Spring Cleaning: Declutter Your Attic

Spring is this Thursday; time to begin spring cleaning and decluttering.  Why not begin with your attic?

IMG_5073                   IMG_5656

During early summer 2018, I was in the process of moving from the apartment I’d lived in for a number of years to another home.  I spent a good amount of time going through my small attic; deciding whether I wanted to keep, throw out, or donate the items stored there.

Some of the downsizing decisions I made were easy, and some difficult. I felt like some of my organizing clients who feel attached to their memorabilia from the past; having difficulty deciding what to do about these things. There were plastic containers holding costume gear including vintage hats, papers and ceramic tiles from a former business as a potter, two boxes of family photos, and more nostalgic items. Among my stuff there were also holiday decorations, an old printer, framed prints, winter clothing, and a beautiful long vintage coat my mother had custom made for herself in 1940 (the coat still fit me).

I brought the printer to the DPW trash area, sold most of the framed prints, got rid of some of the ceramic tiles, and donated a lot of the holiday decorations. Going through the boxes of family and personal photos, I threw out of people my parents had known that I did not, plus many of my repetitive travel photos. I kept some of the nostalgic pottery documents & photos, a few of the framed prints, most of the winter clothes, costumes, and of course the 1940’s era coat.

If you have a long time cluttered attic and haven’t yet tackled it, schedule an hour or two of your time when it’s convenient. Begin by labeling some empty bags or boxes with “shred, recycle, throw & give away, donate, keep”.  Dress in comfortable old clothes, put on your work gloves and be prepared to deal with things that will bring back old memories (good & not so good). If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, ask a friend or family member who will not be judgmental about your ‘letting go and keeping’ decisions, to be there as your ‘body double’. (Someone to sit with you and keep you company while you declutter).

After your one or two hours of purging, decision making and bringing the full bags & boxes down from the attic to distribute as appropriate, reward yourself with a nice treat – a hot bubble bath, a walk in nature, a nap, or a do a happy dance singing ‘I did it, I started tackling my cluttered attic!”

Then schedule a few more one to two hour sessions for the near future to once again tackle your attic stuff.

Let me know when you begin this task, and how you feel as you progress with the ‘letting go’ of attic stuff.

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

Organizing: Some Storage Space Suggestions

Does it seem that your home office or business office has no space left to store things? Here are some ideas on how to take advantage of other unique organizational 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.  Or like myself, I use a sturdy wire mesh cart on wheels, (about the size of a plastic milk bin) that I can slide out easily from under my desk to retrieve file folders when I need themhanging shoe holder.

Around your Window: There might be space next to 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 window will make the room look neater and bigger.

Inside your Office Closet: If you are using the office closet for supplies, add a two drawer file cabinet, or low book shelf for extra storage. Hang a ‘multi-pocketed over-the-door shoe holder’ for storing small office supplies. I have one of these ‘over the door shoe holders’ that actually holds winter hats and gloves.

On the Wall: If you have a small bookcase with nothing on the wall above it, add a couple of shelves, and/or hang a cascading letter filer tote on the wall near the desk. These cascading totes are great because you can snap them closed and carry them wherever you go, as they have a handle on top. They come in really handy!

Portable file tote snapped closed    cascading organizing file holder

Do you have other space saver ideas to use for getting the office organized?  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

What’s Working, and What’s Not Working for You?

Old blender

When I talk to my clients about their disorganization issues, I first ask them what’s not working. Answers vary from “I’m overwhelmed by my clutter, I can’t find a thing, I’ve no place to put stuff, my files are a mess, I forgot where I put my things,  I’m embarrassed to invite anyone over, and nothing’s working”.

What’s not working for me is my memory and my ‘Imperial Osterizer Blender’.  “I have been unable to let go of my old blender”.  I inherited this wonderful blender in 1980 when my siblings and I were wrapping up our parents’ estate. I think the blender is at least 45 years old. For sentimental reasons I’ve held on to it, even though it’s pretty yucky looking. The glass receptacle has had a slow leak from the bottom for the past few months and the blender’s speed buttons are not all working. Today, I totally forgot that I had kale and soy milk ready to be blended as the first two ingredients of a smoothie. I got side-tracked writing a blog post (not this one), and the slow leak got faster and dripped onto the pantry floor. While wiping up the mess, I knew I had to dispose of this cherished object and buy a new one. So sad.

So…. What is Not Working for You?

Fill in the blanks below, or compose your own statements on what isn’t working:

My clutter ……………………………

I am unable to ………………………..

There is nowhere to put………………………………………….

I can’t……………………………….

I feel………………………………..

Then I ask clients what is working for them in their home, office, lives.

Most of my clients are surprised to discover that there are some systems of order they have created that do work for them.

And….What is Working for You? ………………………………

Now that you’ve thought about this, let me know what is and isn’t working for you.

 

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

Excuses for Holding on to Stuff

old receipts

Is it easy to get rid of outdated receipts?

 

It’s easy for some people to let go of unneeded items. But, you may feel reluctant or guilty getting rid of sentimental items, as well as everyday mundane stuff, knowing these things bring no value to you anymore. Could this be you?  What are some of your best excuses, including guilt, for holding onto sentimental items, or just any old clutter?

• I’d feel guilty if I got rid of it
• I might need it someday
• I might read it someday
• I might fit into this again
• It was a gift I can’t give away
• I’m saving it to give as a gift

Below is a list of some of the things that
some people feel fine about parting with:

• Old notes on small pieces of paper
• Old shopping receipts and unneeded invoices
• Recipes cut from magazines but never used
• Cookbooks, other books no longer in use
• Outdated cosmetics and toiletry items
• Saved pieces of wrapping paper for re-use
• School notes and school books from the past
• Letters and birthday cards not meaning much
• Gifts you’ve kept from guilt rather than pleasure
• Scrapbooking supplies you’ll never use
• Desk clutter; too many pens, highlighters
• Clothing that doesn’t fit, or has gone out of fashion
• Old extension cords, outdated electronic gadgets
• Broken lamps, used light bulbs

Yes, other folks may have an easier time letting go. But, it really is OK to get rid of stuff. If it’s ‘guilt’ or some other reason that keeps you from doing this, give yourself permission to let go of your stuff ‘guilt-free’. 

What are your excuses for holding on?  Can you feel good about yourself if you let something go?

 

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

‘Mind Clutter and Meditation’

 

meditation and clutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you ever think about how a cluttered home or office, and things outside of ourselves in this over stimulating world, are connected to a cluttered mind?

Is your living environment cluttered with an abundance of stuff that you’d really like to get rid of, but you just can’t take that first step because your mind is triggering feelings like anxiety, overwhelm, shame, or uncertainty?

Are your days filled with busy schedules, work and family demands, to-do lists, and many other distractions such as electronic cell phones, laptops, computers, TV, GPS, on-line games, etc.? Thus cramming your mind with too many things to do, too many thoughts to think, and too many things to listen and respond to?

I get caught in this ‘cluttered mind’ trap too. But, I have found a solution that helps (even if temporarily) calm my thoughts, and relax my mind. Meditation. 

You can attend meditation classes, research the subject on-line or in the library, or join a
meditation group. Or, you can simply take time each day to sit quietly on your own, perhaps listen to soothing music, and choose to let go of your ‘mind clutter’. If you haven’t meditated before, begin by sitting quietly for 15 to 30 seconds, (until you can do so for a longer amount of time). Take some slow deep breaths in and out. Listen to your breathing, listen to the sounds around you, and feel the air on your skin. Even this short amount of time can bring you into the moment, free of ‘mind clutter’.

A friend of mine suggested that I try meditating to the on-line website, ‘Insight Timer’. https://insighttimer.com/     (You can also get it as a free APP). People from all over the world can listen to any of the numerous musical and guided meditations of their choice via this site. Now, every day, (once or twice) I take a few minutes to listen to a four minute guided meditation that focuses on breathing, and being in the moment.

Do you have a meditation practice? If not, I highly recommend you give it a try using any method you find works best for you. My blog readers and I would love to hear how meditating helps you clear your mind.

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

 

The Difference between Cluttered and Organized

Have you ever thought about the meaning of these words? And how they relate to you?

Cluttered Office

Organzed office

Below are distinguishing definitions I have quoted from http://Dictionary.com/
with some of my own thoughts added.

CLUTTER

noun: clut•ter
1. A confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble: “It’s impossible to find anything in all this clutter.”

verb: clut•tered, clut•ter•ing, clut•ters
1. To make disorderly or hard to use or find by filling or covering with things. “Boxes filled with all kinds of stuff cluttered the living room.”

ORGANIZE

verb: or•gan•ize, or•gan•ized, or•gan•iz•ing, or•gan•iz•es
1. To put together into an orderly, functional, structured whole. “We are organizing all of the books.”
2. To arrange in a coherent form; systematize: “Organize your file cabinet using the alphabetical, chronological, color-coded, or like-with-like method.”

I imagine that you’d prefer an organized space over a cluttered one. It’s never too late to begin to sort through your things and make decisions as to what to do with them; give away, throw away, recycle, shred, keep. Start today using baby steps to get rid of your clutter and get organized. Ask a friend, family member, or professional organizer to help so you don’t have to do this alone. And, let me know how it goes.

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

 

 

Tips on Uncluttering Before a Move

Sorting for the move

Are you moving to a smaller home/apartment in the area, or moving out of town or state? If so, I recommend that you begin the coordination and the organization of your moving process well ahead of time. Even if you are very busy with work, family, extracurricular; basically your life, it’s important to make the time.

I have been living in the same place for over twenty years, and if I ever move elsewhere, I will begin downsizing at least several months beforehand. I once had a housemate who was moving to Brooklyn, NY and was going to move in a month’s time. I encouraged her to begin packing her things right away. She told me there was no rush, and she’d pack during the week of her departure. Well, was she surprised the day before the moving van was to arrive that 1/3 of her belongings were still not packed. Although I was concerned for her, in her rush to complete packing, she left me with a number of useful household kitchen items, including a large wooden cutting board.

Here are some helpful tips to follow for un-cluttering when faced with a major move:

  • At least two months before moving day, come up with a plan to un-clutter before you pack the belongings you will take with you.Take a walk through your home as objectively as possible, and write up a simple list of visible items in each room, including closets. Record items you will Keep, Sell, Throw Out, Recycle, or Give Away.
  • You may have piles of stuff in the closets, on furniture and tables. If this is the case, you will need to sort through the items individually while composing your lists.
  • Before you begin the actual sorting process, collect an assortment of paper grocery bags, large sturdy plastic bags, or boxes to hold the sorted items. Make labels for the Keep, Sell, Throw Out, Recycle, or Give Away categories using a magic marker directly on the containers/bags, or written on pieces of paper you can tape or staple on the surfaces.
  • Give yourself a goal to downsize your stuff in a major way. Having less stuff to move, unpack and re-organize makes it easier for you. Let go of at least 25 to 35 percent, or even more of your belongings. You will find the letting go process to be very freeing.
  • Then mark off three hour increments in your calendar to tackle the sorting, deciding and purging. If you have an overabundance of items, give yourself at least five, three hour sessions to accomplish your tasks. Deciding and sorting can be challenging, exhausting, and sometimes overwhelming. Take frequent breaks to rest and clear your mind.
  • Once everything is sorted, distribute the items to the appropriate sources: selling on eBay, Craig’s list, at local consignment shops, via http://CleanOutYourHouse.com/ or via http://MaxSold.com, trashing the throw-away’s, recycling documents that are generic, shredding documents that contain personal information, and donating items to your local charity. This part of the process can be not only time consuming, but require heavy duty labor. So, ask for help.
  • Once you’ve let go of all this stuff, you are ready to pack for your move. Be sure to contact a reputable moving company at least one month before your move date. If your move will be in the summer, call movers two months in advance to insure availability. Or, if you and friends will be doing the move yourselves, contact a truck rental place with enough time to be sure they will have the size truck you need available.

If you are moving in the near future, I’d love to know how these tips helped you. And, if you have any other ideas on the sorting, and purging and moving process that works well for you, let me and my blog followers know!

Stay tuned for my blog post: ‘A Moving Check-List to Help You Prepare’

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