Archive for June, 2011
Canning the Clutter is not an easy job for most people. For many of my clients I find there is usually an incident or event which occurs, or is soon to occur, that causes (or sometimes even feels like it forces) them to make the decision to take action. Some common incidents/events include transitions such as: grown children/families moving back in, divorce, or a sick spouse that use to be the one responsible for bill paying or home maintenance but is no longer able to. Sometimes I even find that clients have just had enough and realize things are not going to change until they have a professional step in to show and teach them different strategies to get and stay organized.
Just this past week I worked with a gal who for the most part had three different, yet all intertwined, motivations to Can the Clutter. One of her motivations was her daughter who had enough concerns with the conditions and safety of the house that she was refusing to bring her daughter (the client’s granddaughter) over to visit unless the conditions improved. Another motivation of my client was that her son and his children were coming from out of town to visit and were planning to stay with her. She didn’t have the necessary spaces clear of items and debris for them to be able to unpack, sleep, have adequate space/countertop area in the bathroom, or room to prepare meals in the kitchen and eat on the kitchen table. The last motivator for my client in deciding to Can the Clutter was through working with her therapist, she felt that the condition of her home was one of the factors contributing to her low self- esteem/motivation and unhealthy psyche.
Within 1 ½ days, myself and two of my employees were able to make enough headway to clean out and organize 3/4 of the house including the garage, the kitchen/dining area, the spare bedroom and bathroom, the computer room, and the back storage room. By cleaning and clearing out these spaces, we created a living space that was no longer enveloped with debris and clutter, but organized and spacious.
Deciding to take the step to de-clutter and organize your home is a personal decision, yet many times brought on by an incident or event. However you come to the conclusion to take action and make a change, I encourage you to contact me. I have seen the truly uplifting and positive affects in my client’s lives. I am so lucky to have such a great job where people are beyond appreciative and thankful for the work I do!
This past Saturday I participated in my first trade show at Valley River Center. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I must say it was quite fun.
I was contacted by Oasis, a company who provides services for seniors and Baby Boomers, to see if I would be interested in participating in the trade show. Most of the other vendors there were from retirement centers, so I was one of a kind, filling both of the niches between those aging and looking to downsize in the next couple of years, as well as those that just needed a little help becoming more organized in their daily lives. It was really nice because I was able to talk with individuals of all ages, and it became apparent that everyone either knew someone (or that “someone” was themselves!) and had a story to share about their challenges!
Throughout the afternoon there were many stories shared, but a couple of the stories people shared with me really stuck out.
One was from a young family with their first child. They shared that their house had one extra/spare bedroom in addition to their first child’s room, but no linen closet anywhere to be found. So as you can imagine, their big organizational challenge was to figure out how, when their second child comes along, are they going to be able to transition that spare room from their “now linen closet” to a true bedroom for another child. They mentioned that when they bought the house they didn’t even realize that there wasn’t a linen closet. They joked and said it was not on their top ten list of things to look for. You really just take that for granted, until you don’t have one! This story definitely lent itself to an organizational challenge!
The second story that stood out was from a gal who wasn’t concerned for herself, but for her parents. Her parents, who live approximately three hours away, in her words “border on being hoarders”. She shared that her parents’ parents were hoarders and their parents’ before that were also hoarders. Though her parents were still living, just the thought of all this “stuff” one day falling on her shoulders, was extremely overwhelming for her to think about. She mentioned that when she has gone to visit her parents each month, that she has tried encouraging them to get rid of the belongings that they do not need/use, but that she has not been successful. She shared that she was really at a loss for what to do. This story too has its own set of challenges. It felt good to talk with her and share some of my knowledge and networking contacts in order for her to seek out the appropriate help for both herself and her parents.
All in all, the day felt like a huge success and a relief that I could say I had survived my first trade show, and that I would do it again! Thanks to all of you who stopped by to see me, and thank you in advance to those of you who are thinking of hiring me to help Can The Clutter.
You can really tell summer is upon us when garage sale signs begin popping up on busy intersection street signs. This is the time of year many people enjoy, both because it inspires us to clean out the excess or unused as well as sometimes even find those diamonds in the rough.
For some, putting on a garage sale can be quite the challenge, but also rewarding. If you are a person who enjoys putting on a good garage sale every now and then, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
*Market your garage sale so others know it is happening. First check in with your neighbors to see if they too are interested in hosting a garage sale. Sometimes multiple house/neighborhood garage sales will attract more people. Then, get the word out. This can be done through the local paper, Craigslist, posting signs on high traffic streets, and even by doing a Google search to find websites for posting garage sales. The more people that know about your sale, the more people you are likely to have come check it out.
*Make sure to clean your items before you put them out for sale. Many times items have been stored away for a period of time and need a little dusting off to show their true potential.
*Try to place as many items as possible on tables or taller surfaces. This makes it easier for shoppers to see the items. If you are short on tables, see if you can borrow some from friends or neighbors.
*Display similar items together. Items are less likely to be overlooked by shoppers if they are organized with other like items.
*Make sure to put visible price tags on your items so your shoppers aren’t left guessing or wondering. This is also helpful for when there are multiple shoppers looking at your items at once, you do not need to be as accessible to everyone at the same time.
*Price your items reasonably, unless it is a collectible or antique. Keep in mind most items do not sell anywhere near what you might have paid for them. Goodwill has a store website that lists the thrift-store value of items. Though this is used for tax deductions, it can also help you know price ranges to sell items.
*Have change on hand in order to make change for customers. You may lose out on a sale if you’re not able to make change for 10 or 20 dollar bills. Also it is helpful to have bags/tissue paper on hand for breakable and multiple items sold. Making the experience as convenient as possible for shoppers is a win-win for them and you!
*Lastly, greet your customers. Shoppers are more likely to buy something if you make contact with them. You could ask them how they heard about your sale (this will let you know what form of advertising worked best), if there is anything in particular they are looking for, or even letting them know when items will be reduced in price. Never underestimate the power of a friendly greeting.
When all is said and done, hopefully you will feel the relief and satisfaction of de-cluttering, cleaning out, and maybe even making a few bucks for your efforts. Keep in mind anything that is not sold you can donate to a local thrift store and take a tax deduction.
**A special thanks to Charlene Schweikhart for her favorite garage sale tips. You can check out her website at www.enhancedbusinessresults.com.
I’m always looking to maximize my spaces in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s to find room for something new to come in and other times just to find a different space for something already existing that could use a makeover. Whatever the case, finding ways to become more efficient and productive are the goals and the end results that feel so good to achieve.
One idea I use a lot is to “nest” items in other items. This simply means to have an item of the same size or the next size down sit in or on the other one. In looking at my kitchen spaces, I find I do this with many items such as plates, measuring cups, casserole dishes, and skillets. This is definitely a great way to keep like items together as well as conserve room in your cabinets.
Another good idea to becoming more efficient and productive is to keep those items you find you use a lot handy and easy to access while the items you may only use in the summer or at holiday times in a location that is more remote or that you need a step stool to access. (We all have those not so fun cabinets way up high!) Of course if you find there are items in your kitchen that you once used but now haven’t used for the past several years, it may be time to part with them and donate.
The key in kitchen organizing is making sure your placement and location of items works for you. I find for those items I use frequently, it is better not to nest. Instead I am most productive by having the items handy and not inside or on something else. This way I do not have to take that extra step in taking the items apart and then putting the unused item back. For items that nest naturally and that I use a little less, nesting is the perfect solution and allows me to have several similar items.
So the question becomes, to nest or not? Have fun with your kitchen spaces, and don’t be afraid to look at your spaces differently. If the way something is now is not working, try something different. Though it may take a little while to get use to the change, if you can increase your efficiency and productivity down the road, it is worth it!
Home Sweet Home
Many of us have extra items lying around our homes that we don’t use or need but for one reason or another have never taken that next step to get rid of. Two elderly sisters that were in the process of downsizing recently hired me to help them find “new homes” for their items they loved but just couldn’t take with them. They didn’t want their items to go in a big bin at Goodwill. Instead they wanted to make sure their items could be found and used by people that would appreciate them. Finding new loving “homes” for people’s possessions is sometimes the pivotal point that allows individuals to finally let things go.
One item the ladies had was a 1920′s coronet that had been in the family forever. For this item, I was able to contact the Shedd Institute for the Arts to find out if they accepted donated instruments, and they do. The ladies felt this was a perfect fit. They had also collected many cameras, video projectors and various photography equipment pieces over the years. Most of the items were so outdated you couldn’t buy film or parts for them anymore! But again, to someone they would be a treasure of sorts. For these items I found The Camera Guy (seriously! cameraguy.com). He collects and refurbishes old photography equipment. He felt he could find good homes for many of the items. Old newspapers from famous events (i.e. when JFK was shot) were other items they just didn’t want to dump in the recycle bin. Many of the schools, libraries, and other institutions no longer take newspapers because of how difficult they are to preserve. But finally we were able to find a “home” at the Springfield Historical Society.
What a wonderfully refreshing project this was to work on! Should you ever find yourself with extra items you don’t need or want any longer, I would be happy to find the items “home sweet homes” for you, whether that be your thrift/donation center of choice or somewhere else. Getting organized and helping to make your life more productive is my specialty!
A few other local (Eugene, Oregon) places to mention that accept donations of items you may be ready to take that next step with are listed below. Check out their websites for more information and happy “home hunting”.
*MECCA – Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts – They take anything (seriously!) but Styrofoam. They are a recycled art supply store accepting materials such as flooring and wallpaper samples, corks and bottle caps, glass and ceramic pieces, fabric scraps, and used cards and calendars. “Many of the things we throw away could be reused instead”.
*NextStep Recycling – Their motto “Reuse is the New Recycle”. NextStep accepts items such as computers and other electronic devices. They receive donations of obsolete electronics – laptops, handheld games, cell phones, clocks, radios, lamps, microwaves, stoves, dryers, stereos, VCR’s and DVD’s.
*Bring Recycling Center – “Build a World without Waste” Bring accepts a wide selection of salvaged and surplus building materials, garden supplies, and other reusable items.
*Habitat for Humanity Restore – They accept new and used building and home improvement materials.