Spring Cleaning: Declutter Your Attic

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

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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

Spring Cleaning and Clearing

 

Reuse tiny boxes for storing jewelry

 

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

 

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 mid May. Vacuum, dust, rearrange furniture, purge, and organize the stuff in each room. This week, I vacuumed the apartment and brought some items I didn’t need to the Salvation Army store.

2.  Sort through one shelf, drawer, box, cabinet and bin at a time. Keep it simple, so you do not get overwhelmed. I just de-cluttered and organized my kitchen utensil drawer that I’d let get out of hand. It’s never too late to take control of your own clutter.

messy kitchen drawer      Organizd kitchen drawer

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’ve been using my plastic covered containers as needed. You can also sort through and purge any full containers you have to make them re-usable. Perhaps you can use old ice cube trays, empty egg cartons for storing jewelry or other small items, or checkbook boxes for drawer dividers.

5.   Take a few minutes before work or after work to recycle plastics, wash a counter, sweep the kitchen floor. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that life will be easier if you take on this task each day. Yesterday, I washed the dish drain tray, which took about three minutes.

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’m a big procrastinator, but when I get a household task or organizing project accomplished, I feel great!

Look around your home or apartment – what can you use in a different way?

And, 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 telephone consultation to discuss your
clutter issues, contact Judy 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

‘A Solution to the Never Ending Clothes Pile’

xcluttered-rocker        cleared-rocker

Are your clothes strewn in piles all over your bedroom with barely a square inch of floor showing? Do you tell yourself that you will put them away, but never do because you just don’t have time to deal with this process? And, do you live out of your laundry baskets, but get confused as to what clothes are clean or dirty?

I have to admit that as a very busy person myself, I don’t always put my clothes in the dresser drawers, or the clothes closet each evening when I get ready for bed.  Sometimes, they pile up on my bedroom rocking chair, and a few items can creep on to the floor as a mess of pants, sweaters, shirts, pajamas, etc.  If the pile stays like this for more than two days, I feel disgusted with myself.  At this point, I put everything where it belongs, and am happy to see my lovely clothing free rocking chair once again.

One solution to the ‘clothes pile problem’ is to choose a storage system that will serve your limited tolerance for spending time ‘managing your clothes’. First, eliminate visual barriers by removing furniture with drawers. Replace with floor to ceiling open shelving, or better yet, with cubbies, an easier system to use.

You can create areas in the cubby for each person sharing the bedroom. Use separate cubbies for shirts, pants, underwear, socks, etc… And, label each section. Cubbies towards the top can be used for clothing and accessories used less frequently. Install hooks on the wall to hang clothes that don’t need to be washed each time you wear them. This will keep these clothes separate from the dirty laundry. And, label the laundry baskets or bins CLEAN & DIRTY ONLY.

Folding, or just putting the clothes into the cubbies is quick and easy. Your bedroom will be more open and spacious, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

I’d love to know the system you use to store your clothing and accessories.

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

Manage Your Magazine Clutter

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March is certainly coming in and staying ‘Like a Lion!’ And it’s already spring. Do you have an excess of magazines or store catalogs? Are they stacked in piles, filling up shelves you could use for something else, or overflowing bags or boxes?

With the crummy weather forecast for this weekend, why not take some time and sort through those magazines and catalogs. And, while you are at it, also deal with those alumni college magazines you’ve been holding on to for years.

A couple of years ago on a cold and rainy day, I set aside a couple of hours to deal with my many magazines. On that day, while gathering my magazines, I looked under the table next to my couch, and in addition to the full magazine rack that was there, I noticed another full magazine rack I’d forgotten about just behind the front rack!  So, I looked through all of the magazines I had held on to, recycled most of them, and chose some to give to the garden club raffle.  I made the decision to keep just a few of the most relevant magazines and up-to-date catalogs. Since then, I only receive one garden magazine in the mail, and do research on-line for any gardening information I need.

You can do the same on any bad weather day. Gather up all the magazine subscriptions, catalogs and other periodicals you have saved that are taking up space. Do you truly enjoy all of them? Are they a good use of your time or space? Or, do you let them pile up thinking you’ll read them when you have the time, but never do. This is the time to purge, recycle and give them away. Keep only the most recent subscriptions that you truly love, and know you will read within the next couple of months. Libraries, doctor, dentist and therapist offices are good places to give your magazines to.

If you want to terminate any magazine subscriptions, call their company office to cancel any magazines you no longer want.

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

For each current issue you receive in the mail, toss the previous months if you haven’t read it yet.

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

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 Clean Out Your Closet Week’

hanging shoe holder          clothes in color order

Did you know that the third week of March is ‘National Clean Out Your Closet Week’?  

Even though it’s not quite spring outside (20 degrees today, but feels like 6 degrees below with the wind chill factor) in the Boston area, the third week of March is a great reminder for everyone to begin taking small steps towards spring cleaning.

Remember that, March 14 is ‘Clean Out Your Home Office Day. And, once you’ve taken care of your home office (or even if you haven’t), you can begin to overhaul your closets the following week. I’m going to clean out and organize the back hallway closet, and then see if my clothes closet needs help.

Below are some tips on cleaning out your closets:

  • Begin with one closet, perhaps your clothes closet. Schedule a block of time to begin and complete the clean out in one session.
  • Remove everything from the closet. Clean the inside walls, shelving, and the floor. You may decide to paint the interior a more pleasing color, install new lighting, or use some decorative containers for storage to save space. If you decide to make some changes, set aside extra time to do so.
  • Sort the items into categories; shoes, pocket books, belts, scarves, shirts, sweaters, pants, dresses, skirts, jackets, and anything else that was in there.
  • For items that don’t belong there, put them aside to relocate later.
  • Get rid of what you don’t need, don’t love, doesn’t fit, is damaged, out of style, and haven’t worn during the past year. This means throw out, repair, give away.
  • Decide on a plan so you know where to put things back in the closet. Do you want to put your shoes in a hanging shoe holder bag or in a shoe rack instead of jumbled on the floor, hang your clothes in a particular order, (I like hanging my clothes by color scheme; all blacks, greys, whites, blues, reds, etc. in that order on the clothing rods), or arrange folded items on the shelves differently.
  • Then begin putting them back one category at a time. You can always change or rearrange the items.
  • When the first closet is clean and re-organized, reward yourself by doing something fun or pleasing for a job well done!
  • Then, it’s on to the next closet; clean, purge and reorganize.

There’s seven days during the third week of March, hopefully allowing you time to take care of all, or most of your closets.

Organizing your closets will make it easier to locate items in a timely manner, thus simplifying your life. Let me know how it goes, and if you have any clever and creative ideas you’d like to share with my blog readers.

 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

snow-storm

Here in the Boston area, it is snowing and blowing!  Spring will arrive soon enough, but you don’t have to wait until the air becomes balmy, and the daffodils poke up from the ground to do a major or even minor cleaning. 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.

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