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

 

 

 

 

Letting Go of Stuff You Don’t Need

catalog clutter

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
• Scrap-booking 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
Letting Go of Stuff You Don’t Need

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

Too Cold Outside? Clear Catalog Clutter!

catalog clutter

Clear Catalog Clutter now that it’s so cold outside. Why not stay indoors, and accomplish a bit of clearing and organizing of your stuff. Particularly reviewing the  catalogs you currently receive. Pull together the ones that have been laying around taking up space. Do you truly enjoy all of them? Are they a good use of your time? Or, do you let them pile up thinking you’ll read/review them when you have the time, but never do.

If not, call the catalog subscription office today to cancel any magazines you no longer want.

Or to cancel your catalogs go online to: http://www.catalogchoice.org/

For each current catalog you still want to receive, review it, and be sure to recycle 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.

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

Procrastinating? How to Make Chores or Organizing More Pleasurable

dish washing

Do you procrastinate, and put off the daily organizing tasks that you need to accomplish because it’s just not fun doing them? 

I used to put off doing the dishes after a meal because I didn’t like doing so, and was too busy in my life. I didn’t and still don’t have a dishwasher to clean them. Before my move, the dishes used to pile up in the sink. It’s not a pretty site to see them sitting there with the food sticking to the plates, pots and silverware.

Sometimes it’s easier to ignore what needs doing until the next day, or the next day, or…… If, like me you care about your home, and really dislike the clutter (e.g.  dishes in sink, clothes piled on the floor, too many papers on the desk) I bet you’re thinking, how can I find pleasure in doing so?

Plan something fun/enjoyable to do during or after you’ve finished the chore.

  • Create a ‘chore reward chart’ to stick colorful stars, flower or animal stickers on after each task is completed.
  • If you wash the dishes right after eating or load the dishwasher, there will be less to take care of, and it will be quick. Leaving you more time to do fun things.
  • Once the task is done (or while doing it), listen to your favorite music, book-on-tape, or talk show to educate and inspire yourself.
  • Reward yourself with a pedicure or manicure, or sit down and read a favorite book or magazine.
  • Ask a friend or family member to help you, tell you some jokes, sing with you.
  • Call a friend you enjoy talking to, and brag about your accomplishment.

If you choose some of these practices while doing these tasks, and take care of them regularly (making them a habit) you will feel really good when you get up in the morning and the sink is clear of dishes, or the clothes in your bedroom are hanging in the closet instead of piled on the floor. I know I do!

Try some of my suggestions to make doing tasks and getting organized fun. Do you have some other ideas?  Let me know.

________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE: I will be teaching a ‘Free Yourself from Paper Clutter’ class

Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 PM – March 5, 2019 – $28 

And same class on:

Wednesday, 7:00-8:30 PM – April 24, 2019 – $28 

Contact – Brookline High School
115 Greenough Street, Brookline
https://bacep@brookline.k12.ma.us/   617-730-2700

To register: http://register.asapconnected.com/courses.aspx?coursegroupid=6373

______________________________________________________________________________

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

Make Files not Piles

 

Piles on desk       Make files in file cabinet not piles

Are you wondering where that piece of paper is that you are looking for?  You are sure it’s on your work desk. But where? Are your papers/documents filed where you can find them easily? Or, are they in lots of piles on your desk?

There are two ways of thinking about this. Filing vs. Piling. You either File or you Pile. ‘Pilers’ will say that they know just where everything is. (I’d be surprised if they did). Piles are not a method of organization. Sometimes, I let papers become one pile on my desktop. When I notice this happening, I immediately sort through them and put them where they belong. My office work becomes much more stream-lined and I get more accomplished.

If you’d like to find an important document quickly, File it! Otherwise, you will shuffle through those piles and make more of a mess.

Do you think that keeping papers filed is complex & finding them takes too long? It shouldn’t. Once you’ve got everything filed into a filing cabinet, or movable filing box, you will save time and increase your productivity.

Below, I’ve listed Seven Simple Steps to ‘Stop Piling and Start Filing’ your papers.

  1. Decrease the Paper – Keep the incoming papers to a minimum and unsubscribe from magazines, catalogs and newsletters you don’t need and never look at.
  2. Use a Desk – Top File Sorter – As soon as inbound papers such as bills, notices, statements, etc.. arrive, organize them by category into a desk-top file sorter. Stacking papers on top of one another in an inbox can lead to piles. (See cluttered desk image above)
  3. Throw it Out if in Doubt – (Recycle is really what I mean) Of all the papers you keep, you most likely need only 99% of them. If this information is available on-line or elsewhere, there’s no need to keep it. You can always look it up.
  4. Shred and Recycle – Shred those important documents that contain pertinent personal information, and recycle the rest.
  5. Photograph Reference Items – If you are holding onto an item for reference, use your smartphone/iPhone/digital camera to take a photo of these  documents, printer cartridges, used up pens, etc… Recycling these items will get rid of some of your desk clutter.
  6. Get a Scanner – Your printer may already have a scanner as one of its features. If not, purchase a small portable scanner for your desktop, or even use your iPhone for scanning. Save these documents as PDF’s on your computer or laptop.
  7. Paper Management – Process your papers regularly, or they will ultimately become piles again; sooner than you think!  Schedule  a consistent time, such as every Friday at 9:00 AM for 30 minutes to do your filing.

Do you File or Pile your papers?________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE: I will be teaching a ‘Free Yourself from Paper Clutter’ class

Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 PM – March 5, 2019 – $28 

And same class on:

Wednesday, 7:00-8:30 PM – April 24, 2019 – $28   

Contact – Brookline High School
115 Greenough Street, Brookline
https://bacep@brookline.k12.ma.us/   617-730-2700

To register: http://register.asapconnected.com/courses.aspx?coursegroupid=6373

 

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