are really only “things”

The items you accumulate during your life are really only important to you. We don’t expect everyone to have the same interests or hobbies so assigning a value, either monetarily or emotionally, to an item can restrict your ability to declutter.

Options for remembering

ClutterBGone has helped many clients remember their loved ones with memory boxes, special photo albums and other ways of keeping their loved ones in plain sight as opposed to hidden away in a box in the basement. Let us help you in the same way.

Where do you want items to go that are not needed?

Do you or your loved one have a favourite charity you wish to support? clutter and downsizingDo you have certain items you would like to see go to family? ClutterBGone is partnered with many charities and other resources and can arrange for disposition through sale, auction, donation or otherwise. Whatever works best for you. We also have experience in tagging items to be kept for, or given to, family members.

We will all experience the loss of a loved one in our lives. If you or your family don’t want to organize or declutter after the loss of a loved one, ClutterBGone has done so for many other families and are available to assist yours. Just contact us here to start the process.

Important Questions You Should Ask a Professional Organizer

questions to ask an organizer

If you are looking to hire a Professional Organizer in Toronto, there are critical questions you should be asking. Just as in real estate, there are professional organizers that are in this industry full time and then, as in most industries there are some people who claim to be professional organizers that work on a part time basis without much if any training or experience, looking to make a quick buck.

At ClutterBGone we believe informed and knowledgeable clients are the best clients, so here are the top questions you should ask a Professional Organizer before you hire one.

  1. Are you an active member of the POC?

    Here in Canada there is an association for professional organizers called the POC – Professional Organizers of Canada. Members are bound by their code of ethics to ensure that you receive trusted, confidential and committed service. We at ClutterBGone are fully trained in organizing, decluttering and downsizing services.

  2. What is your area of expertise?

    Some Professional Organizers specialize in residential organizing, some strictly working with businesses and some specialize in clients with ADHD. Select the one that most closely matches your requirements and that you feel a connection with.

  3. Do you have paid up professional liability insurance?

    Much like movers, Professional Organizers should carry their own liability insurance to cover accidents or damage to your property however caused. Of course, we’re all careful in our work but you never know when an accident can happen and if it does you want to ensure that you are covered. After all, it’s your home we’re coming in to.

  4. What are your fees?

    Price should never be the decision-making factor in your choice of a Professional Organizer. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” rings very true in this industry. An hourly rate may be less than another however the lower charging organizer may work a lot slower and have less experience ending up costing you more in the long run. questions to ask an organizer

    An hourly or a job rate can vary but the least expensive quote may not be the best. Also make sure you have a complete understanding of what you are being charged and for what services. How many people are working on the project? How many hours are estimated to complete the project? What is your protection if the estimate far exceeds the projected time or cost? An experienced Professional Organizer can be fairly accurate in their estimate and very transparent when it comes to all costs associated with your project and will keep you updated on any changes.

  5. How long have you been doing this?

    Like any other business it’s difficult to get started and to get experience under your belt but if you have a big job that affects the running of your home don’t you want to ensure that whoever does it is experienced and that the job is done right the first time? Ask how many client projects a Professional Organizer has completed in the last 3 years? At ClutterBGone we have over 300 projects completed with over 300 super excited and happy clients!

  6. Who is responsible for supplies?

    Some professional organizers have access to all the latest storage items and others will expect you to purchase and get what you need. This may not be the most practical for you as your life is busy and you may not have the time to shop around for items. questions to ask an organizer

    At ClutterBGone we have a large inventory of organizing products so most of the time there is no need for you to worry about shopping for items unless you truly enjoy that. We bring what we may need and pass on any industry discounts to you on many of the products we use. Because we keep a good inventory on hand we rarely need to charge our clients for shopping or sourcing fees where other organizers may need to.

  7. How many people will be coming into my home?

    Know before hand who is coming into your home and ensure that the cost of these people is in your quote. We employ only trained professionals and send you a photo of all who will be entering your home for your peace of mind.

  8. Do you take photos or videos?

    Privacy is very important to us and only after you sign a release will we take any pictures or videos.

  9. What will I do during this process?

    As much or as little as you wish. At ClutterBGone we encourage our clients to work with us but some clients just want to be there for direction and decision making and that’s absolutely fine with us. We will involve you as much or as little as you wish.

  10. Do you have references?

You would be amazed at the number of people that are embarrassed to ask for references. questions to ask an organizerDue to the confidential nature of our business we can’t always provide you with client’s names and contact information. However, we can direct you to HomeStars.ca as well as other client centered review sites where you can read first hand our client’s experiences with us.

So those are the must ask questions when you are looking for a Professional Organizer to help with your project. Ensure whomever you hire is fully trained and qualified, insured and experienced and have references to back it up. ClutterBGone has been assisting clients in the GTA for many years now and we would love to assist you. Call now or contact us here to learn more about how we can change your life!

 

8 Benefits To Decluttering And Owning Less Stuff

owning less stuff

Owning less stuff can improve your relationships, your work and your quality of life. We’re all for that. Here are 8 benefits to you owning less stuff.

Having more money

Here’s the secret to having more money – spend less. We are a society of people that like to own stuff but we use much less than half of it in a year. Just ask yourself if you absolutely love something before you buy it. If not, save your money.

Having more time

The same secret can apply to time. Having less stuff gives you more time whether it is time you save cleaning or looking for things.
Many of our clients are amazed at just how much time they have found after we’ve assisted them in downsizing.

You’ll have more freedom

With having more time comes the benefit of having more freedom. Enjoy the things you like to do with family or friends or just curl up with that book you’ve been meaning to finish.

New found storage space

We recently helped a client who owned so many items that she was prepared to purchase a custom made storage system. downsizing GTAOnce we completed the project, not only did she not require the storage system but she found she had more than adequate storage space for the items she truly needed and kept. This ultimately saved her a couple thousand dollars!

Reduce your stress

Clutter causes stress. It’s a fact. Messy, cluttered homes and offices can cause us to feel anxious, claustrophobic, overwhelmed and helpless. It can also make you feel guilty and ashamed to have people over. Get rid of the clutter, you get rid of that stress!

Be an example

Your kids learn from you. downsizing GTAIf you live in a cluttered environment chances are your kids will too. Is that what you want for them? We’ve seen it in several jobs we’ve worked on. Teach your kids a valuable life lesson by showing them how to be organized in life and work.

Your home is visually appealing

There isn’t anything worse than coming home to a cluttered house with trip hazards, horizontal surfaces covered in “stuff” and piles of items on the floor seemingly without a home. It can be depressing and defeating. Own less and your home will look neat and organized reflecting on you and the way you feel.

Finding things is easier

How much time do you spend looking for things? The average person spends a full year of their life looking for things. Wouldn’t you rather spend some of that time doing something else? We can show you how.

We’ve assisted a lot of people in downsizing and decluttering resulting in getting back time, space and money as well as so many other benefits. Contact us today for your free telephone consultation!

Are You Holding On To Items For Others?

organizing services GTA

At ClutterBGone we see a lot of instances where parents are holding onto belongings for other family members. Sometimes there’s a good reason for doing so like a move is in progress or a family member is going through a life transition such as a divorce and is in between homes. But most of the time we find that you, as a parent,are holding onto items for your kids thinking they will want them eventually or when you pass.

The challenge is that you may be looking to downsize and don’t want to, nor should you take these items with you when you move. A bigger challenge is that your kids truly don’t want these items anyway, you just think (hope) they do.

Are those items really worth something?

You think your possessions are worth something and that somebody will want them but the truth is that the value may be largely sentimental or subjective.

Will your kids really want them?

These days, homes are much smaller and people are living more of a minimalist, easily transitioned life and space is at a premium. organizing services GTAStyles change too and the older, builier, larger furniture and the formal dining sets just don’t fit into today’s lifestyle. Now is a great time to separate what will be accepted and what won’t.

What should you do?

Talk to your kids now to determine what items they really want and will use. Any items you currently use can be tagged with their names on the bottom or make a list and give a copy to everyone involved to ensure your stuff goes to the right individual. We have used these methods many times in the past.

Now that you know what items are wanted and welcome by your family, you are left with a list or pile of items that are not claimed. You have many opportunities to enrich someone else’s life with these items. Donate them to a charity where they will get some use. Sell them and donate the money to a favourite charity. Or simply sell or consign them and treat yourself to something nice.

It’s OK to let it go

You’ve been hanging onto stuff for a while now. It’s OK to let them go. You’ve gotten the enjoyment and value out of them and that is all that matters. organizing services GTAAs we age we all tend to move into smaller living spaces. Don’t don’t yourself through the stress and anxiety and force yourself into crammed quarters and pay to have items moved that you just aren’t going to use anymore.

You may not always understand why others don’t value your heirlooms the way you do, but that’s OK. You have the memories and I’m sure you don’t want to burden your loved ones with items that they won’t use either.

At ClutterBGone we have assisted many clients with this same dilemma and have lots of solutions to challenging situations. Contact us here to see how we can assist you.