I know it’s often difficult to get rid of items, even though they clutter your home. Here are some categories that should be easy to discard and donate: gifts you’ve never opened, books you’ll never read again, unused gadgets and broken items. “I may need it someday” is never an excuse for keeping clutter.
When selling large items, oftentimes you need to provide transport, which can be costly. Enter the Roadie app, which connects you with drivers traveling to your intended destination for a fraction of the cost. Whether you’re sending stuff across town or two states away, (from paintings to patio furniture to pets) Roadie gives you an easier, cheaper delivery or courier service. Simply post a Gig online or on your phone, and they’ll match you with a driver who’s already going that way.
I’m often asked by clients how to decide whether to keep an item or let it go. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re torn about whether to keep something.
- Does it support my current values and priorities?
- Does it fit in with the vision I have for my ideal home?
- Does it feel important and meaningful to me?
- Does it make me happy?
Could this item be useful or helpful to another person and I can donate to charity?
Spring is the perfect time for cleaning and organizing your closets. As the South Florida “winter” fades away, we no longer need the sweaters, boots and jackets that take up space in our closets.
The first and most vital step is to edit your wardrobe. Touch every piece of winter clothing and make sure it is in good condition for next winter, that you love it and will wear it again. If the answer is no, then it is just clutter. Donate or consign items you no longer love.
Once you have edited your winter wardrobe, move those pieces to the back of the closet, or if you are lucky enough to have two closets, to the other. Then bring your Spring items to the front of the closet for easy access. Edit those items as well, so you make sure that everything is in good condition and wearable for the warmer weather. Don’t forget that new purchases will come in and further crowd the space.
Those with limited space can also store out of season items under their bed using an underbed storage box available at all big box retailers (Target, Walmart).
Put like-items together, so that you can find everything easily. Tanks with tanks, blouses with blouses, etc. I also organize each category by color (white to black).
Get rid of wire hangars – they tangle and harm clothes. Huggable Hangars, which are made of thin velvet, truly increase hanging space and the velvet prevents items from slipping off. Whatever hangars you choose, make sure they all match.
Make a checklist of Spring chores you need to do once or twice a year – take sweaters and winter jackets to the dry cleaners before putting them away, bring heavy comforters to the Laundromat before they’re stored, etc.
Maintenance: I tell all my clients that maintenance is key. Each day, put everything back where it belongs– either in the hamper, dry cleaning basket or re-hang. It will take only 5 minutes a day and keep you organized. When you buy new items, put them in their proper category space when you get it home.
Make your spring cleaning and organizing Fun. Don’t think of it as a chore. Instead, think of it as a ‘feel good’ exercise–one that will really help you enjoy your clean and organized environment.
Happy Spring Cleaning!
If junk mail and catalogs are cluttering your home, this great article from Readers Digest gives you comprehensive solutions to clear your mailbox.
Make Your Mailbox a Junk-Free Zone
Drowning in junk mail? New post office rules may make things even worse! Find out how to stop unwanted snail mail from clogging your mailbox.
Feel like going postal? Here’s the good news: You can still opt-out of receiving bulk mail by contacting the marketer—or, rather, marketers of each and every unsolicited mailing. Luckily, there are several not-for-profit websites that do the dirty work for you. The following five steps will get you started, according to the folks at treehugger.com:
1. Contact the Direct Marketing Association. At your request, they’ll remove your name and address from numerous mass marketing lists for up to five years.
2. Register with Catalog Choice or TonicMailstopper to have your contact information removed from catalog lists.
3. Review your privacy settings for all credit cards and utilities. Opt out of everything but communications from the company that are directly related to your account.
4. Say “No” to credit card solicitations. OptOutPrescreen.com is the official site of the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry dedicated to opting consumers in or out of credit card offers and promotions. Choose either a 5-year or permanent opt-out on the website or by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT.
For even more ways to fend-off junk mail, check out these planet- and privacy-friendly sites:
Closet space got you down? For those who are renting their homes or who can’t afford to put in a custom closet system, adding affordable closet organizing products to your existing space can give you a lot of storage you didn’t know you had.
Believe it or not, bulky hangars waste a lot of hanging space in your closet. By purchasing these Huggable Hangars, you can add about 20% more hanging space. Another reason I recommend them is that their velvet coating prevents clothes from slipping off and onto the floor. They also look really great! (Joy Mangano Huggable Hangars)
If your closet doesn’t already have shoe shelves, these shelves from ClosetMaid are awesome! Made of sturdy melamine, you can fit 9-12 pairs of shoes on each rack. Buy more than one unit and stack the shelves to get a “wall of shoes.” (just make sure that you secure them to the wall if you’re going to stack them high) Or, use several of them along the floor under hanging items. They’re so easy to put together and are available at Target and Walmart.
The contents of drawers tend to become disorganized fast. I love Dream Drawers to help you get control of your belongings. Divide the drawer in half or thirds and you can separate bras, underwear, socks, t-shirts, tank tops, shorts and even belts. Available at Bed Bath and Beyond and The Container Store.
If you have shelf space in your closet, you can store purses, t-shirts, sweaters or jeans. While shelved items do have a tendency to get messy if you’re not careful, these dividers can help tame the clutter. Available at www.organizeit.com.
While you may think that plastic shoe boxes are only useful to store shoes, they have so many other great uses in a closet. Use them to corral belts, scarves, jewelry, even junk.
You don’t need a custom closet system to get the benefits of an organized closet. These affordable closet organizing products can make any space more organized. Plus, you can take them to your new space when you move.
With new electronic devices constantly coming out and grabbing our attention and our dollars, we have more cords and equipment than we know what to do with. Here are some ways to tame the electronic clutter that comes with our new toys.
Do you have lots of electronic cords and don’t know what equipment they belong to? Next time you purchase electronics, place the unused cords, adaptors and instructions in a Ziploc bag and label what it belongs to (ex: tablet, computer, phone). Put all the bags in one plastic bin and label it “Electronics.”
Traveling with electronic devises and their chargers can lead to a tangled mess of cords and confusion. GRID IT holds all your devises securely for easy travel. www.cocooninnovations.com
Old laptop ready for the trash heap? It can release hazardous metals into the environment, so be careful. Instead www.cashyourlaptop.com will buy and refurbish it. Just make sure that all information has been securely deleted first. You can also check to see which local charities need your device at www.cristina.org/donate.html.
Tired of your cords and cables tangling. These Bobino cord wraps are awesome!
With new cell phones constantly coming out, you can make money from your old devices by selling them to recyclers who sell them for parts. www.yourenew.com or www.BuyMyTronics.com gives you a price online and sends a prepaid shipping label to make it easy. If you prefer to donate, www.wirelessfoundation.org lets you download a prepaid mailing label.
Many clients have issues with unsightly computer cables that clutter their space. This Clutter Bin is a sleek container designed to hide cables and uses adhesive to latch hubs indie the sidewalls. www.bluelounge.com
Wondering what to do with the used CD’s, DVD’s, video games and books you no longer want? www.abundatrade.com will buy these items and provide free shipping if you earn $50 or more from your trade.
With 4 USB ports, you can charge all your devices at once with this cute hub. www.bluelounge.com
Here are some neat do-it-yourself solutions for organizing your cables.
It’s never been easier to tame the electronic clutter!
In this age of computers, tablets and smart phones, digital clutter has become just as big an issue as physical clutter. Here are some tips to declutter your devices.
Many people don’t want to delete emails even though they will never have time to consume them all. At this point, how long will it take you to read all the information you’ve saved? I suggest you take 10 minutes daily to go through your inbox and delete expired information and invites. A free tool that can help clean up your inbox is http://mailstrom.co. Mailstrom identifies bundles of related mail and makes it easy for you to act on them as a group. It’s so liberating to get rid of digital clutter this way!
Don’t use your email inbox as a To Do list. Sifting through what you need is too time-consuming. Instead, move To Do’s to a task manager or calendar.
You hear the ding of an incoming email and are compelled to see what it is. FYI — these interruptions cost workers $5,000 annually. Instead, check your emails at intervals throughout the day.
Have slews of printed photos taking up your physical space? Scan them, or if you have too many, have a scanning company do it for you. It’s OK to get rid of photos that you don’t like or duplicates. You wouldn’t put bad photos in a physical album, so getting rid of photos you don’t like is OK. Yes, it takes time, but it’s well worth it. Digital photos can take up lots of space on your computer or devices. Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) is a great tool to get information off your devices and onto the Cloud.
Unsubscribe to email newsletter lists that you no longer have time to read. Oftentimes, we think that we’ll need the information later, yet never look at it. By the way, all information you will ever need can be found on the internet. An amazing tool which can unsubscribe from email lists in a few clicks is http://unroll.me.
How many apps are on the home screen of your smart phone? How many do you use on a regular basis? If there are apps that you no longer use or like, it’s time to get rid of them. Keeping them on your device eats up space and may slow down your device.
Cleaning up your digital clutter can make you more productive and help you just plain feel good. The key is to take action and stay on top of it.
As a professional organizer, I know how difficult it can be to get your kids to clean up their rooms and stay organized. Here are some tips to make kids organizing easy.
1. Label containers and shelves in your kids’ rooms. Once they can read, they’ll easily be able to learn to put things away by themselves. For those not reading yet, place pictures on bins so they’ll know where everything goes.
2. For those parents desperate for their kids to put clothes in their hamper, these basketball hoop hampers will make it fun for them to throw things in.
3. Over-the-door shoe organizers can store small toys, Barbie and her clothes or even Hot Wheels for the kids.
4. Get your kids to organize and clean up their rooms each day by turning the process into a fun game. Set an egg timer for five minutes and see how fast the kids can put away their toys or declutter their room.
5. These 3 Sprouts Storage Bin for toys are so cute and functional.
6. This Lay-n-Go mat allows kids to play with all their Legos and then clean them up easily.
7. Tired of all your kids’ bathtub toys cluttering the tub? After the bath, put the toys in a mesh laundry bag and hang it from the shower to dry.
8. Parents keep WAY too much of their kids’ artwork and often store them in kids’ rooms. Keep the gems and toss the rest. Believe me, the kids don’t want as much as you think! Keep ONLY the treasures since you can’t keep them all (right?). You can always take a photo of the discarded artwork and put it in a photo album for each child.
9. When going out, forgetting an item in the diaper bag can make your life difficult, especially when you have a fussy baby. To avoid this, put a checklist of all the items you’ll need in a plastic sleeve and keep it in the bag. That way, you can check that you have everything you need before you go out. For older kids, keep a special on-the-go bag packed with everything you’ll need (coloring books, crayons, electronics) to keep the kids entertained during outings.
10. Donating stuffed animals is a no-no, since they could harbor harmful bacteria. Instead, mail items to www.lovinghugs.org, a charity that has toys professionally cleaned and sent to kids in need.
Creating organized systems takes practice for both parents and children. Using these tips to make kids organizing easy can help you simplify in a hectic world.