Posts

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.

The Reasons You Want To Get Organized

reasons to get organized

During our intake process we ask all of our prospective clients why they want to get organized. We received a lot of different answers but I thought I would share with you the most common reasons why people want to get organized.

Can’t locate things

I’m tired of not being able to find things or spending too much time looking for them. Does this sound familiar to you? 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 spend a lot of time and end up stressing out when we cant quickly put our hands on something we know we have, and it always happens at the most inopportune time. Cooking? Where is that utensil? Bill due? I know I put it here for future reference. 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.

I would like to have company over again

How long has it been since you had company over? reasons to get organizedPeople who are 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 but 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 come over again.

Safety

Whether it’s for the safety of yourself or for a loved one you want to be organized for safety reasons too. 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 it’ll be a safer environment as well. This is especially important for the older ones in our lives.

Stress reduction

Being disorganized causes stress. reasons to get organizedAnd we know what stress does to your health. 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. We all know stress is hard on the heart and we should all be doing as much as we can to reduce or eliminate stress in our lives.

 

Save money

Who doesn’t want to save money? How many times have you run out to purchase a greeting card or wrapping paper, a grocery item or something else at the last minute (here’s that stress thing again) because you couldn’t find it at home? You know you have it and you know it’ll turn up when it isn’t needed. Get organized and you will not need to run out for that duplicate item.

So, do any of these reasons ring true for you? Get organized and save time, stress and money and improve your lifestyle. Let me know if you have any other reasons. We would love to hear from you.

Organize Your Garage For Spring

organized garage

Can you feel Spring in the air? It has been a long and brutal winter in the GTA. The calendar says spring is finally here. Normally we like to throw open the windows and get into our “spring” cleaning. Well, don’t forget the garage during this time.

Your garage has probably been neglected during the cold winter months. It now needs a good old de-cluttering and organizing just like any other area of your home.

Where did I put those backyard items?

You probably tossed a lot of items into your garage last fall and over the winter. Time to get them out, clean them up and get them ready for the mild weather.

Start with an empty canvas

Pull everything out of the garage to start fresh. garage organizingTake it all off the walls, off the shelves and even out of the rafters. Lots of dust will have accumulated over the winter and a lot more will get kicked up as you clean. Take this opportunity to wipe everything down as it comes out. Use a sweeping compound on the floor to reduce the dust that gets into the air and finds its way into the house.

Give yourself enough time

Depending on the volume of clutter, you may need more than one day. A lot of our clients don’t have the time or simply understand and acknowledge that their time is worth more. Many of our garage projects take a minimum of 6 hours and can sometimes exceed 24 hours with a team of two depending on the size of the garage and the sheer volume of items stored (dumped) inside. Remember, it’s not just tidying up, it’s creating a system of organization when it goes back in, so you can easily find those items again when they are needed.

Get it back in neat and organized

Rakes, shovels and the like should go back in securely on the wall, so they can’t fall on anything or anyone. Designate a space for sporting equipment, garden accessories and supplies and label where it goes. Once everything is up and out of your way you can be sure that your garage will stay in a clean, tidy and organized manner. Everything will be within reach and easy to put back and retrieve once you’ve invested in a system of organization for your home.

I know most of you are itching to get into your yard work and get back into the garage. Contact us here to find out how ClutterBGone can help you organize your garage in Toronto and the surrounding area. We love to organize!!

Are You Remodelling Your Kitchen?

kitchen remodelling

I recently read an article in Canada’s largest newspaper stating that an uncluttered kitchen was a homeowners remodelling goal. In fact, storage was the number one function concern for most people. The 2018 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study found that, for 75 per cent of the homeowners, decluttering counters was the No. 1 priority. That was followed by 66 per cent who wanted to put things away and 49 per cent who focused on recycling.

Respondents agreed that kitchen renos are a major and expensive undertaking: the cost for a 200-square-foot or larger kitchen averaged about $52,000 or about $32,300 for smaller kitchens. Why spend all that money just to have another disorganized kitchen?kitchen remodelling

Storage is a priority in today’s kitchen. Sixty-three per cent of those surveyed chose storage as the No. 1 function concern, followed by space planning (38 per cent), entertaining (32 per cent) and cleanliness (32 per cent).

All of this comes as no surprise to ClutterBGone as we have created space and organization in many kitchens. Let’s take a look at some of our golden kitchen rules when remodelling your kitchen.

Keep horizontal surfaces clear

If you must keep small appliances on the counter keep it to the ones that you use every day like the toaster, coffee maker, and maybe your smoothie machine. Appliances that are seldom used should be stored elsewhere. You’ll be amazed at just how neat and organized your kitchen will look with a clutter free horizontal surface.

Keep it clean

Now that the surface is clear, ensure it is kept clean with a quick wipe a few times a day. By doing this your surface will look more organized and you will end up putting things away when you clean.

Keep your daily use items within reach

Organize your kitchen so that the items you need are easily within reach of the task you are performing. kitchen remodellingIf you are cooking make sure your pots and pans are close by. Try to have your glasses stored next to the fridge. Your dishes close to the dishwasher for easy return. This will save you steps and time and will reduce the traffic chaos in your kitchen.

Keep the junk out of your junk drawer

I don’t believe in junk drawers but I do believe in having a drawer to keep miscellaneous items needed in the kitchen like pens, string and things like that. But, this drawer has to be reviewed periodically to ensure you don’t end up with a true junk drawer.

If kitchen remodelling plans are in your future, then you may need to contact ClutterBGone to help get ready or to help you get organized after the project is completed. We have helped organize many kitchens and would love to help you too.

Things We Buy And Never Use

things we buy

After having been in many client’s home over the years, I’ve seen a lot of things that are bought but never used. I thought I’d share this list with you to see how many of these you have and to perhaps give you a heads up if you’re thinking of buying any of them.

Exercise equipment

We’re reminded of this every year when resolutions come out to lose weight and get in shape. Shortly after the list of items you waste your money on come out and gym equipment is right at the top of the list. I’ll bet you that when ClutterBGone comes across gym equipment in a home, 9 times out of 10 there’s a layer of clothing or dust on it. You know yourself best, don’t buy it unless you know you’ll use it religiously. You don’t need clunky gym equipment to lose weight, weigh your options.

Kitchen appliances

This is the worst area of the house to find things that are bought but never used. items we don't useHow many of you have a fondue set? How about a bread maker? How’s that juicer working out for you? It’s hard not to see the benefits of the appliance when you’re shopping from the comfort of your couch at two in the morning, but these things take up a lot of valuable space either on your kitchen counter or in your cupboard. Appliances that you don’t use really hamper your productivity in the kitchen.

Magazines / Cookbooks / Newspapers

In this day of electronics, it’s so easy to find what you need on line. People tell me that I’m still old school but I have ditched the magazine subscriptions. I went digital with one of the subscription services and realized I still wasn’t reading them, so I stopped that as well. I’ve also donated my cookbooks and find all my recipes online (although I will admit to printing just a few of them).

Too many clothes

A lot of you will buy clothes for a lot of different reasons. too many clothesYou need them for a new job. You’re depressed and shopping helps. You’re trying to stay up with the latest fashion trends. I have two rules when it comes to clothes. I have to really love the piece and have a use in mind for it and something has to go when I get it home. Follow these rules and your closet will stay neat and organized.

Hobby supplies

ClutterBGone has sorted and organized numerous hobby rooms. During the process we have had to throw out a lot of dry paint, donate a lot of yarn and discovered many duplicates of supplies. Know what you absolutely must have when you go to the store to replenish your hobby supplies. Have an organized space for your supplies close to where you work. This is where ClutterBGone can help you.

We’ve helped clients organize every room you can think of and find many of these items that are just never used. If you have these items and more and need help in getting organized just contact us here. We love to organize!

Why You Buy Things You Don’t Need

buy things you don't need

We are a society of consumers. Go to your local mall at almost any time and look at the sea of people shopping. I dare you to easily find a parking spot at Costco but let’s not stop there, Amazon and other on-line retailers are also growing like crazy.

We buy a lot of things we really don’t need. We get the items home and realize we really didn’t need them. Have you ever thought about why you buy items you really don’t need? Below are a list of just a few reasons.

You can’t find what you’re looking for

I myself have done this. buy things you don't needWe need something but because we can’t readily find it we head out to buy another. The “lost” one always turns up doesn’t it? Having an organized space really does allow you to easily see what you have and saves you the money and time on buying another. We understand this is a common issue with clients we’ve worked with so let’s put an end to duplicate buying.

Buying things makes us happy

True, but at what cost? Sure, a new pair of shoes, a new appliance, whatever we purchase is bound to make us happy. That happiness only lasts a short time though and we’re on to the next. If this continues which most likely than not it does, you are then left with no space to put anything else and a room or rooms that’s cluttered. Let’s not even mention the credit cards bills that come later.

It’s a great deal

It’s only a great deal if you really need it. buy things you don't needMany of our clients’ homes are jammed with those “freebies” that come with another purchase. Guess what? They’re not free. The costs of those freebies are built into the cost of whatever you have to buy to get them and those freebies or samples are normally the things we end up throwing away when we start a project. Don’t be fooled into parting with your hard-earned money because the truth of the matter is you’re going to spend even more to rid your home of everything collected.

Fads

Remember the FloBee, that thing that attaches to your vacuum to cut hair? Do you own a fondue pot? A Chia pet? How about the Clapper? ClutterBGone has come across all of these, and more, in clients’ homes. Most of these fad items are just that – fads. It’s a blast to go down memory lane but I’ll bet you’re not that organized if you still have any of these items still in your home.

These are a just few reasons why we purchase things we don’t need or use. Do any strike a chord with you? If you need help getting organized or downsizing after having spent a few years accumulating things you don’t want then all you have to do is contact us here or give ClutterBGone a call at 905-642-5669.

When Is It Time To Organize Your Office?

organize your office

The environment in which you work has a drastic affect on your productivity. Working in a messy, disorganized space is distracting and will have negative effects on work results. What signs do you see that tell you it’s time to organize your office?

You can’t see your desk

OK, this sign may seem obvious to most of us but many of you work at a desk that is literally covered in paper and your excuse is that you work better in a cluttered state. The simple fact is that mess leads to stress. Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity and sends signals to our brain that the work is never done.

You can’t find the tools you need

How much time do you spend looking for your pen, stapler or whatever else you need to do the job? Having to pause what you’re working on to find something breaks your concentration and increases the amount of time you need to complete the task at hand.

You’re in and out basket is 3 feet high

I’ve seen it. You get busy and so your inbox becomes a drop zone. organize your officeYou’ll get around to sifting through it to see what came in that is important. Likewise, your outbox should be labelled “I’ll get around to filing sometime later” box. There are important items in each of these boxes and putting it off only creates more stress and decreases productivity having to look through for something you need later. More importantly there may be important items you haven’t seen that are needed to produce quality results. Set up a system that allows you to address both of these boxes daily.

Where did your screen saver go?

Putting shortcuts on your desk top is a great way to save time. Too many can have the reverse affect when you can’t find the short cut or file that you require. Limit these shortcuts to just the really important files that you access daily.

Organize your email

Your electronic files may be more important than your paper files. We constantly access our email throughout the day. Organize your email just like your paper files to improve productivity. If you don’t need an email delete it now. Schedule times throughout the day to review your email and turn off notifications so you can concentrate on the task at hand.

A well-organized work area gives you a sense of accomplishment. It also allows you to be more productive, accurate and to complete the task quicker. ClutterBGone has organized offices for home and for small businesses. Contact us here to see how we can make your more productive in the office.

Clutter And Seniors

clutter and seniors

We recently received a request from a person who wanted to discuss the effects of clutter on seniors, specifically Diogenes syndrome.  Diogenes syndrome, also known as senile squalor syndrome, is a disorder characterized by extreme self-neglect, domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, compulsive hoarding of garbage or animals, and lack of shame. Clutter can have a dramatic impact on the lives of seniors with 1 in 20 seniors having tendencies consistent with hoarding. I think you will find her blog to be interesting, especially if you have a senior in your life.

Watching Out for Diogenes Syndrome in Seniors

It can be very hard to part with things we think we may need in the future, yet learning to let go of what we don’t have room for, is one of the first steps to a neat, tidy and hygienic home. If you have an elderly relative and you notice that they tend to hoard things, it’s important to understand that this can be very common; studies show that around one in 20 seniors have hoarding tendencies. Sometimes hoarding behavior can be extreme, or be accompanied by self-neglect, social withdrawal, and squalor. If so, your loved one may need specialist help, often a combination of pharmacological and psychological treatments, closely related to treatment for obsessive-compulsive treatment.

When does Hoarding Amount to Diogenes Syndrome?

Diogenes syndrome is characterized by the above-mentioned behaviors, in addition to a lack of ‘shame’ or sense of embarrassment about these extreme behaviors. clutter and seniorsIt was coined after Greek philosopher, Diogenes, a Greek philosopher (412-323 BC) who expressed contempt for social organization and promulgated the advantages of a lack of shame. It can exist on its own, or be a secondary effect of mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, dementia, or alcoholism. It is also commonly associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior (OCD)

Diogenes syndrome, which has an average onset age of 75, can be very hard to deal with for family members of affected seniors, since it is accompanied by an inability to attend to basic needs such as nutrition and hygiene. In very extreme cases, it can result in anemia, skin conditions and malnutrition. Seniors can also pose a fire risk for themselves and others, which is why it is important that seniors obtain professional help if extreme hoarding behaviors and other symptoms are noticed.

Hoarding can sadly involve animals; rescue organizations often find cats, dogs, and birds hoarded in homes, as well as dead animals buried beneath furniture and other hoarded items.

How to Help those with Diogenes Syndrome

Because seniors with extreme hoarding behaviors tend to be socially reclusive, it can be very difficult to convince them to see a doctor to obtain diagnosis and treatment, but efforts should be made in this sphere, since treatment can be life-saving. clutter and seniorsTests carried out when this syndrome is suspected include cognitive and malnutrition tests. Specialists will help set up a management plan, which may sometimes lead to institutionalization if the person is mentally ill or has dementia, legal interventions to determine competency, and the involvement of a public guardian or trustee. Experts always aim to balance the right to autonomy with responsibility for the affected senior. If possible, the person is sent home, but cognitive behavioral therapy and other treatments are usually prescribed, and affected seniors are encouraged to start making small changes that can increase in scope as time goes by. When hoarding is severe, family members should abstain from forcibly entering their loved one’s home and throwing things out, since Diogenes patients become increasingly depressed by this type of invasive action and begin hoarding new items in a short space of time.

Diogenes Syndrome involves much more than being untidy or collecting things; it is an extreme behavior which most often occurs in individuals aged 75 or above, and which can be accompanied by other illnesses, including dementia. The consequences of Diogenes Syndrome can be severe, but invasive action should be avoided, since it can worsen symptoms. Seniors should be gently referred to specialist services, so that treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Our guest blogger is Cassie Steele. Cassie lived through this with her parents and is now the content editor for a small senior care and information website. For more information, here is a link to her guide on this topic – https://www.shieldmysenior.com/diogenes-syndrome/

ClutterBGone has assisted many seniors with reducing clutter, downsizing and life transitions. Contact us here to see how we can help your loved ones.

Will You Resolve to Get Organized in Toronto This Year?

get organized in Toronto

Are you one of those people that ring in the New Year with resolutions? Personally, I don’t but many of you likely do. If getting better organized is one of your New Years resolutions then help is just a click away.

One in, one out rule

This is the perfect time to implement this rule with all the new items you purchased or received over the holidays. get organized in the new yearDid you receive a new item of clothing that you kept? Great! Did you donate, give away or toss a piece of clothing to make room for it? Follow the simple one in and one out rule to reduce the clutter that accumulates and keep clutter at bay.

Do you really love it?

Over the last few years this has become a mantra of mine. Unless I really love something, I won’t buy it. This doesn’t just apply to clothing but to all of my household purchases. Why purchase something that you really don’t just love? I’m obviously not talking about the necessities in life, just the things you buy that you would like to have.

Go paperless

Paper can be the biggest cause of clutter in your Toronto home and we work with you to reduce your paper clutter and set up a system to maintain a streamlined and clutter free system in your home. get organized in the new yearMost of your bills can be automatically paid through your bank now with receipts and even advance reminders coming to your inbox. And then you don’t have to worry about losing a bill or being charged for a late fee. Do you still receive magazines and newspapers? If so, make sure to recycle them before the next issue comes in or better yet, go electronic.

Be charitable this year

Charities are always looking for donations to assist those that are less fortunate and can use what you no longer require. Locate your favourite charity in town and feel good about helping others.

Hire a professional!

Just like hiring a gardener or a handyman, a Toronto and York Region professional organizer is trained in all facets of organizing and downsizing and follows the rules and a code of ethics set out by our association. We have the skills and the contacts to help you downsize, organize, move and much more.

So, if you have a resolution to get better organized ClutterBGone would love to help you start the year off clutter free!