The Simpler the Better

Receiving a thank you note in the mail is pleasant. It’s even more pleasant when you’re being thanked for something you didn’t realize would make an impact on the other person. This happened to me when I offered a simple organizing solution to a Realtor I had met at a networking event. She asked me if I had any ideas how she could keep all her real estate forms portable and organized. I suggested a portable accordion file. The next thing I know, I’m reading a very sincere thank you note that makes me smile. It just goes to show you, sometimes the simplest organizing solutions are the best solutions. In this case, find a good home for paper and things. read more

Yard Sales

Selling what you no longer want or need is one way of bringing in a bit of extra cash, so long as you know what you’re in for. Yard Sales are a lot of work. If you want to give it a try here are my top 5 tips:

1. Spread the Word – if no one comes, you won’t be selling a thing. List your sale locally, both on line and in print. Share the date with friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.
2. Price to sell – remember people are looking for bargains. Group things together by price and have a colored sticker code. This beats having to print up or write up price tickets.
3. Get a permit – some towns require a yard sale permit. You don’t want to have to pay a fine, if your town requires a permit, and you don’t have one. Check with your town hall before you plan a yard sale.
4. Donate after the sale – establish the rule that nothing from the sale goes back into the house or garage. Instead pick a donation location before the sale and set up a pick up date or drop off date.
5. Have cash on hand – make a trip to the bank before your sale so you’re prepared. Only accept cash as payment, and have plenty of change and singles to make for smoother transactions. read more

The One Month Cardboard Box Test from Peter Walsh’s book It’s All Too Much

In his book, It’s All Too Much, Peter Walsh offers a simple test to determine what kitchen utensils you are using and what can go:

Not sure what you use and what you don’t?  Here is a tried and true way to find out.  Empty the contents of your kitchen utensil drawers into a cardboard box.  For one month, only put a utensil back into the drawer if you take it out of the box to use it.  At the end of the month seriously consider discarding everything that’s still in the cardboard box.  Face it: If it’s still in the box after four weeks, you don’t need it! read more

Spring Organizing Tips

Happy Spring! The calendar tells us it’s upon us, even though there’s still a bit of snow on the ground. However, I did spotted a robin on my walk the other day. I get inspired by spring, the bright yellow daffodils and crocus, the chirping peepers, the fuzzy pussy willows, and the return of the song birds. It encourages me to start something new and freshen up my space. What about you? If so, I’d like to share a few spring organizing tips:

1. While you’re getting out your spring and summer cloths purge those items that you didn’t wear last year and any items that are a bit too snug. Donate to a local charity or look into a consignment shop. read more

One In and One Out

I’ve been on a hunt for a new dressy winter coat for quite a while. I kept my old one, since I didn’t have a replacement yet, even though I hadn’t worn it for a few years. But I decided it was ridiculous to hold on to it when I wasn’t wearing it and there were people who actually needed a warm coat to use. Out it went.

With the help of a stylish pal, I finally found a great new coat. When I brought it home, I did what I always try to do when I update my wardrobe: I looked for the old one to put in the donation pile. read more

Downsizing Your Home Library

I worked with a woman recently who had accumulated a fairly large home library over the years.  Because her library had out-grown her bookcases, she had little stacks of books all over her house.  Novels waiting to be read were neatly stacked on the bottom shelf of her night stand.  Business-related books were stacked up in her home office.  Her husband’s sports trivia books were piled on the shelf underneath their coffee table in the family living.  Finally, technology caught up to her.  Two years ago, she bought a Kindle and her library became irrelevant – especially that stack of books waiting to be read! read more

The Secret Weapon for Constant Decluttering: The Donation Box

In my closet, I have a very important box.  Depending on the time of year, it can range from completely empty to completely full.  I love this box because it helps me in my quest to keep our home clutter-free.  It’s my Donation Box.

Right now, inside my donation box are:

  • some decorative items that we no longer love (but are still in good shape)
  • electronic equipment that we don’t use anymore but could be really helpful to someone else
  • some clean clothes that no longer fit

On the outside of my Donation Box is a label with the phone number of a charity which picks up my donations.  As soon as the box is full, I call the number on the label to schedule a pick-up.  Then, I put the label with the phone number on a new box and put it in the closet to collect any future donations. read more

Time to Declutter: Five Ways to Know that It’s Time to Get Rid of Something

  • It doesn’t work. Your home is not a landfill.  I understand that you don’t want to contribute to the growing landfills, but that doesn’t mean that you need to harbor garbage in your home.  It’s OK to throw things away when they don’t work.
  • It no longer serves a useful purpose. If you don’t use it anymore, it could serve someone else much better.  Sell it or donate it.
  • When you look at it, you feel crummy. If something has bad memories or associations, let it go!  It doesn’t matter who gave it to you or how long you’ve had it.  If you don’t love it, wouldn’t buy it in a shop, or it makes you unhappy when you see it, then it doesn’t need to be in your home.
  • It’s only taking up precious space. I understand that many of us have enough space to keep some things that we mayneed or do not exactly love, but those of us who have limited space need to be very careful that extraneous items don’t take the place of the items we do use and love.
  • You don’t want to clean it, dust it, pack it, move it, or insure it. If you don’t care enough to maintain it, you’ll enjoy the extra space much more once it’s gone!
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    Donate Your Old Cell Phone to a Worthy Cause

    I recently upgraded my cell phone.  In doing so I was left with an old phone that did not have service and was not providing me use.  I did not want to throw the phone away as I’m sure there is an appropriate recycling method for cell phones nor did I want to keep it stashed in a drawer to take up space and constantly remind me that I had not done anything with it.

    I came across an organization that accepts used cell phones and distributes them to domestic violence agencies.  I was thrilled to see that not only would my phone be recycled, but go to a good cause.  And there is a bonus: you can mail your old phone to the company at no charge to you.  Their website offers a label you can print from your home computer and attach to an envelope.  Drop the envelope in the mail and you’re done. read more

    A Professional Organizer & Her Clothes Closet

    Into every life a little organization must fall, even a professional organizer’s. There are several areas of my home that are due for a tune up.

    What most people don’t recognize is that organizing isn’t something that you do once and are eternally done. Your life and your systems change. Your needs change. You bring more stuff into your world and thus need to take the time to decide what is ready to be removed.

    Exploring my clothes closets:
    This week, it was my bedroom closet that was in need of some love and attention. Still containing shirts, sweaters, and shoes left over from my college days (ok that’s about 10 years ago for me folks…don’t get too excited,) my closet has been in need of some updating and weeding out for some time. With the assistance of an image consultant (Margaret Batting, www.eleve-style.com), who’s helping me to bring my wardrobe into alignment with my current work and life, yesterday I spent 4 hours weeding through every piece of clothing I own. read more