Hand Made Evergreen Swags and Outdoor Arrangements

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    Beacon Hill Window Box

Smith Court swag 2015

Save some time while you get organized for the holidays and …..

Commission a beautiful hand made SWAG for your front door,
or ARRANGEMENT for window boxes or outside containers.

I’d love to create them especially for you!

To place your order:

Contact me at:

ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

SunandShadeGardening.com

Call: 857-919-4735

Happy Holidays!

How to Avoid Holiday Stress

Winter plants terra cotta pot arrangement 12.14

In my ‘Clutter Clearer Coach’ holiday E-newsletter, I recommend getting organized early to take the stress out of the upcoming winter holidays. I’ve included these recommendations and some additional tips here.

Here are TEN TIPS to help you stay calm this holiday season:

1. Make it easy on yourself. Ask for help from friends, neighbors or family members. Don’t get organized by yourself, unless you either want to, or have to. (I never asked for assistance, and did I get stressed! Now I ask.)

2. Don’t wait until the last minute. Plan and complete your errands and chores early so you can be relaxed and enjoy the holidays. Accomplish just a few things each day so you don’t get overwhelmed. (Sometimes I procrastinate, so don’t be like me.)

3.  Schedule chunks of time in advance for tasks. Enter them into your calendar, be it digital or paper, so you don’t forget. If digital, plug in audio reminders. (Keeping track of my tasks on my iPhone is easy)

4. Make your lists and check them twice!  Ask everyone in your family to write gift lists so you know what to buy them. Make your own lists for doing household chores;  who you will buy gifts for, decorations you’ll need, food for menus, etc. Determine your budget, and write down what you’ll spend for each item. And decide ahead of time where to purchase everything. (Guess I have it easy now, as I only buy gifts for a couple of friends – most friends & my relatives decided to forego winter holiday gift giving)

5. You don’t have to do it all! If you are very busy and have limited time to do everything, check over your list and eliminate items and tasks that are not essential. (I am extremely busy, so I do a lot less organizing for the holidays than ever before. Mostly it’s decorating with live evergreens for a festive look, putting ornaments on the mini tree, and buying a few gifts and wrapping them.)

6. Avoid the crowds. Go shopping and to the post office during hours (not weekends) when there won’t be crowds. (I go mid-morning on a weekday well before the holidays to do my errands)

7. Don’t over-clean your home. You don’t have to clean from top to bottom. Clean only the areas that are public to guests who come over; the kitchen, living room, bathroom and dining room. Hire someone to do the cleaning, or have a friend or family member help you. (I am now fortunate to have a cleaning service come every 2 weeks.)

8. Clear the clutter in these public rooms; including the front entry hall. Especially, the entry to your home, as it shouldn’t be a safety hazard for you and guests entering through the door.  (Every day I put things away where they belong.)

9. Re-use decorations and gift wrap materials from the previous year. Buy new décor for the holidays at the end of December and beginning of January each year to save money as these items go on sale, sometimes 1/2 price. Pack up left overs and reuse next year. (My new housemate and I will reuse our shared wrapping paper from last year.)

10. Ask for help after the holidays are over. Invite friends or family over to help clean, take decorations down and pack them. Make it fun for everyone, and provide yummy snacks to eat. Pack all decorations and gift wrap items in plastic boxes with lids, or in covered cardboard boxes if your storage area is not damp. (And, we share taking down the holiday decorations)

Let me know how your holiday organizing goes!

PS – If you’d like to receive my ‘Clutter Clearer Coach’ monthly newsletter, send me your name and email address and I’ll include you in my mail chimp mailings.

For a FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

Easy Things to Part with While De-cluttering

too many shoes         outdated hotel toiletries

It’s easy for some people to let go of items with sentimental value. But, others hold on to items knowing they have no real value. Do you relate to this latter reason?

What are some of your best excuses for holding onto clutter?

• I might need it someday?
• I may read this sometime?
• I could fit into this again?
• Its in good shape to use again?
• It was a gift; I can’t let it go?
• I’m saving it to give as a gift?

Below is a list of some unimportant things to part with.

• Old notes on small pieces of paper
• Old shopping receipts and unneeded invoices
• Recipes cut out from magazines but never used (take digital photos or scan)
• Cookbooks on the shelf that are no longer in use
• Outdated cosmetics and toiletry items
• Old pieces of wrapping paper being saved to use again
• Letters and birthday cards that don’t mean much anymore
• Gifts received and kept due to guilt rather than pleasure
• Scrapbooking supplies that haven’t been used in ages
• Desk clutter; too many pens, paper scraps, highlighters
• Clothing that’s gone out of fashion
• Clothing that doesn’t fit anymore

If you have items that are just taking up space, give yourself the guilt-free incentive to get rid of them.

For a FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

Buying Duplicates

too much soap

How many of you go to the grocery store, hardware store, clothing store, etc., and buy an item you think you need, and then get home and find that you already have at least one or two of the same item?

I’ve done this before. I’ll buy a container of yogurt and realize that I already have a yogurt in the refrigerator. This could be a good thing, as when I run out of the first yogurt container, I’ll already have another. The same goes with the soap I buy. I think I need another package of soap and then find I already have more than enough at home.

If you do this kind of buying, chances are you are spending money you don’t need to spend, plus the items are taking up space on a shelf that could be used for something else.

Can you identify with this? Do you have a ‘what if I run out’ way of thinking behind buying in quantity? Are you afraid there might be a shortage and you won’t be able to get what you need? Don’t worry, stores are well stocked, plus most items can be purchased via the internet.

Or, ‘do you have so much clutter that you don’t know what you have’ on the shelf or in the closet because things are stocked so tightly, or piled up and covering up stuff underneath. And, once you buy the item you think you need, you find it at home and exclaim “I didn’t realize I already had this!”

To conquer this habit, the next time you are going shopping, take a photo on your phone of the pantry shelf or closet. While at the store, refer to this image and be aware that you already possess the item. Or, to keep track, keep a written/typed inventory of the things you buy regularly, and put a check next to each item you finish or use up. Or, tackle your clutter and let go of excess stuff so you don’t buy duplicates.

Let me know if you buy ‘extras’ and how you control this habit.

For a FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

Swapping Summer Clothing for Winter Wear

winter jackets

Mid-fall is the time of year that I go through my closet and separate my winter
clothing from my summer clothing. For me, and I’m sure for some of you, knowing when to do this usually is a frustrating time because the temperature fluctuates so much. This is referred to as ‘Indian Summer’ here in New England. It may be 50 degrees in the morning, and by noon time the temperature has reached 70 degrees. Although, this year it’s now October 21st, and the days are not above the mid-50″s and the nights are in the low 40’s and high 30’s.

I’ve already put most of my sleeveless shirts, polo shirts and dresses, plus shorts, bathing suits and summer shoes (which I won’t really need to wear until next year) into a covered plastic storage container for dry basement storage. But, have kept some in my closet and dresser in case we have a glimpse of ‘Indian Summer’ in the next few weeks.

I have pulled out most of my winter clothing; long sleeved shirts & sweatshirts, sweaters, heavier pants, etc. These are available to wear now. Winter coats go in the hall closet. Once the real cold sets in, those few pieces of summer clothing I’d held out, get put into the basement containers.

I recommend that you try this method of ‘seasonal clothing swap’ if your own method is not working well.

NOTE: If you don’t have a dry attic or separate closet to keep the change of season clothing containers, and only have a damp basement space, be sure to store the items in waterproof containers with air tight lids to keep clothing dry.

When and How do you take care of your seasonal wardrobe change?

FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

Why is Mail so Hard to Deal With?

junk mail

Do you have lots of junk mail, catalogs, and unopened mail forming piles of paper? And, you just don’t know how to deal with it?

Tackling your incoming (and piled up mail) can be really hard to deal with for a number of reasons:

• First of all you have to make a decision on what to do with each piece of mail. Recycle, file, archive, open up the envelope, etc.. And, if you have a lot of ‘pieces’ lying around, that’s a lot of deciding to do.

• You have to then figure out where to put each piece of paper.

• All of that paper takes up space! What if you don’t have the space or the proper filing cabinets or containers to put it all.

• And if, and when you do find a spot to put it, you may never find it again.

• What if you throw it out? You might need it someday.

Whew! So many decisions to make and so little time!

Begin by asking yourself these questions about your mail:

• DO you REALLY need to keep this?
• Will you really read this someday if you keep it? Probably not!
• If you DO KEEP it, where should you put it, so it’s easy to find
• HOW and WHERE can you find it

Begin With Baby Steps:

• Put a recycling bin near where you open your mail.
• Begin your decision making with your current mail. Don’t worry about the mail that’s already piled up. You’ll get to that later.
• Pick up each piece of current mail and determine whether you need it
• Can you recycle it? Is it a bill that needs to be opened and paid?
If it’s a catalog or magazine, recycle these after the next issues arrive.
• Do you want to keep receiving the catalogs, junk mail or stop getting it? If you’d like to stop it contact: http://StoptheJunkMail.com/ Or, if using Apps, log onto http://www.PaperKarma.com/

As you begin to make these types of decisions, you’ll find that it gets easier every time you do so.

Let me know if your decision making has gotten a bit easier. Thanks!

FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735 

EXCESSIVE CLUTTER and how it affects your life

cluttered office

Does having too much clutter affect your life in a negative way?

Clutter can be defined as things you do not use or need, untidy or disorganized things, too many things in too small a space, and anything left unfinished.

Excessive clutter can affect your life in some of the following ways:

Relationships:
• Can keep you from inviting people to your home
• Keeps you from being close to others

Emotions:
• Can cause feelings of embarrassment, shame or guilt that holds you back.
• Clutter drains your energy. Items that are not used or cared for hold stagnant energy.

Low Self Esteem:
• Not being able to stay organized can cause you to feel bad about yourself; thinking that you don’t have the skills that other people have.

Stress:
• When you can’t find something, or want to clear the clutter but can’t seem to do so, your stress levels rise.

Money issues:
• You buy duplicates because you can’t locate the original item you purchased.
• Bills that are paid late as they are hidden beneath clutter
• Compulsive buying via credit cards
• Spending money by moving to a larger home in order to store more stuff
• Spending money to rent storage units

Time:
• Not being able to locate things
• Having too much stuff sucks up your time
• Too much stuff leads to procrastination and being late

If you can relate to this post, and live in the Boston area,

and would like a 

FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735