JANUARY: ‘National Clean Out Your Closets Month’

clothes in color order

Not only is January known for making New Years resolutions, but it is also ‘National Clean Out Your Closets Month’

Is your closet a jumble of clothes, shoes and accessories that are hanging disorganized on clothing rods, and also piled on the closet floor?

If so, try the following suggestions for cleaning out your clothes closet:  

• Before you begin this process, gather up some large bags or cardboard boxes, some grocery sized bags, and clear plastic containers with lids for distributing the extra closet clothes you’ll be storing elsewhere or giving away.

• Pull out all your clothes and pile them on a bed or large surface.  Sort these items into separate categories; dresses, pants, blouses, sweaters, shoes, scarves, etc….

• Then pick up one item at a time and ask yourself if you love it, need it, dislike it, or don’t need it. Items that don’t fit any more, that you don’t love or need can be donated. Hang up the ‘keepers’ in the closet temporarily.  (More regarding this step later} or if they are worn during another season, pack them away to store elsewhere in your home.

• If you haven’t worn any items in a year, give them away. (this can be a difficult decision, but be realistic). Chances are you’ll never wear them. Clothing that is torn or beyond repair can be donated as rags for charity if not too far gone.

Try the following suggestions for organizing your clothes closet: 

• If you don’t already have the popular velvet style hangers, invest in some. These are inexpensive, and clothing will not slip off them. They can be purchased at Home Goods, Target,  or any other store that sells household items.

velvet clothing hanger

•  Using your new hangers, I recommend arranging all clothing in the closet in a color coded fashion. Kind of like a full spectrum rainbow. In my closet, I put all the black clothing on the left part of the hanging rod. Then the grey’s to the right of the blacks. The next color-by-number sections are the purples and dark blues. Light blue clothing hung next, followed by reds, oranges, and then whites. You can hang them via color, but in categories.

• Wishing you had a closet organizer? Stop wishing and buy one. There are over the door closet organizers for shoes or scarves.  And containers or cubes that stack.

Hanging shoe holder        clothes in plastic container

• Stack certain categories of clothing such as sweaters, gym sweats, or jeans on your closet shelves instead of in the dresser. I do, and it works very well.

• Keep only one season of clothing in your closet and store the other season’s clothing elsewhere. You could even store seasonal clothing in vacuum-sealed storage bags to free up space.

• Hang just one outfit for the next day on the hook or knob outside your closet door.

• Keep a small bench or step stool near your closet for easy access to clothing on high shelves.

During this January month, cleaning the closet and organizing your clothes closet can result in less chaos and an easier time locating your clothes; thus simplifying your life.

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

 

Too Many Books?

 

too many books

TOO MANY BOOKS

I don’t think I ever had a lot of books of my own. I used the local libraries, borrowed books from friends (all of which had to be returned), and went through phases of collecting some self help, fiction, mystery and fantasy books. Most of which I gave away over the years. I do enjoy buying fiction at yard sales as they are very low priced, and also exchanging books at the Little Free Library ‘take a book, leave a book’ boxes in front of people’s local houses to feed my reading needs.

And, I did have a fair amount of gardening books which I had purchased over the years to further my expertise in my gardening business. The gardening books took up 1.5 shelves in the built in glass door cabinet in my former apartment. With my upcoming move to another home, I sorted through these gardening books, and donated about 20 of them to be sold at the Somerville Garden Club’s annual plant sale. I reviewed the books again, and donated 18 more that I knew weren’t that necessary to keep. I gave away more than 1/2 of these.

Do you love books but have too many? Are they overflowing the bookshelves, taking up space on a chair or couch, or piled on the floor? I’m sure that some of these fiction, non-fiction, art, music, and other book topics you’ve collected over the years mean a lot to you, but most likely many of them are just gathering dust.

Why not share your wealth and give some away! Set aside an hour per week, and sort through at least one shelf on your bookshelf, or a couple piles of books. If you bought it a while back and haven’t yet read it, maybe it’s time to let it go. Fill a box (or boxes) with the books you no longer love, want, or need, and share the joy of reading by donating them to your favorite charity, library, local prison, or to ‘More than Words’.

‘More than Words’ located in Waltham, MA, is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, or homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by managing the organization’s online and retail bookstore and cafe. Check out their website – http://www.MTWyouth.org  or call 781-788-0035. Recently, a client I was working with to cut down on his hundreds of books, had the crew from MTW pick up 84 boxes of books! If you have at least ten boxes of books to donate, the organization will pick them up for you.

I’d love to know how many books you’ve got, and how you let go and distribute them.

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

Make ‘Getting Organized’ One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

xmas wrap      Suitcase & wrappings

I stick to a pretty simple New Year’s resolution in regards to organizing. Rather than make it complicated or difficult for myself, I follow three simple resolutions; Clear, Sort, Store. And, I make a list of what task I am going to do first and when to do the task. Because of my work and social schedule, I allow several weeks in early January to take care of all these things.

Recommended organizing tasks for the New Year:

– Back and front hallway entrances: Unclutter the vestibules that lead from the house to the exit doors. And, unclutter landings that lead to the basement or other areas. For good Feng Shui energy and safety reasons, be sure to keep the area behind the doors clear of all things. (the photo used in this blog shows a back hallway before clearing)

– Kitchen Pantry: Go through the shelves and drawers and throw out any food items with an old expiration date. Re-organize those shelves/drawers as they most likely are out of order.

– Bedroom: Sort through your clothing. Pack away any summer clothes and accessories still in the closet and drawers. Donate or give away clothing you haven’t worn in the past year.

– Living room, Study or TV room: Recycle magazines, newspapers and junk mail that is cluttering these rooms. Magazines can be donated to physician and therapist offices. Take mugs, glasses & plates lying around to the kitchen to be cleaned.

– Home office: Tidy up your desk. Test all your pens to see if they still have ink. If not, throw out. Recycle and re-organize the papers on your desk (including those little scraps of paper you’ve written notes on) and in your files. Delete all of those hundreds of emails that are taking up too much space.

– Address book: Update the addresses in hard cover and virtual address books.

– Holiday Gifts: If you know you won’t use particular gifts, and can bear to part with them, either exchange them for something you’d prefer or give them away instead of having them take up space.

– Holiday Decorations: Don’t let holiday decorations, gift wrappings, or cards sit around for too long after New Year’s Day. Avoid clutter by packing them up and putting them back into storage.

Send me a message to let me know what you are going to accomplish.

You’ll feel lighter, have peace of mind, and freedom from clutter!

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

Hand Made Evergreen Swags and Outdoor Arrangements

img_5617

    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