Category Archives: Organizing Tips

Too Many Mugs and Drinking Glasses?

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How many mugs and drinking glasses do you really need?

I will be moving to a new home sometime in the near future, and have begun to go through my kitchen and pantry cupboards to see what drinking glasses & mugs I can give away.  I’ve got some beautiful mugs and decorative glasses that I’m hesitant to let go of.  The person I am moving in with has lots of nice ones too.  I can absolutely identify with so many of my organizing clients who are reluctant to part with things. But, it has to get done. So how do we make these decisions?

Here’s a suggestion: Pull all of them out of your kitchen cupboard, and set aside 12 of your favorite mugs and glasses. You know, the prettiest, most functional ones. Perhaps a couple of them you feel nostalgic about.

Now donate at least 65% of what’s left. Give them to your local charity, such as the Epilepsy Foundation, Big Brother- Big Sister, the Salvation Army, the Veterans Association, Goodwill, or to a non-profit office in need of mugs and glasses. Once they are out of sight, you’ll most likely never miss them.

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

Car Seat Clutter Control

car seat bag
I try to stay on top of keeping my car seats and floors uncluttered. I’m not always successful though. I have a small car and my gardening business lawn bags, two wheeled dolly, and a few other garden supplies that don’t fit in the trunk of the car, make their home on the back seat floor (a fairly narrow area). Other non garden related stuff sometimes hangs out in the front passenger seat, and when I have a real passenger, I move this stuff to the back, and if not, I distribute the stuff where it belongs.

Do you have to do this too? I’m going to follow my own tips that I list in this post. I hope you do too!

Tips for keeping car seats un-cluttered:

• Purchase a car seat organizer to store the clutter crowding the passenger seat of your car. There’s the ‘Mobile Office’ from the Container Store ( http://www.containerstore.com ), the ‘High Road SwingAway XL’ car seat organizer which can swivel from front seat to back. ( http://www.cargogear.com ) Target stores also carry car seat organizers. These organizers are great for holding cell phones, tissues, water bottles, maps, snacks, music CD’s, and there’s even a place to put file folders. I bought one, and it’s hanging over the head rest for the passenger seat (see photo).

• Plastic storage containers can be placed in the trunk or under a seat to hold items like umbrellas, rain ponchos, tissues or water bottles.

• Children’s toys and games can get strewn all over the back seat. Keep these playthings in a covered plastic container that can be placed either on the floor or in the middle of the back seat.

• Put a travel sized waste can or basket in the car so there will be a place other than the floor to put trash.

• In case of emergencies always keep a pair of jumper cables, a flashlight, ice scraper, small shovel, bag of sand, non-perishable snacks, bottled water, and a first aid kit in the car or trunk.

What does the inside of your car look like?  Or, your bike basket if you don’t have a vehicle?

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

National Buy Nothing Day: The day after Thanksgiving

Holiday shopping bags

Do you really want to get caught up in the massive crowds, wait in long lines, and get stressed buying items on sale for the season’s holidays on Black Friday; the big sales event around the U.S. the day after Thanksgiving?

Just about everyone loves to shop, which is terrific for the nation. But, for folks who collect lots of stuff and are in the process of getting organized, it’s a detrimental day. So, I encourage you to celebrate November’s National Buy Nothing Day – the same day many go out to observe Black Friday.

If you live with a lot of clutter, and perhaps are a compulsive shopper, but are taking steps to decrease your stuff, acquiring more gift items for yourself, for others this year, and to save for future giving, will bring on not only more troubles and perhaps anxiety, but will take away from Thanksgiving’s real purpose of being grateful for what you already have. 

Instead, for one day, lighten your stress levels and enjoy your family and friends, spend some time uncluttering your home, take a walk outdoors, go to a movie, or anything else enjoyable instead of shopping on Black Friday.  There will be other days that things will go on sale.

 

Seven Days of Organizing TIPS – Day # 6 – ‘Shabby Towels’

DAY # 6 – TIP # 6

Shabby Towels

Do some of your towels look like something the cat dragged in?
I have had some pretty ratty looking towels. Usually, I use them until their terry cloth is pretty bare. And, then it’s time to use them for other purposes; like for dusting the furniture, to clean up spills on the floor, or to line the cat carrier interior for comfortable trips to the vet for my cat.

If your towels are overused and shabby, search the house/apartment for them, and reuse for other purposes like I do. Or, fill a box and deliver it to your local animal shelter to provide comfy resting spots for furry friends. Whenever you purchase new towels, donate an equal amount of old ones. You can also donate the old towels to be used as rags to your local GoodWill type organizations.

What do you do with your old towels?

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

Seven Days of Organizing TIPS – Day # 5 – ‘Create an Errand Box’

DAY # 5 – TIP # 5

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Create an Errand Box

You, like me, may make a list of errands you need to do, but get busy with other things and don’t get those errands done in a timely manner. (I meant to drop off some items to the Salvation Army the other day, but still haven’t; so tomorrow morning I will.)

So, here’s the TIP:

Place a container or basket by the front or back door (whichever one you enter and exit from most frequently). Toss in items that you’ve purchased or borrowed that need to be returned, work supplies, or library books and movies due back. Take the box with you each morning, and see what you can get rid of that day.

Be sure to bring the errand box back into your home after you’ve distributed the items for that day. It’s easy to forget and leave the box in your car, so choose a bright colored box so you notice it easily.

So, what items will you put into your errand box?

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

Seven Days of Organizing TIPS – Day # 4 – ‘Overhaul Your Wardrobe’

DAY # 4 – TIP # 4

color coded clothes closet

OK, so it’s time to let go of/get rid of some of the clothing that you haven’t worn in a year or more.

Pull out items from your closet (clothing, shoes, accessories) that don’t fit or you don’t love. Arrange a clothing swap with friends. Once a year, my housemate and I coordinate a Women’s Afternoon Tea and Clothing Swap. We invite our friends, and friends of friends to attend and bring items they no longer wear to trade with others.

It’s fun!  We talk over tea, try on lots of clothing, and leave with a free new wardrobe! Whatever clothing is left over, (and there is a lot left!) we donate to a local women’s charity. You can choose any charity that appeals to you.

Here’s a tip regarding clothing swaps:  Bring less clothing home than you donated to the swap. Bring a bag that can hold only so much clothing, so you don’t add more to your wardrobe than you already had.

What clothing and accessories are you going to get rid of? I’d love to know where you are donating it to.

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

Seven Days of Organizing TIPS – Day # 3 – ‘Reduce Knick Knack Clutter’

DAY # 3 – TIP # 3

vase memorabilia on shelf

Like me, you most likely have at least one shelf that’s full of knick knacks or memorabilia.

Declare that shelf knick knack free. Remove all collectibles, trinkets, picture frames, etc.  Put these items into storage for a while. (You can revisit them a few months down the road, and if you haven’t missed anything, or you forgot about some items, then you know it’s time to give them away to a good cause like a charitable organization).

Dust or polish the shelf until it shines. Add one small vase of flowers, or a small house plant. Don’t put anything else on this surface for 17 days.

You’ll be amazed at the peace you feel with that nearly empty space.

(And, at the end of 17 days, put a few more items on the shelf, but please don’t clutter it again, so that nice feeling remains)

Let me know when you’ve cleared that shelf full of knick knacks, and how this uncluttered shelf makes you feel when you see it.

Seven Days of Organizing TIPS – Day # 2 Purge Your Pocketbook Periodically

DAY # 2 – TIP # 2

Cluttered Pocketbook

Purge Your Pocketbook Periodically 

Is your pocket book so full of stuff that it’s hard to locate an item quickly?  When searching through your purse, do you frequently ask yourself; Where are my keys?  I thought I’d put my to-do list in here. Where’s my credit card?

If so, then it’s time to purge the stuff inside your purse! Dump everything out, and recycle expired coupons, old receipts, scraps of paper. Put an envelope in your bag for current coupons and receipts. Throw out used tissues. Then, add a small zippered pouch or zip-top bag to hold personal items like lip balm, lipstick, hand lotion, a comb, clean tissues, and hand sanitizer. But, not duplicates of these things, as they will crowd your purse. (replace any of these items that are out-dated) Keep your keys in one safe location, and your credit cards and money in another.

Or, get yourself a pocketbook that has different sections that zip up. I love my pocket book because it has separate zipped sections for my keys, my ID cards, my cash and change, a slot for my iPhone, and a snapped section for my travel sized hand lotion and tissues, chewing gum, Band-aids, and small comb. And remember, after you use something from your purse, put it back in the section it belongs.

Purging your pocketbook periodically and keeping it organized, eases up on frustration and saves you time.

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

Seven Days of Organizing Tips – DAY # 1 – ‘Shred Sensitive Papers’

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I posted this ‘Seven Day’ blog post just a year ago. However, in case you need a reminder, here it is again for the next seven days!

DAY # 1 – TIP # 1

Shred Sensitive Papers

Papers are constantly coming into your home. You need to make sure they’re leaving your home at the same rate. Invest in a sturdy home shredder, so you can quickly and safely dispose of papers and mail that contains sensitive information, such as credit card offers and bank statements. You’ll feel more at ease when these types of documents are not sitting around for anyone to access. During tax time, it’s important to rid yourself of any personal documents that you no longer need to keep. If you’d like to know how long to keep personal financial documents, you can find out by clicking on either of these links:

http://apps.suzeorman.com/  (record keeping), or – https://publications.usa.gov/epublications/keeprecords/keeprecords.htm

Later this fall, I will be purging the papers/documents in my home office, and taking the personal documents I no longer need to be shredded at Staples.  Staples, at least at Fresh Pond Shopping mall, charges 99 cents per pound to safely shred paper. The Iron Mountain shredding company provides Staples with locked bins. When the bins are full, Iron Mountain picks them up to shred in confidence back at their facilities.

I’d love to know how many bags full of paper you shredded with your own shredder, or took to be shredded safely elsewhere. And, how helpful were the website links?

To schedule a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at

ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

National Women’s Friendship Month

Organize Your Space

Help a woman friend get organized in September!

There are several national organizing holidays in September that are dedicated to getting your time, space, and life in order. One of these holiday’s includes ‘National Women’s Friendship Month’.

Do you have a close woman friend who needs some support getting decluttered and organized? You needn’t be an expert to help her;  you just need to bring an open mind and heart, objectivity and no judgements.  Your offer can be a wonderful gesture of caring, an intimate experience, and it can actually be fun for both of you!

First ask your friend if she would like your help getting organized. If she accepts your assistance, pick a day and time to do so, and plan to work together for up to 3 hours. More than this amount of time can be somewhat overwhelming for her (and, possibly for you).

Both of you should gather some empty boxes, plastic bags, grocery bags, and/or covered plastic containers to sort items into. Do not go out and buy extra storage items as you won’t know how much your friend will be keeping. Label each bag/container individually; give away/donate, throw away, recycle, shred, undecided, and new location in home.

As your friend views each item, ask her these ten questions to help her decide what to keep, and what to let go of:

1. Do you use this item regularly?
2. If not, do you love the item?
3. Are you keeping this because you think you should love it?
4. Do you feel obligated to hold on to it?
5. If you let go of it, will it really hurt someone else feelings?
6. Are you holding on to this item because someday you will repair it?
7. Are you saving this ‘just in case’ you may need or use it some day?
8. Do you have extras (you never use) of the same thing?
9. Can you use another item that will work just as well?
10.Can you store something more useful in this space?

If, when answering these questions your friend found that she did not like, will never use, will never repair, or would feel guilty letting go of something, she will realize that the item doesn’t mean that much to her. And, that it’s time to choose what to do with it.  Once the items have been delegated to their appropriate storage receptacles, you can both decide how to distribute them; be it a local charity, to the trash or recycle bin, or a more appropriate location in the home.

Be sure to take a lunch break, a tea/coffee and cookie break, or a short walk outside to alleviate any stress or negative emotions your friend may feel. Talk with her about these feelings, and offer her your understanding.  Or, hopefully, you will be enjoying accomplishing this goal together that the time will fly. You may find that you and your friend feel much closer by sharing this activity. 

If you’ve any questions about the process of helping your woman friend, please get in touch with me!

And, 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