Clutter Can Cause Stress

Clutter In Your Home Can Cause You Stress

Clutter - we have all seen it, and chances are we all have it. Too much “stuff” for the space we have. What do you do with it? What do I keep, what do I give away? Where does it all go? Indecision on what and how and where to put everything is the source for the majority of people who have a problem with clutter.

clutter

How would you feel walking into this dining room? Relaxed, calm…ready to take on the world? I don’t think so. If you are anything like myself or most of the people I know (and no, they are not all professional organizers by the way) you would feel instant tension, stress and frustration. This family has not been able to eat at their dinner table for a very long time. The household was full of tension due to this living condition throughout the entire house.

Clearing out the clutter, the extra “stuff” and “fluff” that you don’t need and use, can clear out our heads. It can give you a calm and peace. Too much stuff in our visual field can put too many thoughts in our head of other things. Say for instance you have to go into the spare room to water the plant. You walk in and see a huge mess of things; instead of walking directly over to water the plant you think, “Oh, there is the shelf sitting on the floor that I have to fix and I almost forgot that I have to move that box of books up to Tommy’s room. But wait I can not forget to get those pictures over to Grandma Millies! Now what did you go into that room for to begin with? Oh yes…to water the plant that is crowded on the desk and is almost dead.”

clutter

Our lives are so complex in this world. Mail, e-mail, bills, taxes, work, family, lessons, sports, more bills, poor economy, cooking, cleaning, more bills, etc…
We already have so many things floating around in our heads and we are trying to keep them straight that we need a place that can be “de-cluttered”, feel peaceful and be relaxed. If it isn’t our homes, where will it be?

I know it can seem completely over whelming trying to think about how to get rid of it, how do I begin? There are people who are actually trained to help you. I know that money is a major factor right now, and if you do not have the budget to hire a Professional Organizer (they actually go through things with you and help you make those decision and work out a plan as to how a system can work) you can still find many resources that are free to help you.

The internet is one major free bookstore!! There are articles and web sites and blogs to read mammoth amounts of information on and gleam ideas from. If you go to your local library there are books that you can read to help you on organizing. There are TV shows (although not realistic in the time frame it appears to transform a room or home in)you can still pick up tips from them.

Don’t try to do it all on your own. Make this a family project and work together to discover that living in a home with “less” can actually give you a lot “more” than you imagined.

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Time Management

Clutter Messes with Your Time Management

Does Clutter Make me Late? You would be surprised at home you manage your time can be influenced by clutter around your house.

cluttered office

 

Clutter can make you late!

“What, do you mean by that?” you may say. But clutter and time management can go hand in hand as a problem.
“Where are my keys? I know I just laid them here, maybe they are under this stack of mail.” “I just need to grab that report for the meeting, but where is it?” “Mom, where did my red jacket go? I’m going to be late for school!”
Do any of these sound like your house?
When you have extra clutter sitting around choking up the “clean, clear, calm” space, then you also have clutter sitting in your head…choking up the “clean, clear and calm” space in your brain. When you do not have a clear brain to think with, you are going to have too many thoughts…too many things jumbled in your head and lose track not only of what needs to be done, but in what time frame it needs to be done in. Simply put, Too much stuff in your house + Too much stuff in your head = Being Late.
Being late out the door, being late to pick up the kids, being late with reports due, being late paying bills, being late to the meeting – sound familiar?

So what do you do? Clearing out the clutter from your home will result in clearing out the clutter from your head which will in turn help you to focus and plan your day more productively which will then lead to being on time.
Sounds simple doesn’t it….NOT!

How Do I Clear out the Clutter?

Use your 5 signs to designate your piles to sort.

sorting guidelines

 

Supplies

Get white trash bags for your donate and black for trash (so you don’t mix them out when you take them out of your house.
I prefer clear plastic storage bins for long term storage.
Make sure you have some form of labels to label your bins.
Give yourself 2 hours of time if you are able. Do not think you will get an entire room done, just start out with a smaller goal.

Pick up each item, look at it fast and think:
1) Do I use this?
2) Do I need this?
3) Do I like this?
4) What is the worse thing that can happen if I don’t have this?
Don’t spend more than about 5-10 sec. on each item, otherwise memories start popping in and you “personalize” that item. You want to keep it “depersonalized”, otherwise it can be too hard to get rid of.

Time Management

Break down your day into 15 minute increments.
For instance: If you have to be at the school by 3:00 to pick up the kids, but you need to go to the bank and grocery store first then plan it this way:
3:00 – Be at School
2:45 – Leave for school. (It takes 10 min. to get there from school – but use 15)
1:45 – Be at grocery to do the shopping.
1:30 – Leave from bank to go to grocery. (It only takes 8 min. to get there, use 15)
1:15 – Leave for bank. (It only takes 10 min. but use 15)
So to get to the school by 3:00, you need to leave the house by 1:15. You will have an extra 17 minutes to play with if there is traffic, or if the grocery store is crowded. If you end up being early, just keep a book you are reading or a steno pad in your car to make a “to do” list.
Now make sure that 15 minutes before you get ready to leave the house you get your keys, grocery list, banking items ready and have stopped by the bathroom.
So if you need to, set your timer on your stove for 1:00. Once you get in the habit of using 15 minute increments to plan things out, it will become easy and natural and you won’t have to worry about being late.
Because your clutter is now cleaned up off that kitchen counter, you can find those keys and bank book and grocery list and you can get out the door on time!
Time management is much easily accomplished when you do not have clutter blocking your path!

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Sort

Sort The Clutter

When you sort through all your things how do you know what to keep and what to get rid of?

What is your goal?  What would you like to end up with? A room you can see the floor in? A closet you can fit your clothes in?  You need to visualize the space you want to unclutter and sort.

With your vision in mind – you have to decide what is important enough to keep in your new space.  If everything holds the same importance to you and you can’t let go of everything, you will not accomplish your goal and you will not have cleared the space.

Take each item and make a fast decision.  Decided which category it belongs in below.  I suggest either getting boxes and labeling them, or make signs to use for your piles.

The key is to remember that if you keep everything, you won’t be any closer to your goal.

Don’t worry if Aunt Susie gave it to you and you don’t want to hurt her feelings. Do YOU like it and does it add value to the space? If not, then it is alright to donate it, or give it to another family member who might really like it. Take that item and in 5 fast seconds say to yourself, “Do I love this, use it and want it?” Simple as that. (I know it isn’t really that easy…but the more you do, the easier it gets.) I know there are the complicated items, I know there are the sentimental items.  But you have to make a first run through.  Then you can deal with the more difficult items like a pipe your grandfather smoked or a Precious Moments Collections of your mothers.

Sorting Categories

Sorting Keep

Love It: (Keep)

1) Love It
2) Use It
3) Want it or Can’t live without it

Tip: Remember, you can’t LOVE everything or else you will not make any progress

Sorting Donate

 

Donate:

1) Won’t Use
2) Don’t Like
3) Doesn’t Fit

Tip: Think of other people who could benefit from the items you are donating. Why let them sit there, when others need them so badly? 

Sorting move it

Move It: (Keep)

1) Wrong Room

Tip: Only Move the things that you LOVE or items that you have to Store. Don’t just shift the mass to another room. 

sorting store it

Store It: (Keep)

1) Seasonal
2) Can’t give it up
3) Can’t Use Now

Tip: Be selective in what you store. You don’t HAVE to save every Christmas decoration etc. Use the same sorting process for holiday decorations.  For items you “Can’t Give Up” allow yourself one plastic bin or box for your “cherished” items. Call it your special box. If that box gets full, then decide which items need to come out to make room for others. Give yourself limits and stay within them. 

sorting trash - recycle

Trash/ Recycle:

1) Broken
2) Torn
3) Can’t Donate

Tip: Please do not donate items that aren’t in good enough shape to use. That just means someone else has to get rid of your trash. Recycle as much as possible, but move it out of your home. Don’t plan a zillion projects to recycle old items into new, otherwise you will not be able to move out from beneath your clutter. 

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Donating

Donating Clothes & Toys After Christmas

You house just became a crazy place again didn’t it?  Now you have all these NEW things to find places for!  I will be many of you still have new clothes sitting in boxes full of tissue paper, still not put away. The drawers are full, closet is full… where will they go?

Toys sitting on the floor because the toy box or shelf is already over flowing with toys. Right?

Now.. I want you to be totally honest with yourself here.  I want you to go look at that closet, those drawers, those toys.  How many of those things have been sitting there, untouched for months? Maybe even years.  We all do it. We hold onto things.  That dress that looked so awesome, 50 pounds ago; that baby toy that we got and loved for your son that is now 10 years old. You know what I mean. It’s difficult to give things up.

Now, I want you to think about that family that has a father who lost his job, or that single mom who is working two jobs to help feed her three kids, that family that had a fire (probably in the news in the last week huh?) and lost everything.

donating                                                             (picture from google picasa)

Look again at your closet…. think about those who can really use those things…. look at those toys…. think about those kids who got absolutely nothing for Christmas.  Can’t you make some room in your house?

Selling Them?

I know of many people and hear many people who plan to sell everything.  I understand that, I get it – but… how long has that plan been in place? Have you ever executed it? Have you gotten that ebay store going like you keep saying you will?  When can you have the garage sale? In the summer… 6 months away?

Garage Sales - I have had garage sales in the past, I think they can be great. I can always use the money too. If the time of year is right, you have the motivation and time to do it… great – great… get ‘er done! If you can’t have one for months, then forget it.

I say – donate it and take the tax write off.  Help others and clear your house NOW!

Where do you donate?

Good Will
Local Shelters
Check with your Church or a local church
Check with your local Food Pantry
Check online for many resources

This is a food pantry that isn’t far from me.  I had a friend who used to work here. Most donate their time.  They had food that they gave out to those in need.

donating

They also have a clothing thrift shop.  As I remember anyone could come in and purchase the donated clothing & toys at very low cost and for families in need, things were free.

thrift shop

Here was the pile of clothing and items that people had donated that the staff had yet to go through for the day.  You can’t see, but that pile was up to about my waist. Awesome!

donating

When Donating 

Please don’t give them broken toys or toys missing pieces
No torn or damaged clothing (if you can’t wear it because of damage, others can’t either)

Donate and feel good, knowing you have just helped yourself and your family (by creating needed space, teaching valuable lessons to your children, helping with taxes, doing the right thing) and also knowing you are helping those in need.

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Hoarders Are People Too!

What Are Your Thoughts About The Hoarders On TV?

hoarding

Have you watched some of the shows on TV about hoarding? Had you known this condition existed before you first saw about it on TV?

What are your thoughts about hoarders? The people who live in those situations, those houses filled with junk? Would you want to be friends with them?

My guess is that there are hoarders that you know…. but you have no idea they are hoarders. They are usually very “normal” people. People you see everyday at work, at school, in the neighborhood but you have no idea that they have a problem.

This is the home of a client I once had. She was a very sweet, nice woman. She has many unfortunate events happen in her life that led up to this. No one knew her home looked like this. She had a full time job, was very involved in her church, but kept this a secret. She was too embarrassed to let anyone know.

She wanted help, she wanted to move past all the stuff and she knew she needed help.

I put out comments on Twitter about hoarding, for instance:

“You might be a hoarder if: You can’t find a place to sit down in your house because all your chairs have stuff on them. #hoarders”

I had a disturbing comment back to one of those tweets.  Someone said,

“I bet that show just makes your skin crawl! Those ppl are soooo gross! All those dead cats, rats, spoiled food….yuck!”

It actually made me cry. Now also realize that I had just come home from seeing the movie “The Help” and it was a disturbing movie portraying the treatment of the black maids had to go through back in the 60′s.  But it just made me SO sad that someone thinks of the people as “sooooo gross.”  I think specifically of the two clients that I had that were true hoarders. Both were very nice people… not gross. They just both had problems that they needed help with.

I commented back with this:

“Hard 2 watch but I feel 4 those ppl. They have real illness, I don’t think of them as gross, just their situation #hoarders

I think the hardest part about hoarding is that people don’t understand it is an illness. They do just look at the people who live in home filled with junk and often filth as “filthy people”.  They view the people simply as “lazy” and “gross”.

For the majority of hoarders, this condition has developed over time and their accumulation of “stuff” has grown over time.  It isn’t like they lived in a pristine home one day and the very next had stacks of stuff piled everywhere.  It happens gradually and gradually their defenses, their coping mechanisms build up so that they rationalize their situation as “normal”.

The illness has trapped them into a life where their “stuff” is their security, their safety net, their sanity. So that the thought of losing that stuff, is intolerable to them. They don’t feel they can cope in their daily lives without it.

What about people who smoke? It isn’t really the same, but you can draw parallels.  The smoking is the coping mechanism to help deal with stress. To go without cigarettes for some people is intolerable… they need them to deal with what live hands them.

I know they are completely different things…. the smoking just popped into my head when I was thinking of vices that people need to cope with everyday life.

Please try to watch those shows (if you do) with compassion, with empathy, and with caring for the people.  You can think their living environment is gross and filthy (usually it is), but don’t relate the grossness & filth to the person.

The woman who owned this home, got some other help (she was also receiving psychological help) from her church members I think. She wasn’t able to afford to have me (or any other Professional organizer) help her for long. I suggested to her to reach out for help from her church – they would be more understanding than she thought. There was no way she could do it physically by herself, even if the mental part of it wasn’t there. But she did receive help, was able to clear the things out and move into a smaller home like she planned. There is hope!

 

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What Would Sandy Suggest – Week 5

I’m in an Office Mood I think

When I think about what I would suggest when I walk into a room…. I have to stop…. and think.

cluttered room You first off have to find out what the client wants out of the room.
1) What do they want to use this space for?
2) What is their vision for this room?
3) What storage is available?

You can’t fit 20 gallons of gas into a 10 gallon tank right? So if you have too much “stuff” and not enough space to store it… then something needs to go.

Organizers aren’t miracle workers, we can’t create more space in a home. We can help to utilize the space that there is to the fullest.

“Life” happened to this person. A spouse died expectantly a year or so before, and things went kind of crazy. But they wanted some help and guidance.

There were several cats in the home, and thank goodness I didn’t have allergies. But getting used to the smell wasn’t easy either.

Suggestions:

1) Sort through the Clutter. Separate into A) keep B) Donate C) Store D) Trash/Recycle

2) Rearrange if needed to make a usable space – Move bill area to the sturdy desk and decrease need for the folding table.

3) Use existing supplies (client didn’t have finances to purchase new)

4) Clean the space (cat droppings, dust, dirt)

5) Support the client in her decisions

It was a very long day but we were able to accomplish making a livable, usable space. Simple but workable.

If you are wondering… this person was not a hoarder. The rest of the house wasn’t not this bad. This was the “catch all” room that got out of control.  They were open to getting rid of stuff and were very excited to have the room back.

What Happened:

1) We cleared out most of the clutter.

2) We kept the arrangement of furniture the same. The client liked having 2 separate desks and was not open to combining the work spaces.

3) We did basic cleaning. (Carpet cleaning and deep cleaning were still needed)

4) We separated paperwork into boxes  to go through later.

5) There was still several boxes to the left of this picture that the client had to go through. The budget did not allow for me to come back to help as we had planned. But I gave the client the basic knowledge so that they were able to ask themselves the same questions that we did when we worked together.

Not every space has to be organized to be “pretty”.  Being able to help people with the basics and to utilize what they already have is important. Often times I go into situations that the client really needs help. They might not have the finances to do anything but get the help – meaning… we work with what they have.

So… keep that in mind if you feel you don’t have the “money to organize”. I have heard that so often. Going through your things and deciding what to keep or give away doesn’t cost a dime. It just takes time.

Before:

After:

You can do a lot in one day. It wasn’t perfect, and there was still more work to be done… but together we were able to accomplish a lot.

If you have any spaces that you would like help on and would like to be featured in an upcoming week, please leave me a comment that you would like some help.

If you have any blog posts of an office that you have reorganized and would like to link it to my Organizing Mission- Monday link party – please add it to my Link party by clicking my button

I also would LOVE it if you could vote for my blog.  You can vote once a day!


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Organizing One Step at a Time

It doesn’t have to be hard to Organize, just break down the steps

You have now blocked out that time on your calendar to Get the Job Done.

What is the next step?  Get Prepared for that day.  How?

Try and decrease distractions.
I suggest black and white trash bags.  Black for trash, White for donate.

Change the mind set.

Stop thinking about it as drudgery, but think of it as organized space coming!

So crank up the music and get in the mood to have an uncluttered area….use positive thinking here.  Visualize what you would like the space to look like.  Think how good it is going to feel when you have accomplished the task.

Start with sorting.

Each item has to be looked at and a quick decision has to be made.

Keep – Do you USE it, do you LOVE it, does it FIT?
Donate – Don’t like it, Doesn’t fit, Don’t use it, Still in good shape
Move – It doesn’t belong in this room. Move out of this space.
Store - Use it but only once or twice a year. Holidays, camping etc.
Pitch – Broken, in no shape to donate (recycle if possible)

Clean

You should have less to put back in your space now.  This is the time to clean out those cupboards or the space good. It isn’t very often that it is probably empty.

You can measure the space to see what kind of organizers you may need (if any). It isn’t a good idea to go out and buy a bunch of organizers unless you have already measured the space and have an idea of what you need.  If you do not want to waste the time here and have an idea of what you think will work, please make measurements before you buy anything.  Then keep your receipts so that you can take the item back if it doesn’t fit or work like you thought it would.

Organize – A few tips

Now put the items that you are going to keep back.

Remember:  Like with Like!
Keep the cans together in your kitchen. Keep the extra office supplies together in your office. Don’t have some of this and some of that in the space.

Zones
Think in zones for your space.  What do you do?  For instances…in an office.  Your Zone A or zone 1 would be the space around your desk chair and desk that you can reach. Things you use daily and often, such as your phone, your pens, your stapler and letter opener.

In your kitchen you can do the same. For instance for your stove area, you should have your pot holders within reach of your stove. Your pots and pans should be near your stove.  For your dishwasher, your plates and glasses should be near it if possible.  Decrease steps when making the space functional.

Have fun organizing and let me know how you feel after a space is done.  It is like a “feel good” moment for me!

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The Organizing Fairy

Excuses don’t get the work done but the Organizing Fairy can right?

(You can’t see a fairy’s face you know….they won’t come to visit if you see their face….don’t you know anything?  Duh? lol)

I know..I know…we all wish we had one (I do too some days….although I would much rather have a cooking & cleaning fairy). But unless we do have an organizing fairy…guess what? The job still needs to get done.  Unless you always want to be living in a messy zone.  So even though we can have a zillion excuses….we still need to find a way to get the job done.

I know…that is the yucky part right?  So the question now is..how?

The first Step is schedule the time to do it. Get out that calendar.

I know it would be wonderful if we could add 4 hours to each day in order to get more done….but unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.

Block out a couple hours in your schedule a few times a week.  If there is a way you can devote several hours to get started…that would be wonderful, but if not – do what you can.

Maybe turn off the reality show (DVR it!) and use that time if you work during the day.
It might have to be after the kids are in bed if you can’t get anything accomplished while they are up.
It might be that you need to bring in a babysitter for a few hours or have in in-law watch them.

It is all about priorities. If this is a priority to get done in your life, then you need to put it on as a priority in order to get it done.

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Excuses…Excuses…Excuses

We all have excuses as to why we can’t organize right?

Sure we do… anything to justify why our place is a mess.  Sound familiar?

I’m not saying some of your reasons are ligitimate…. I know there are always reasons why we can’t do things we would like to.  I’m right there with ya!  No…really!  I have been crazy busy with my blogs.  Do you think my house is perfect?  Think again… it is not.

But…like any excuses – they will only keep us from achieving our goal…if we keep believing them.

Here….let’s go over a few really good ones for why your house isn’t organized. Which is your favorite?

1) My life is just too busy to organize

2) My house isn’t big enough!

3) My husband or kids make all the mess

4) I can’t get rid of it…I AM going to use it….one day

5) I am going to lose all the weight this year so I can fit into those

6) It was a gift…I can’t get rid of it

7) It was too expensive just to get rid of.

8) It will be worth something ….someday

9) I don’t think it’s so bad – everyone just says that

10) There is just too much…I can’t do it!

Which one sounds most like your excuse?

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Does this clutter make me Late?

How Can Clutter Make you Late?


“What, do you mean by that?” you may say. But clutter and time management can go hand in hand as a problem.
“Where are my keys? I know I just laid them here, maybe they are under this stack of mail.” “I just need to grab that report for the meeting, but where is it?” “Mom, where did my red jacket go? I’m going to be late for school!”
Do any of these sound like your house?
When you have extra clutter sitting around choking up the “clean, clear, calm” space then you also have clutter sitting in your head…choking up your “clean, clear and calm” space of your brain. When you do not have a clear brain to think with, you are going to have too many thoughts…too many things jumbled in your head and lose track not only of what needs to be done, but in what time frame it needs to be done in. Simply put, Too much stuff in your house + Too much stuff in your head = Being Late.
Being late out the door, being late to pick up the kids, being late with reports due, being late paying bills, being late to the meeting – sound familiar?

So what do you do? Clearing out the clutter from your home will result in clearing out the clutter from your head which will in turn help you to focus and plan your day more productively which will then lead to being on time.
Sounds simple doesn’t it….NOT!

How Do I Clear out the Clutter?
Use your 5 signs to designate your piles to sort.

Get white trash bags for your donate and black for trash (so you don’t mix them out when you take them out of your house.
I prefer clear plastic storage bins for long term storage.
Make sure you have some form of labels to label your bins.
Give yourself 2 hours of time if you are able. Do not think you will get an entire room done, just start out with a smaller goal.

Pick up each item, look at it fast and think:
1) Do I use this?
2) Do I need this?
3) Do I like this?
4) What is the worse thing that can happen if I don’t have this?
Don’t spend more than about 5-10 sec. on each item, otherwise memories start popping in and you “personalize” that item. You want to keep it “depersonalized”, otherwise it can be too hard to get rid of.

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Time Management

Are you always running to catch up?

 

Does that sound like you?  Do you have a reputation for being late?  Do people tell you an earlier time just to try and get you there “on time”?  Time management and being disorganized or having clutter in your head…can go hand in hand.

Break down your day into 15 minute increments.

For instance: If you have to be at the school by 3:00 to pick up the kids, but you need to go to the bank and grocery store first then plan it this way:
3:00 – Be at School
2:45 – Leave for school. (It takes 10 min. to get there from school – but use 15)
1:45 – Be at grocery to do the shopping.
1:30 – Leave from bank to go to grocery. (It only takes 8 min. to get there, use 15)
1:15 – Leave for bank. (It only takes 10 min. but use 15)
So to get to the school by 3:00, you need to leave the house by 1:15. You will have an extra 17 minutes to play with if there is traffic, or if the grocery store is crowded. If you end up being early, just keep a book you are reading or a steno pad in your car to make a “to do” list.
Now make sure that 15 minutes before you get ready to leave the house you get your keys, grocery list, banking items ready and have stopped by the bathroom.
So if you need to, set your timer on your stove for 1:00. Once you get in the habit of using 15 minute increments to plan things out, it will become easy and natural and you won’t have to worry about being late.
Because your clutter is now cleaned up off that kitchen counter, you can find those keys and bank book and grocery list and you can get out the door on time!
Time management is much easily accomplished when you do not have clutter blocking your path!

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Five Steps for Organizing

Organizing Made Simple

 

Basement before organizing July 08
Organizing a basement, room or home can be completely overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you do with everything? How much will it cost?

So often we don’t do anything because we don’t know how to do it, or it seems too “big” to do anything at all.
But to do nothing accomplishes nothing.

Step 1: Pick your target zone.
Decide what area you want to work on first. Do not say, “My whole house”. More like, “I want to work on the desk in the corner of the family room.” The hard part when you get sorting is to stick to that target zone. You can’t take something to put away into another room, because then you will see something in that room that you want to move and you will lose focus.

Step 2: Set an appointment on your calendar to start your project.
Try to give yourself at least 2 hours to start your project. Hopefully if you haven’t started too big you can finish. Take “before” pictures. When you finish and take your “after” pictures, it will help to keep you motivated to not let it get back the way it was before.

Step 3: Have your supplies ready to start.
Do not go out and buy a bunch of organizational products. You do not know what you are going to need yet. You may have it somewhere in your home. I suggest getting:
1) Black trash bags for trash
2) White trash bags for donate (so you don’t throw away your donate bags by accident)
3) Clear bins with lids or boxes
4) Labels – masking tape can do the job and a sharpie marker
5) Your sorting lists

Step 4: Make Sorting List
Get a piece of paper and a marker and write this on each one:
1) KEEP – Love it, wear it, use it, can’t live without it.
2) DONATE – Do not like it or use it, doesn’t fit, it is still in good shape and someone can use it.
3) MOVE – It doesn’t belong in this room.
4) STORE – Seasonal items, occasional use (camping, skiing equip. etc)
5) TOSS – Trash, torn, broken, missing pieces, not in any shape for anyone else.

Step 5: Start Sorting
You need to make a decision on each item in the space you are organizing. You have to make fast decisions. give yourself about 5-10 seconds for each item. Do not sit and recall memories for each thing, or start looking at old pictures. When you do that you are “personalizing” that item. The goal here is to “depersonalize” these things in order to get rid of them.

Once you get started, it will get easier and the feeling you get when you are finished with your first project will spur you on to do more.

After organizing

I have posted this before, but with different pictures. This is a basic post that I will post periodically to help new readers.

 

 

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Hoarders

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Hoarding or Chronically Disorganized

Hoarding….What is it all About?

hoaring

Did any of you watch the new show on A&E (Mondays at 10pm est).  It is called appropriately enough…”Hoarders”.
It gives the real life picture of what a hoarding house looks like….the thought process that the hoarders go through and their reasoning in why they “need” to keep their “stuff” and how they get rid of it…or do not get rid of it.  This is real life (from what I can tell) and shows the real emotions of these people. They get very anxious when people try to throw their things away if they have not made the decision themselves.

Hoarding. This is an Emotional Problem

This is an emotional problem.  There needs to be a psych. Dr. involved and helping to treat the person for the changes to stay in effect.

The picture above is a garage.  If you will notice that the boxes almost touch the garage door hardware on the ceiling….yes that is the ceiling! This is a woman I worked with last year. She is a hoarder…and knows it. She has books on organizing and is determined to get out of the mess she is in.  She has a very limited budget ….a disabled husband, and no real help.  She wants to move into a 600 sq ft house that her son (deceased) used to live in. Her house is a 4 bedroom home with basement and garage full. It would be cool for her to be on a show like that and get the physical help she needs.

But I love hearing what these people are saying….because I feel like I have heard most of it out of the mouth of my client.  They have a reason for each thing they have and have a hard time giving it up.

Hoarding is a serious emotional issue…it is not just lazy people.  Would love for you to see the Chaotic Kitten of Dehoarding Diary.  She is a hoarder who is decluttering her house and blogging on it. She has before and after photos. Love her and so proud of her.

You also might be interested in these pasts posts of mine:

What if I’m a Hoarder? What do I do?

Hoarding

Dehoarding Diary Works it Out

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National Clutter Awareness Week


I just learned that the 4th week of March was National Clutter Awareness Week! (thank you @clutterdiet on twitter for making me aware of it.) The beginning of spring and spring cleaning does make sense for the perfect time to declutter.

The biggest reason for most people to have clutter is because you do not have a place for everything you own. So it gets set down on a table or desk and then just continues to accumulate, and accumulate and accumulate.
You may think..”I don’t have clutter”. But look around. Are the surfaces of your counters and side tables clear? Can you find the surface of your desk? If you can’t..then you too may be guilty. LOL….heck, we all are at some point!
If it is past a point that you can’t take 10 minutes and pick it up and put it away…then you may have a clutter problem.
Generally it is because we have more “stuff” than we have room for the “stuff”.The solution is simple – decrease the stuff. Simple. Right? No..it usually isn’t that simple.
Start small. Set a timer for 15 minutes and pick a small space. A junk drawer maybe, or small desk top. Think fast and don’t ponder on one item for more than a few seconds. (you have to “depersonalize” it)
Decide 1) Do I use it?
2) Do I need it?
3) Does it add value to this space?
4) What is the worse thing that will happen if I don’t have it?

Then you can decide if you need to keep it, can donate it or throw it away.
Give it a try.
Wouldn’t you rather work in an space like this instead of the above? (Yes it is the same space after we sorted, decluttered, painted and moved furniture.)

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Stockpiling


Stockpiling is a bad word to a professional organizer. So why am I discussing it? Because that is evidently one of the keys to making the couponing valuable and saving you money down the road. To buy the items when they are at their cheapest and then using them when you need them.
With the economy at its worse in most of our lifetimes, there are some things that we all need to change.
For me it may be that stockpiling can change from a “dirty” word…to a “valuable” word.
Actually, I don’t mind a little stockpiling. I have no problem with having a back up peanut butter or ketchup.
But with the economy it may be something that needs to be done a little to help out the family budget.
I do think that it would be easy to get carried away though.
If you realistically as a family would never finish 24 boxes of cereal before the expiration date or bugs got into them…do not buy them!
**A “good deal” is not a “good deal” if that “good deal” ends up in the trash!
If you are able to get something almost free or very inexpensive and know you can’t use it or won’t use it – please locate a food bank or family in need near you and donate it.

Point #1
Make sure you have the space to put up some shelves that are safe from bugs and moisture.
Point #2
Only buy it if you can use it before the expiration date, or if you can donate it to someone who can use it within the time frame.
Point #3
Make sure that you keep your stockpile organized. First one “in” needs to be the first one “out”. So that you do not have things get expired. Put the newest items you buy of that product, behind the older ones.
Also be sure to know exactly what you have. Put “like” items with “like” items.
Point #4
Only buy items you know that you will use.

Couponing has been coined “addicting”. As with any “addition” it can go to extremes. Be sure to keep your stockpiling and “bargin” buying under control, so that it truly is saving your family money.

*Here is an example I just found at Milk Donor Mama, she talks about all she bought and how she did it and how much she saved. But what I think is great is at the end of the article she explains what her family will use, what her parents will use and then how she will donate the rest! Love it.
(photo found on photobucket – nope…not my stockpile…although those bags of chocolate sure look good!!)

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Hoarding

October 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Hoarding or Chronically Disorganized

Hoarding – Are You A Hoarder?

Hoarding is more than just a messy house. It is a real psychological problem. There are usually a few things that help define hoarding.

hoarding

Have you seen the shows and wondered if it is a problem you have, or know of someone that is a hoarder?

1) Buying or picking up free items and refusal to part with them or even move them. Many times they are of useless or have limited value and usually aren’t being used for what they are intended.
2)The person’s home is so cluttered that you can use the spaces as they are intended.
3) significant limitations in functioning and distress over their situation they are in because of the hoarding.

I recently saw a show on TV called “How Clean is Your House”. They had a contest looking for the messiest house. Most of the pictures if not all of the pictures they showed for contestants were that of hoarders. Not one time during the show (unless I missed it) did they mention hoarding. The “winners” of the contest were a mother and her two daughters that had a terrible hoarding problem. The entire house was packed full of junk. The mother was the worse and they showed many times her refusal to part with something and her stress over the situation. I am hoping that they also got them all some counseling along with their new house make over so that they will not fall back into their same patterns,but they never mentioned anything like that. It was very disturbing to me that they never mentioned hoarding on the show at all or talked about these people needing some real treatment.

Treatment

Treatment is key to making a change for these people. Counseling should be for sure and many times medication is also used in therapy. That along with help from a professional organizer can make dramatic changes in a hoarders life.
Hoarders want to change (most of the time)and many times try on their own and fail and then they fall into deeper depressions and give up even more and their situations can become life threatening.
When we work with clients who are hoarders we need to assess to what level their hoarding is. Is there a place to sit in their house? Are there pathways in the rooms to get to things? Are doorways blocked? Are there pets in the house and if there is, is there animal urine and feces? (Many times animals can’t get to a door to be let out)

Hoarding is a very big problem and should not be looked at as just a “messy house”.
If you think you are a hoarder you can go to this web site and look at the “clutter hoarding scale” and evaluate yourself. www.nsgcd.org (National Study Group for Chronic Disorganization)
Just as there is help for other problems, there is help for hoarders and they should be no means ever feel like their situation is hopeless.

Disclosure: I am not an expert on hoarding, nor do I claim to be. Please follow up with the NSGCD if you feel you have a problem or know someone who does.

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