Posts

Stay Organized Through The Holidays

Organized holidays

 

With the end of the year upon us it is easy to let things get into a disorganized state. The holidays are hectic with family and friends coming and going, parties to attend and the many other things that capture our attention at this time of the year. Or maybe you are more like me and like to just put your feet up and relax during this time. It is so easy to find yourself a little more disorganized at this time of the year so here are a few things that will take just minutes but will save you a lot of time later.

New gifts of clothing

We all get new pieces of clothing at Christmas (whether they come from Santa or from yourself) but don’t put them away until you have discarded something for every new piece coming in. Remember my one in, one out rule? Following this simple rule will ensure you don’t have a disorganized drawer or closet later in the new year.

New toys for the kids

Same rule applies to the kids toys. If you didn’t have time to go through their toys ahead of Christmas, then do so before putting the new toys away. Discard the damaged, broken toys and set aside the toys they no longer play with or are too old for. Donation sites would love to have these in the new year as their shelves will be bare now too.

Be charitable after Christmas as well as before

Charities often look for donations after Christmas when their shelves have been depleted just like the retail stores. They would love to have your clothing, your kids toys and the food bank will need anything you didn’t use over the holidays – unopened of course and non perishable. Be charitable and stay organized.

All of us at ClutterBGone hope you had a great Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year! If you need help getting organized in the new year or if you just require a little tune up you can reach us here.

5 Questions You Should Ask A Professional Organizer

I just got back from a Professional Organizing conference and I can tell you this business is booming! There was so much more that we learned. With most families having dual incomes there seems to be more money to spend on things you don’t want or like to do yourself. This saves you time to do the things you really want to do. Also, many families are now downsizing to smaller homes as they get ready to retire and don’t have the knowledge or ability to downsize themselves, and don’t want to take things with them that they know they will not need. Lastly, many seniors are transitioning from their own homes to seniors’ residences or living with family and again need help with the move. As this business grows so too do the companies and individuals that provide the service. I really want to work with informed clients so I put together this list of questions that you should ask any Professional Organizer that you are thinking of hiring.

What are your qualifications?

Here in Canada there is a professional organization 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 are trained and certified in organizing and downsizing techniques and have access to the latest trends and organizing items.

Do you have insurance?

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

Pricing

Make sure you have a complete understanding of what you are being charged and for what services. An hourly or a job rate can vary but the least expensive quote may not be the best. 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 will keep you updated on any changes.

How long have you been doing this?

I recently spoke to someone whose main occupation was that of a cleaning lady and she came upon an opportunity to help a client downsize. She called looking for tips on how to help someone downsize (I did not give her any!). It was obvious she had never done this before and after I got off the phone I remember thinking how this potential client may be feeling after the job is done. Like any other business it is difficult to get started and to get some experience under your belt, but if you have a big job that needs to be done ensure that whoever does it is experienced.

Do you have references?

You would be amazed at the number of people that are embarrassed to ask for references. Get three and call one or two. Be sure to ask them at the end if they would hire them again if required and if not, why not?

So those are the must ask questions when you are looking for a Professional Organizer to help with your project. Just like ClutterBGone, ensure they are certified, insured and experienced and have references to back it up. Contact us when you are ready to begin your project in the GTA. We are ready for your questions!

How To Stay Organized Over The Holidays

Organize during the holidays

Well, here we are just over a month before the holiday season. I know! Where did the time go? With shopping, parties, entertaining, wrapping and everything else you need to do (besides your regular work and home life) this time of year makes it difficult even impossible at times, to stay organized through the holidays period. Here are a few tips to help keep you organized and hopefully a little calmer during the holidays.

Holiday Shopping

I know a lot of you put off the holiday shopping until the last minute but try to set some time aside to get it done earlier. With all the stress that the holidays already put on you why add to it with last minute shopping? Put it in your calendar and treat it like an appointment – no changes.

Arrange a babysitter if need be or if you’re able to book an afternoon off work, even better. The shopping malls get crazy with each passing day, as you know. Last minute shopping is the perfect recipe for stress. Leaving shopping to the last minute almost guarantees that you are buying something that may end up as clutter in somebody’s home.

Many malls are now offering valet parking service for a small fee. The money goes to charity and what better way to start a nerve racking adventure than being able to pull up to the front of the mall and have your car parking looked after.

Gift Wrapping

If you haven’t already, gather all of your wrapping supplies and keep them in one place. Organize during the holidaysMake a list of what you are short of and get out to buy what you need before the selection is minimal in the stores. I created a wrapping station several years ago with all of the wrapping essentials for all occasions stored there. Everyone knows where it is and it saves time running around looking for the paper, tape, bows and everything else.

Planning The Feast

Holidays to me are all about the meal with family and friends. Sure, the gifts can be nice but there is nothing like the laughs and conversations you have around the dinner table. Make a list now of everything that you will need for dinner. Order the turkey, the ham or whatever you cook now to celebrate to ensure you have the size you need.

If wine is on your list you can expect crowds at the stores so get out there early while your favorite is still in stock and avoid the long line-ups. Don’t forget the extras like the cranberry sauce and rolls. Oh, I’m getting hungry already!

Make Room For New Gifts

Now is the time to go through the toys and your clothes and pare down what is no longer usable, appropriate of just doesn’t fit any longer.

You know family is going to spoil the kids with a lot of gifts so make room now and reduce the stress of trying to make everything fit into the same space later. Have the kids involved. It will build their excitement leading up to the big day.

The Art Of Gift Giving

I’m sure you have already given plenty of thought to what you’re going to purchase for your loved ones. Many of us anguish and plead for hints or ideas trying to give that special gift.

My children are all a bit older now so one year we purchased charity items for people in need in third world countries on behalf of each child as part of their gifts that year. School supplies for a school in need, goats for a family that would produce milk, things of that nature. They were touched by it and it got them to thinking of what the holidays are all about.

Many gifts over the holidays are returned or even worse, not used at all and end up adding to the clutter that people already have. When thinking of charities there are a few websites that track how much of your dollars actually make it where the funds are really needed. When in doubt gift cards are always appreciated and with the new consumer laws most will not have an expiry date.

The holidays can be a very stressful time for most of us but with a little bit of planning and home organization we can reduce the stress and stay organized during this time.

To learn more about how us professional home organizers in Toronto can get you ready for the holiday season there is still time. Contact us here to see how we can help. We even offer home holiday decorating services!

Organizing With Multi Generational Families

organizing with multi generation families

With today’s high cost of living and skyrocketing house prices there are more and more families now living with more than 2 generations in the home. An in law suite is best but not everyone can afford the cost or space of separate living quarters. If this includes you and your family there are a number of things you can do to keep your home better organized.

When they first move in

Your home will have to have the room to accommodate the arrival of more members. organize with multi generation familiesOnce they have settled in arrange a weekend when you can all perform a purge to create as much space as possible. This gives all of you an opportunity to rid yourselves of items you no longer use and to create the space you’re going to require. You may be surprised to see the bonding that can take place during this time as well.

Acceptance

What may be important to you may not be to others and vice versa. Accept the fact that some belongings will be kept that you may not agree with but define the space that is allotted to everyone for storage. Let them be the final judge of what they keep.

Space required for new items

If you have Mom and Dad staying with you, you’re going to need increased space for medicine. Typically, older people require more medicine which always needs to be kept out of reach of any children in the home.organize with multi generation families

In the kitchen, be prepared to share the fridge and cupboards for different foods that they like or require for dietary needs. Will you assign a shelf in the fridge or cupboard for their special needs? Don’t forget about the important papers that come with them. Wills, power of attorney’s, and other important papers need a space of their own too.

Training

Now that everything is in and put away let everyone know what is expected of them to keep things clutter free. The more people living in the home the more opportunity there will be for the creation of clutter. Everyone has to take a role in maintenance to remain organized and clutter free.

Call an expert

Sometimes calling in an expert for a little help gets the ball rolling a little easier and can keep feelings in check. Contact ClutterBGone if you need help in getting things organized with a multi generational family.

6 Similarities Between Swedish Death Cleaning and ClutterBGone

Swedish death cleanse

You probably see the title of this blog and think what can this be all about? Interestingly enough Swedish Death Cleaning is actually the newest trend in downsizing and organizing. A new book by Swedish author Margareta Magnusson entitled The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning may be worth a read.

This new book centers on the concept of de-cluttering before you die so you don’t leave an unorganized, cluttered mess to your survivors. This is something we at ClutterBGone preach to our clients in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area all the time as well so I thought I would see what other similarities we shared with this new book.

1. Don’t be a burden

Your belongings are yours and your family most likely will not want the vast majority of them. Swedish death cleanseMore so if they are left in a cluttered mess. Whether it is clothing, furniture or dishes, styles change and tastes are different. If you are saving items just to pass them on after you are gone then you are saving them for the wrong reason.

2. Will I be happier if I save this?

The author asks this question and if the answer is not an emphatic yes then it is probably time to let it go. If a family member doesn’t want it now, perhaps you could sell it, donate it or recycle it. We challenge our clients in the same way. If you don’t absolutely love it, then leave it.

3. Don’t start with sentimental items

Typically if you start the de-cluttering process with photos or other personal items you are going to get slowed down with memories and the whole project could get slowed down or even put off. Start with clothing, books or in the kitchen and save the sentimental items for the end of the project. A great idea, and one that we follow.

4. The suggested items to downsize

Like us, the author suggests areas that are easy to become cluttered and unorganized. We have been helping clients for many years now and know what to look for even before we get into your home.

5. Once you are done establish a maintenance program

At ClutterBGone we never leave a clients home without ensuring that we have set them up with a system to keep things in place and clutter free. Recently we completed a large home organizing project in Aurora when we unpacked and organized a client’s new home with everything in place and super efficient. We also have maintenance packages available for those that need it.

6. Think about your impending death

This can be a sensitive issue and no one really wants to think about this. But, you do want to think about the impact your clutter will have on your loved ones after you are gone. The earlier you start the process, the better. It’s a lot to put on your children and other family members when you pass on.Swedish death cleanse

This summer we completed a home de-cluttering project in Unionville where siblings were left with their parents’ home and 60 years full of memories. Wanting to sell the home quickly it needed to be seriously decluttered, keeping the valuable items and then prepared for sale.

With a team of 3 professionally trained organizers we sorted every single item in that house, all three floors, including a full crawl space and garage, pulling many items for auction, for family, recycle, toxic waste, trash etcetera. A lot of work completed in 11 days and three full 20-yard waste bins! Via auction our clients came out with almost $10,000 from the auctioned items that they were initially going to dump in the bin!

All in all there are quite a few similarities between the Swedish Death Cleaning and the de-cluttering and organizing services offered by ClutterBGone. Whether you need home decluttering and organizing in Newmarket, Aurora, Thornhill, Richmond Hill or any other town or city in the Greater Toronto Area we’d love to liberate you of that burden.

We can help you too. We just don’t have a scary name for it.

 

 

7 Tips For Keeping a Small Space Organized

organized condo

My last trip into downtown Toronto opened my eyes to the number of condos going up in the city (and in many others) and the small spaces that we are now living in. Whether you have downsized into a condo for ease of upkeep or whether you choose to live in a condo to be close to work or a downtown area, it can be tricky to keep a small space organized. Here is a list of tips to help you do just that.

Floor to ceiling

organized condoUtilize all the space you have including your vertical space. Nine foot ceilings (or higher) allow for you to store above cabinets and furniture. Don’t forget the space above your doorways – great for shelving!

Use your imagination

Sliding drawers under beds, storage boxes under furniture, baskets over cabinets can all be incorporated into your storage plans. ClutterBGone has shared many of our ideas that we have gained over the years with many clients living in small spaces.

Offsite storage

We don’t often suggest this but sometimes there are items you just cant part with for a variety of reasons and you just don’t have the space for them in your living space. Offsite storage companies have become increasingly popular for just this reason, especially if your unit does not come with a storage locker.

Prioritize what you need

This is tough and this is where a Professional Organizer really comes in handy. organized condoYou need to really make tough decisions on what is needed and what is nice to have. What do you really have space for? When is the last time you used it or wore it? Prioritizing and making decisions will be the toughest part of the downsizing and organizing process. We have the expertise to make the downsizing process much easier.

Store it where you use it

One of the processes that we at ClutterBGone use is to determine how you operate in your space. Are you left handed or right handed? Do you cook a lot? Is everything you need within reach? We ensure that what you need and use daily is stored for easy retrieval and access.

Keep it tidy

Take 5 minutes a day, whatever time best works for you, and use this time to tidy up and put things away. It is so easy and it takes so little time for things to get out of hand and before you know it you’re clutter has the best of you.

Rethink that purchase

No matter what it is I always walk away from a purchase to rethink it. Do I love it? Do I really need it? What will go out to replace it when I get home? As yourself these questions to save clutter and quite possibly a few dollars.

Living in a smaller space can be a challenge for many of you. Get organized and control your chaos!

5 Clever Steps To Downsize & Ease Your Mind

downsize

Downsizing is more than just a term to throw around for liberating yourself of items when you no longer have enough space. Downsizing is essential to most of us at some point in our lives. Whether you’re moving yourselves into smaller quarters due to aging or moving closer to the city where house prices are higher and therefore you get less for your money, we are all going to downsize at some point.

Have you seen those reality shows where people try to move into the smallest homes they can find? Do you wonder how they do that? Here are some guidelines that will assist you when the time comes for you to downsize.

Do I really need that?

That is the first question to ask yourself. The fact that you need to ask the question is telling you something. Take a good look around and make a list of everything that you just can’t live without. Now look at what’s left and ask yourself that same question.

If you have not used an item for over a year chances are you really don’t need it. downsizeHow about that chair that you “inherited” from a family member? Saving it for the kids? They are not likely going to want it either, so why not donate it to someone who can truly appreciate it now? Be practical knowing that space may be at a premium for you.

What about those duplicates?

Again, make a list. Are you moving in with someone? What do they have that you already have and vice versa? Go over this list before the move and decide what is coming with you, as good intentions tend to fly out the window after you have settled in. How about your dishes? Have duplicates there? Everyday dishes, “good” dishes, dishes packed away somewhere? When is the last time you entertained for a large gathering? Do you need enough wine and beer glasses for a sorority party or is rental an option? It may be time to pare them down.

Donate, gift or cash?

A lot of items that you no longer need can be used by many charities to help others in need. You can check on line for charities in your area. Many will have a free pick up service and will make good use of your items.

Your children may have their eye on a special item that you have or perhaps they could use an extra chair or table now. downsizeGive some thought to gifting to them now rather than later so you can see them enjoying your items. You can always sell what you no longer require as well. You worked hard to downsize so why not sell the items and use the cash for something you have always wanted? Go ahead, treat yourself.

Have the tools ready

When moving into smaller quarters you will have to think like a professional organizer. Containerize when you can and use clear plastic containers so you can easily see what is stored inside. Lazy Susan’s are great to take advantage of minimal cupboard space and double up your storage in your closets with extra closet rods.

Maintenance is key

Once you have completed the task of downsizing you will wonder how you lived with everything you did. Remember the number one rule – one in = one out. Regardless of what it is but especially with clothing, when one comes in select a similar item to go out. Schedule periodic times to take stock of what you have and what you can do without.

To learn more about how ClutterBGone can assist you with your downsizing dilemmas, simply contact us here. We would love to have a chat.

When Is Virtual Organizing Right For You?

virtual organizing services GTA

Virtual organizing is a new platform to assist certain clients in getting their space(s) organized. It may not be for everybody but how do you tell if it is right for you?

You’re self-motivated

You need to be self-motivated in order to take advantage of virtual organizing. Together we will set a goal and you can visualize the results and ensure you have what it takes to work independently to complete the tasks given to you. You are a do it yourself person.

You don’t need to be handy but you do need to be able to roll up your sleeves and get things done. We are there to help by giving you the guidance you need but with virtual organizing you are doing the physical work.

You are a busy individual

We all lead busy lives in this day and age, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time required to have a team come into your home to work side by side with you.
virtual organizingVirtual organizing allows you to carve out the time you need when you have it. We’re available when you are for guidance and advice so you’re working on your own schedule.

You don’t want people coming into your home

People have many reasons for not wanting people coming into their home. Some clients are a bit reclusive. Others may have a sick family member with them and feel having people coming into the home could be intrusive. We understand and are available to help you get organized through this new service we offer.

You live in a rather rural area

As much as ClutterBGone would like to be everywhere, we just can’t – until now. virtual organizing servicesVirtual organizing allows for anybody to take advantage of our professional service. We have been servicing the GTA with our trained, insured team and can now offer our virtual organizing services to anybody at anytime, anywhere.

So, when is virtual organizing right for you? The answer is right now. If any of the characteristics above stopped you from hiring ClutterBGone in the past, those obstacles are now removed with virtual organizing. Contact us today to get started on organizing your home.

How Do You Know It’s Time To Hire A Professional Organizer?

hire a professional organizer

Your lives are constantly busy with work and family. It seems life just keeps getting busier with no time for a lot of home maintenance or chores. You hire a gardener to tend to the gardens. You hire a cleaning service to clean the house. When do you know it’s time to hire a professional organizer?

Many people think of professional organizers for the chronically disorganized or something for people with sever hoarding tendencies. We do get calls for that but most of our calls come from busy professionals like you who need a hand to tackle problem areas or your whole home. So how do you know when it’s time to call in the pro’s?

You really have no time to spare

Between your career, your personal life, your time spent with your family and the many other things that tie up your life you just don’t have time to get everything done. hire a professional organizerThings have piled up and your life and home have become disorganized to the point where you know you can’t do it yourself. That is where we come in.

You feel isolated

Disorganization and clutter can lead to a reduced social life. You become embarrassed to have family or friends over for fear of what they may think. ClutterBGone has helped many clients regain control of their clutter and have seen their social life, and confidence, improve dramatically.

It’s becoming a safety hazard

We have had many clients reach out to us for their own home or on behalf of their parents because the clutter has become a safety issue. Too much clutter can be a trip or a fire hazard.

You spend too much time looking for things

This is a common complaint. According to Newsweek the average person spends 55 minutes a day looking for things they own but can’t find. I don’t know about you but I can think of a lot of things I would rather do with that time. Let us help you get some of your time back.

Are you feeling depressed?

Researchers at UCLA found that there is a definite link between clutter and depression. The more stuff we have the more stress women feel. hire a professional organizerFunny that it doesn’t hold true for men. Even families that want to reduce clutter often are emotionally paralyzed when it comes to sorting and pairing down objects. You either can’t break sentimental attachments to objects or believe your things have some hidden monetary value. At ClutterBGone we bring an impartial viewpoint to help you make those decisions and rid you of that stress.

If you recognize any of these signs then perhaps it’s time to bring in the reinforcements to get your home organized and clutter free. We’re easy to reach just click here.

8 Things To Get Rid Of To Reduce Clutter And Get Organized

Organizing in the GTA

You don’t have to be a professional organizer to have your home looking organized and neat. There are many items that you can clear out on your own to reduce clutter and get a little better organized. Here are some of the easier things you can address.

Hangers

Those thin metal hangers you get from the dry cleaners will leave indentations in your clothes and leave an unorganized look in your closet. Make a small investment in matching slimline, wooden or plastic hangers and see how organized your closet will look. Uniformity is key.

Clothing

While you’re in the closet take a hard look at what you wear and what you don’t. Reduce clutter
If you follow our one in, one out rule after you have downsized your closet you wont have an unorganized mess in there anymore.

Shoes

When was the last time you went through your shoes to eliminate the ones you don’t wear anymore or are worn, uncomfortable or damaged? We like the variety of shoes but once they are worn or become ill fitting it is time to go.

Samples

Samples are so easy to accumulate whether its make-up, food or whatever you name it. If you haven’t used it right after you received it you probably never will. Clear out your drawers and fridges with these samples and make more room.

Medicine

This is an important one. Reduce clutter
Many of you keep medicine that is out of date or no longer required. Not only does it make your medicine storage area look messy but also it can be a danger if you take the wrong medication in error.

The Refrigerator

How often do you open your fridge door and shudder at the thought of what is in there? When was the last time you went through it to discard all the old left overs and expired food? Do this on a regular basis and see how organized your fridge will look.

Cookbooks

Cookbooks always take up a lot of valued space in the kitchen but are seldom used. Get a few good apps on your phone or tablet and ditch the cookbooks.

Paint

Styles and colours change so if you have been hanging onto old gallons of paint it may be time to clear it out. Dispose of it according to your local bylaws or if you have enough, there are several charities that may take it.

These are just a few of the items that you can address to make your home less cluttered looking and more organized. We know all the tips and systems to help you get your entire home or just a room organized and de cluttered. Contact us here to learn more.