How to Identify Clutter

Crosspoint image

Have you tried to let go of clutter, but not sure what things might be considered clutter?

Many years ago in the apartment I used to live in, I displayed dried herbs, dried rose stems, and a couple of straw hats on one wall in my kitchen. I loved how they looked, so I periodically added more herbs, dried flowers and hats. One day a friend made a comment on how crowded the wall looked, and that I might want to think about removing some of the items on display. Later that week, I took an objective look at everything I’d tacked there. There was too much stuff on the wall, and the stuff had gathered some dust and cobwebs. It didn’t work for me anymore. So, I decided that it was time to let go and get rid of everything. I moved the hats to the attic and threw out all the old dried arrangements. I now had a clear slate, the room looked much bigger and brighter, and I felt lighter. I put up a lovely framed cross stitching of kitchen herbs on the wall. While still living in this apartment, I never added anything else to the wall, and whenever I looked at the framed cross stitching, I felt really good.

Here are some tips on identifying clutter:

– Have you ever used the item?
– Are you saving this ‘just in-case’?
– If you broke it, would you replace it?
– Does something you’ve held on to still work for you?
– Is it actually useful? Do you have duplicates you’ve never used?
– Are their items packed and organized but never used?
– Do your nostalgic keepsakes bring you pleasant or unpleasant memories?
– Do you have clothing you haven’t worn during the last year?
– Is there an updated model or improved version of this?
– Does it still match your interior decorations?
– Are you holding on to this because you’ve were going to give it to
someone else, but haven’t yet done so?

Having read this post, take a good look at some of your stuff to determine what your clutter is. I’d be interested in hearing what clutter you’ve discovered and what you decide to do with it.

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Rainy Day? Get Rid of Magazine Clutter

Too many magazines!

It’s been raining a lot for several months now. Take advantage of those rainy days and get rid of your magazine clutter!

Gather up all the magazines you currently receive. Pull together the catalogs that have been laying around taking up space. Maybe they’re in boxes, on shelves, or piled on the floor or tables. Do you truly read and enjoy all of them? Are they a good use of your time? Or, do you let them pile up thinking you will read them when you have the time, but never do.

First, make sure the recycle bin is near where you are sorting. Then, begin by going through each magazine/catalog and put the different subscriptions into their own piles. Once you do this, take those that are over a few months old and toss them into the bin.

Even if you are itching to hold on to some of the past magazines/catalogs, don’t. Just keep a few of the most recent and relevant magazines and up-to-date catalogs. If there are a few of them that are so nostalgic that you can’t let go, that’s okay.

To cancel magazine subscriptions, call the magazine’s subscription office ASAP to stop receiving those you no longer want.

To cancel your catalogs: http://www.catalogchoice.org/

For each current issue you receive in the mail, toss old issues.

I think you’ll feel a bit lighter when you do this. Let me know the progress you’ve made on letting go.

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Get Rid of Magazine Clutter

Hidden and Visible Storage Ideas

clear container drawers under desk            Portable letter file tote

Does it seem that your home or office has no space left to store things? Here are some ideas on how to take advantage of hidden or visible storage spaces.

  • Under your Desk or Table: If you’ve room under these furniture pieces, keep a small file cabinet on wheels for storing items you don’t use regularly. The wheels will make it easy to pull out the cabinet for accessing your documents.
  • Around your Window: There might be space around and above a window where you can install inexpensive shelves. You could purchase wall shelving and brackets to attach on your own, or hire a professional to create built-in shelving. Storing items up and around the wall will make the room look neater and bigger.
  • Inside your Closet: If you have clothing hanging in the closet, add a two drawer file cabinet, or low book shelf for extra storage under the clothing. Hang a ‘multi-pocketed over-the-door shoe bag’ for storing miscellaneous small items.
  • On the Wall: If you have a small bookcase with nothing on the wall above it, add a couple of shelves, or hang a cascading letter file tote on the wall near the desk.

Do you have any storage ideas you’d like to share with my blog followers?

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Hidden and Visible Storage Ideas

Non-Toxic, Eco Friendly Cleaning TIPS & RECIPES

non toxic cleaners

Have you been too busy to do your spring cleaning?  It’s never too late to do so. However, most commercial cleaning products you use on a daily basis are made with toxic ingredients, which can be harmful to your home, you, your children and pets, as well as to the environment.

Read the labels on containers such as bathroom disinfectants, furniture polish, glass and toilet bowl cleaners, and in bold text you will see Poison, Warning, Danger, and Caution. Instead of bringing these toxic ingredients into your home, consider going ‘green’ (non-toxic) with your cleaning products, and create them yourself! You will save money, time, and natural resources by using environmentally friendly cleaning methods for your home or office. By using vinegar, borax, baking soda, and nice smelling essential oils you can create various safe cleaners to use on windows, mirrors, sinks, toilets, tubs, floors, etc. (these products can be found at your local supermarket.)

GREEN TIPS

  • Clutter accumulates dust, so clear out the clutter and save time cleaning.
  • Don’t buy smelly, toxic air fresheners, but bring plants into your home for better air quality, open windows, or place dried herbs such as lavender or orange rinds in an attractive bowl to freshen the air.
  • In warm weather to save electricity, and get some fresh air, hang your clothing on an outside line to dry.
  • Use a micro-fiber cloth to dust the furniture, and any hard surface instead of toxic furniture polish.

GREEN RECIPES

  • Glass Cleaner: Mix equal quantities of water and vinegar, or club soda in a spray bottle to clean. To avoid streaks on the glass or mirror, wipe with a lint-free cloth or a paper towel (use sparingly).
  • Floor Cleaner: In a spray bottle, combine a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water, and add a couple of drops of peppermint or lavender oil for a pleasant scent.
  • Bathtub and Sink Cleaner: Sprinkle baking powder on the tub or sink surface, scrub and rinse.
  • Toilet Cleaner: Sprinkle 1/4 cup borax (can find in your supermarket’s cleaning aisle) or baking soda, plus a few drops of essential oil (antiseptic tea tree or eucalyptus oil) into the toilet, scour, leave for a few minutes, scour again, and flush once or twice.

If you lead a busy lifestyle, and prefer not to make your own cleaning products, you can purchase them in local health food stores, Trader Joe’s and usually in generic grocery stores. Just be sure that the container’s ingredients consist of natural fragrance from essential oils, are derived from plants, and are free of phosphates, phthalates and chloride.

Do you have any Green Cleaning Tips or recipes?  I’d love to know.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

Non-Toxic, Eco Friendly Cleaning TIPS & RECIPES

Clearing the Clutter Indoors and Outdoors

Modern life is so complicated, why not enrich your life by simplifying it? So many of us are burdened by a disorganized home plus an untidy garden. By clearing the clutter and beautifying these spaces, you can gain more control of your life, leaving more time for the things that truly matter.

To achieve these goals:

• Take an assessment of your home and garden needs
• Create an action plan
• Carry out the action plan indoors and outdoors
• Hire side-by-side coaching by a Professional Organizer (if needed)
• Hire a Professional Gardener to provide on-site gardening maintenance instruction (if needed)
• Come up with organizational systems that are easy to implement and use

By clearing the clutter indoors and outdoors you will realize the connection between a cluttered environment and a cluttered life. Your end result will be a serene home and a peaceful garden, and the strategies to maintain them both. You will feel more peaceful and much freer.

Are you ready to do an assessment and create your action plan? Go for it!

To schedule a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Clearing the Clutter Indoors and Outdoors

Duplicate Buying

duplicate soaps

‘Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends…Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.’ – Henry David Thoreau

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 bag of popped popcorn and realize that I already have two unopened bags on the pantry shelf. This could be a good thing, as when I run out of the first bag, I’ll already have more popcorn. The same goes with the soap I buy. I think I need another package of soap and then find I have some 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 aren’t Duplicate Buying.

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

To schedule a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Spring Cleaning and Clearing

shutterstock header photo 4.9.15_156671090

With the approach of spring it’s getting to be that time again to clean the home, and also get rid of items you no longer use or need.

“Spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house in the springtime. The practice of spring cleaning is especially prevalent in climates with a cold winter. The most common usage of spring cleaning refers to the yearly act of cleaning a house from top to bottom which would take place in the first warm days of the year typically in spring, hence the name. However it has also come to be synonymous with any kind of heavy duty cleaning or organizing enterprise.” (definition taken from Wikipedia)

Having a house cleaner every other week is fantastic. The main thing I need to do is dust my bedroom furniture weekly, and wash the dishes. I’ve been keeping down any clutter, and putting things back where they belong daily, (except for hanging up all my clothing. – me bad) Yesterday morning my partner, Steve and I, spring cleaned up and cleared our garden beds – mostly dead heading plants and pruning. Plants are poking up from under the ground, and it’s so lovely!

Have you begun your cleaning and organizing for spring?

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1.  Thoroughly clean one room each week. If your home isn’t too big, this should take you to the end of April. Vacuum, dust, rearrange furniture, purge, and organize the stuff in each room. Yesterday, I cleaned my bathroom. Next week, I’ll give my living room a thorough go through.

2.  Sort through one shelf, drawer, box, cabinet and bin at a time. Keep it simple, so you do not get overwhelmed. I am going to sort through and organize a kitchen junk drawer (see photo of cluttered drawer above) that holds kitchen utensils, plus a lot of rubber bands and baggie ties.

3.   Practice the age old expression: ‘When in doubt, throw it out’.  If I don’t love, need, use, or want an item, I throw it out! Or, give it away, or recycle it.

4.  Don’t spend money, be creative and re-purpose the containers you already have! Look around and you will most likely find empty boxes, canvas shopping bags, or plastic containers for storage. I have a bunch of them up in the attic. You can also sort through and purge any full containers you have to make them re-usable.

5.   Take a few minutes before work or after work to recycle plastics, wash a counter, sweep the floor. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that life will be easier if you take on this task each day. It works for me.

6.  Don’t worry about following someone else’s system for cleaning/organizing. Use the system that works for you. My way may be different from yours.

7.  And, make a promise to yourself to not procrastinate. Get it done! I’ve a big procrastinator, but when I get a household task or organizing project accomplished, I feel great!

Do you have any TIPS for spring cleaning/organizing that work for you? I’d love to hear about them.

 

If you 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

Spring Cleaning and Clearing