30 Things to Declutter in 30 days this Fall

30 things to declutter in 30 days fall edition

 

Fall is here and we jump back into school, routines and holidays.  We want to be efficient because we have a lot on our plates at this time of year. Some of these items should be donated, some put in the trash or shared with others.   You want to clear clutter because the holidays are coming!

  1. Junk mail
  2. Expired coupons
  3. Summer or spring catalogs
  4. Bag of single socks
  5. Excess shopping bags
  6. Instruction manuals for items you no longer own
  7. Extra pens or pencils
  8. Old cosmetics
  9. Magazines over 6 months old
  10. Expired medicine
  11. Extra boxes
  12. Broken holiday ornaments
  13. Broken cups, plates or dishes
  14. Last set of technology, including devices and phones
  15. Old coats you have replaced with something more contemporary
  16. Old sweaters you haven’t worn in 2 years
  17. Scarves that don’t match any attire
  18. Games with missing pieces
  19. Half used coloring or game books
  20. Earrings without a match
  21. Book you won’t read again
  22. Night stand drawers
  23. Broken small appliances
  24. Pantry shelves and expired food
  25. Landing strip and entry
  26. Shoes that are uncomfortable
  27. Underwear with holes
  28. Extra bedding
  29. Unused hair care or toiletries
  30. Anything that does not have a home.

Now that you are in the decluttering groove, it’s a great habit to continue each day to release one item into the universe to bless others.

 

Organizing a Home Inventory

 

Organizing a home inventory

 

 

Watching all the devastation on television, we are reminded of the necessity of organizing a home inventory.  Even though September is annual National Preparedness Month, organizing a home inventory may be the last thing we do as homeowners.  Those of us who recently suffered flooding may be required to have a home inventory for insurance and tax purposes now.  This can be a time consuming and difficult. Here’s how organizing your home inventory makes a difference for you.

 

Check your insurance coverage first

There are different options for home insurance coverage.  Check your policy for coverage of your home, especially to determine what is covered and how it is covered.  Your policy could be cash value where you begin with receiving cash/check for the existing value of your items.  Or your policy could be replacement value, where you receive a check to replace the items at the current cost. Check to be sure what type of policy you have.  Check coverage on big ticket items, such as jewelry, art and collectibles which may have increased in value and require additional coverage from your standard homeowners insurance policy.

 

Inventory of your home and contents

An inventory, or list, of all the items in your home is required to be compensated.  There are several ways to do this.  Create a video of your home and it’s contents, talking through the names and details of the items.  Copy the video and place one at your house and another someone else’s house. Keep a file folder for receipts of major purchases. (My clients have these separated by electronics, furniture, appliances, and jewelry. Be sure these have a date to help you with cash value. Your receipts can be digitally as well. You can use an online inventory called HomeZada.  HomeZada helps you manage the process of creating the inventory by room.

 

Here’s what to be sure to include:

  • Description of the item ( Star Furniture love seat sofa or Pottery Barn sofa)
  • Where you purchased item (Macy’s, Best Buy)
  • Original price (if you have the receipt you can scan and attach it)
  • Make and model, or serial number if available
  • Purchase date (helps with depreciation, by year)
  • Estimated value

 

Organizing your vital documents

This might be where you are most organized!  Many of us have a safe or a waterproof grab and go box. Here’s a list of what should be a part of your vital documents. You can also keep these documents digitally on Evernote or save them on a flash or external hard drive in your waterproof box or safe. Be sure to use strong password for your Evernote account.

 

In Case of Loss

Through the devastation of the flood, I have learned of several important parts of inventories.  Not only is it important to have an inventory and keep it up to date, it’s also important to have the video or pictures of what your home looked like before. That is needed for your insurance company. If possible, keep two copies of your photos and inventory with one stored offsite.

 

Start your home inventory now

  • Start with one room, then move around your home adding rooms.
  • Start with recent purchases, then work backwards
  • Start with the most expensive or big ticket items first.
  • Count clothing by category and by designer.  Make note of any items that are especially valuable.
  • Store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals in a file or digitally.
  • Add to your inventory as new items are purchased.

I am here to help with creating and organizing your home inventory! Get started in a small way, organizing your receipts or taking a video, to help you feel secure in case of emergency.

 

 

Start Small Go Big

Start organizing small, then go big

 

 

How can SMALL and BIG be used together for organizing?  When we think of these opposites, can we use these together in getting organized?  Well here’s how!

 

Organizing and productivity are overwhelming. The most frequent question is how do I get started?  Whether your view is a cluttered desk or home, it’s not clear where, when or how to get started. And what about the next steps? Is that starting with the small of units, like organizing your paper clips or the shoes in your closet?  Or do you go big with the big stuff? Here’s answers to these 2 important questions.

Start small

I love the question, how do I eat an elephant? Its the analogy I use most often in presentations.  Of course the answer is one bite at a time!  It’s in getting start in a small way that gets you started at all.  It doesn’t matter if you take a nibble at the trunk or the foot, starting with a nibble gets you started. Your nibble in your home could be the junk drawer in your kitchen, the floor of a closet, the shelf in a linen closet or the papers in your kitchen.  Nibbling can be an amount of time, like only 15 minutes.  A nibble can be a number, like picking up 3 items to donate.  Your office nibbling can be your inbox, a bookcase, or a file drawer.  Decide what small looks and feels like to you then set a date on your calendar to commit.

 

Go big

Look around at your home or office.  What’s the big stuff in your way?  We organizers call it macro organizing.  Start with the big stuff when you keep on organizing.  It’s not the time to launch into complex sort ing of your stuff. It’s also not the time to go to that shoebox full of small random items.  Work on the big stuff first.   Big stuff open up space. That’s the space you see and feel.  It’s the big stuff that helps you break through being stuck and you feel the openness of your space.  Take a big picture with your papers too.  What are the big categories you can sort?  Broad categories make it easier to work through tedious papers.

 

Is this a new perspective for you?  Have you thought you needed hours to organize and never started?  Have you walked about from your papers after creating an overly complicated system?  Here’s a new way to make organizing happen for you.

 

Want to learn more organizing and productivity tricks?  Join my newsletter here.

 

Summertime…and the decluttering is easy (30 things to declutter in 30 days)

30 things to declutter in 30 days

 

Summer’s here and we have a slower pace.  Summer is typically when we have a little more time, our schedules are a little more flexible.  Hot spots have gathered clutter all year long and now is the time to declutter.  Not only is this a great start,  your summer decluttering efforts will be a gateway to fall. Then it’s on to more serious organizing with back to school and holidays coming up. There are definitely easy items to declutter.  Take advantage of summer to declutter 30 things in 30 days.

  1. Out of date magazines and catalogs
  2.  Extra notepads and stationary
  3. Expired coupons
  4. Pens and pencils that overflow in your pencil cup
  5. Extra gift wrap and gift bags
  6. Broken sunglasses
  7. Expired sunscreen
  8. Cosmetics and skincare products that are unused or over a year old
  9. Unused hair care products or blow dryers
  10. Nail polish that is not your color
  11. Boxes
  12. Empty jars or storage containers
  13. Shopping bags and paper bags
  14. Pools toys that won’t inflate
  15. Broken outdoor chairs
  16. Worn out or stained towels
  17. Tee- shirts you haven’t worn
  18. Old electronics
  19. Old cell phones
  20. Kids’ old backpacks
  21. Broken toys
  22. Faded, thin flip flops
  23. Books you won’t read again
  24. Expired condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish and mayo
  25. Crunched up paper goods
  26. Extra plastic drinking cups
  27. Unsubscribe with Unroll.me
  28. Delete old photos you won’t use in photo books
  29. Smart phone apps you haven’t used
  30. Any one item each day that is easy for you to declutter

 

Your decluttering may include recycling, donating, selling or sharing these things.  Make it easy to declutter by choosing what’s easiest for you to accomplish. There’s no one way to declutter, however it’s best to start small.  If you commit to one item a day, you will accomplish so much in 30 days. Get started today and share your success here!

 

Every newsletter has decluttering tips for you.  Join my newsletter here!

 

I am an Organizer Coach now!

I am an organizer coach

I have always valued education because furthering my skills makes a difference for my clients.  My clients are the reason I continue to learn new ways to help them let go, streamline and keep their intentions daily in their lives. Completing my Coach Approach training is one way for me to empower my clients with their home, work and life goals.  I am an Organizer Coach who works one on one with clients to empower your change and goals.

 

For the past year, and several years before, I have been taking classes via phone, working on skills in small groups, and completing a curriculum to become an Organizer Coach.  My classes and reading have included learning about modalities, using new tools to help my clients such as a values and needs assessment, and learning more about ADHD, depression and anxiety. Throughout the year I have coached or been coached in 3 different small groups to practice my skills and learn what it is like to be coached.

 

How do these new skills help you, my client?

  • Are you stuck and can’t get started? Coaching supports awareness, action and learning.  Your new awareness will lead you into action.  Getting started and finishing up are often holding back my clients until we work together.  Learning comes from perspectives at your success.  Overall, coaching supports maintaining the change you have created.
  • Need a trusted coach to listen to you?  I believe in the strengths of my clients. You bring thoughts and ideas and my listening brings focus to our work. Your values, needs and strengths are all a part of our work together.
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and paralyzed?  Your strengths are the foundation of organizing in your home, work and life. It’s easier to maintain the systems you establish by working from your strengths.
  • Do you struggle with ADHD or anxiety?  Brain based conditions, such as ADHD and anxiety, can impact your executive function and your goals. Our work together will move you forward as you create new awareness and learning.
  • Have you created support for your efforts?  Essential structures, such as self awareness, support and education are the baseline for your life.  Together we investigate how these essential structures support your organizing goals.

 

It’s been a busy year with training through Coach Approach, a coaching skills training program designed specifically for organizers.   I want to thank my trainers Denslow Brown and Cameron Gott, as well as my colleagues in training with me.

 

 

6 Areas to Declutter to Sell Your Home Fast

sell your home faster

A decluttered home speeds up the sale of your home.  After years of living in  your home, you have collected more than 2000 in just three rooms! It’s clear that a new buyer wants to see your home, not all the clutter in it.  Realtors know that home buyers see themselves in something beautiful, organized and spacious.  According to a 2011 study by HomeGain.com, cleaning and decluttering your home is the top method to get more for your home and a quicker sale.  Here’s the top 6 areas to declutter your home for a fast sale.

 

Kitchen

The kitchen is your first stop to declutter.  Most buyers want a big kitchen with lots of storage. Maximize your counter top and cabinet appeal by clearing off the kitchen counter top. Leave as little out as possible to showcase the backsplash and counter top itself.  Go through your kitchen cabinets and let go of odd glasses, mugs and plates.  Be sure to recycle old broken appliances.  Pack away seasonal items you won’t be using this year. Look under your kitchen sink and eliminate old packaging and leave basic cleaning supplies.  Declutter your pantry too especially if there is an abundance of items. Use up your pantry stock to minimize what is in the pantry.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are the next stop to declutter.  Leave just hand soap on the counter. Declutter under the sink area and in the drawers.  Get out the trash that is in this room.  Neatly fold any towels.   Check out your medicine cabinet for expired medications and over the counter items. Be sure your laundry is hidden away too!

Closets

A spacious closet and abundant storage is on everyone’s wish list.  Declutter your closet and keep only what you love and can wear.  Do the same for out of season clothes you have not worn last season.  If you are using closets to store decor or linens, take time to decide if these will be used in your next home.

 

Kid rooms

Your kids’ rooms and kids’ toys are especially important to organize.  Too many toys can overwhelm a potential buyer.  Pack up more than half of your kids’ toys to sell your home. While your home is on the market, plan on lots of time at parks to entertain your kids and keep their toys organized.

Office

With more and more people working from home, an organized office is critical to the sale of your home.  Gather up all your paper and go through it to shred or recycle.  Place papers by year in boxes, ready to file at a later date.  Condense all cords and keep out only what you use regularly on your desk. A tool cup with scissors, pens and markers is all you need to keep out.  A decluttered office brings out the best in your home.

 

What about offsite storage?

While generally not an advocate of offsite storage, it is useful during staging a home for sale. Out of season clothes, additional furniture, extra toys and other items you are not ready to sell or donate can be stored here.

 

Decluttering your home has a big bonus! You have more space at your new home and you have saved money not moving the extra items. If you are unsure, be ruthless and let items go.

When Organizing is NOT Enough

Declutter first, then organize

 

 

Organizing is on every one’s mind these days. If only I had time, or I need to be, or best of all, I SHOULD get organized. The thought is that if I organize what I have, I can find it and use it.  You may have tried organizing, re-organizing and then re-organizing again.  By trying different strategies,  you realize that you are not having the success at finding what you need and having access to what you want.  Being organized with all your stuff is not the solution. It’s not enough to be more organized. It’s time to make a decision about what you have ( or what has you.). That’s when organizing is not enough.

 

Breaking through Just. In. Case

What’s holding you back from letting go? It’s a moment you need to come to terms with. Is it a financial, emotional, sentimental mindset. This is the motivation factor behind Marie Kondo’s Magic of Tidying Up. If you own something, it should bring you joy. Are you ready to accept that an items needs to go if it is not serving you or bringing you joy? Can you see a real spot for this item or imagine a specific way to use it? Dig deep and see what has a hold on you to hold onto your stuff. If you need motivation, it’s time to talk through your reluctance with others and get support. Blogs,books and podcasts give you new ideas and new ways to think about your stuff.  There’s no amount of organizing that can make up for necessary decluttering.

 

Getting stuff out to the universe.

Getting stuff out is a big step in your organizing journey. You have decluttered but your stuff sits in your car or on a step in your home for too long. All of a sudden you find yourself going back into those bags. Here’s where a team approach can really help. Find online resources who come to you or answer the call to leave items on your doorstep. Find a clutter buddy who also needs to drop off donations.  Use an app such as OfferUp, LetGo, or Freecycle.org to let go of your items.

 

Declutter regularly.

We know the culprits – a birthday, holiday, shopping trip or big event coming up. We know more is about to come in. Take this time as prime time to declutter. What we also know that decluttering is ongoing that is needed as routinely as brushing our teeth. Write in time on your calendar to commit to organizing.  Check here for answers to your decluttering questions.

The same applies to our paperwork. I have frequently heard, “I organized that file in 2010 and never looked in there again.” Get information on what to keep and how long to keep it. Then set up a daily triage, weekly admin time and annual file maintenance reminder on your calendar.

 

It’s a whole new way of thinking about organizing. When you know organizing is not enough, it’s a perspective change that changes everything about what you own. Your stuff no longer owns you. So long, saiyonara, and toodles!

 

Want an organizing and productivity boost each month?  Join my newsletter here.

Professional-Organizer.com Ranks in Top 15 Best Organizers in Houston

I am delighted to be mentioned in the recent Expertise.com survey of top 15 best organizers in Houston.

 

Rated for reputation, credibility, experience and professionalism, Professional-Organizer.com ranked in the top 15 organizers in Houston.

 

I am grateful for the opportunity to assist others in streamlining their lives and prioritizing organization and productivity.

 

Learn more here about Expertise and my review:

www.expertise.com/tx/houston/home-organizers

Quick Fixes to Get Organized

Quick fixes for getting organized

 

Do you dream of quick fixes to your organizing challenges?  Don’t we all want to wave a magic wand and make all clutter go away?  By nature, a quick fix does not accomplish your real goal of getting organized. However when you have just a few minutes, there are some options that will make a difference for your organizing.

Paper organizing

Paper comes in at an alarming rate.  We have different papers we need.  What do we do with all that paper?   An accordion file is a quick fix for getting organized. This product has either 7 or 13 slots.  Decide on your categories for paper, meaning group them together by what you plan on doing with them.  This can be To do, To pay, To file, or Taxes.  Another option might be Clients, Financial, or Administrative.  Label the tabs and you have a quick fix for organizing these.

accordion file

Quick fix for papers: accordion files.

Closet

Your closet is where you start your day.  Why not make it easy to get ready in the morning with a quick fix of slimline hangers?  These hangers are truly slimmer so more fits in your closet. Everything hangs at the same height.  You will see the clothes rather than the  hangers too!

 

slim line hangers

Quick fix for closets: slim line hangers.

 

Time

There’s nothing like a timer to help us be more aware of time. Setting a timer helps us with judging how long a task takes or keeping to a specific amount of time to accomplish a task.  Either way, your time awareness improves with a timer.

timer

Quick fix for time: timer.

 

Email

Just as overwhelming as paper, email grows to dramatic proportions daily. What’s the quick fix here?  Hit unsubscribe as much as you can!  With every shopping email or blog post,  you have the option to let go.  Take a minute to scroll to the bottom of the email and unsubscribe.  Remember that minute will save you 5, 10 or 30 minutes later.

 

The quick fix for decluttering is spending 15 minutes at a time culling and eliminating. Use an energy spurt to eliminate what you have not used and don’t love in that quick fix.  Get that bag into your car right away and drop it off.

 

Be careful with the idea of buying bins as a quick fix.  It can be deceptive to stack up more bins with more stuff you won’t be able to use.

 

I’d love to learn more about your quick fixes to organizing and productivity challenges.

 

Click here to join my monthly newsletter!

 

 

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Organizing: Streamlining or Unearthing Treasures

 

organizing streamlining or unearthing treasures

 

What’s organizing REALLY about?  Working together with my clients I see two different ways we work.  I also see the goals of our work in two different ways as well.  Organizing while both strategies accomplish what my clients want, each process differs slightly.  Here is my concept of organizing as letting go and organizing as unearthing treasures.

 

Organizing is streamlining and letting go.

You are overwhelmed with stuff.   Your goal is to have less, organize it and then keep your space maintained.  The first step  in your organizing project is to review what you have.  Then you assess it’s value. Do you use it or love it?  If neither applies, it’s time to eliminate this item.  As Marie Kondo says, “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” Working on having less is often the most motivating reason to get organized.

 

Organizing is unearthing treasures.

Your stuff is overwhelming you, but just culling out is not enough.  Your goal is to keep what’s most valuable to you.  Organizing can also be about finding and unearthing treasures. You can take the “treasure hunt” perspective where you sift through items to find what is most valuable to keep.  In choosing what’s most valuable, only you can be the judge.  It may be a long lost trinket or a check.  Organizing can be unearthing items that have been buried in what’s not important.

 

 

unearthing treasures

We found this treasure while working together! What treasures have you found while organizing?

 

When you unearth treasures, whether it’s financial or sentimental, you find real value in organizing.

 

Join me for fresh perspectives on organizing and productivity. Sign up for my newsletter here!

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