Blog

Author: Barb BermanClutter Downsizing Organizing Productivity Project Management Time Management

Do You Have an Extra 15 Minutes? It is Amazing What You Can Do!

There are times, I am sure, when you have an extra 15 minutes where you just want to sit, relax, and take a few deep breaths. There is certainly nothing wrong with self-care. However, self-care can also take on another form where you want to use those extra 15 minutes to get something done in your home or office. 

In my world, of course, it has to do with de-cluttering and organizing. There have been a couple of times recently where I took that 15 minutes with a client and myself to do just that.

A client of mine moved into assisted living several months ago. During one of our sessions, as I was helping her unpack and organize, I had some extra time. I went through one of her end table drawers in the living room and was able to recycle and trash 95% of what was in the drawer – old catalogs, old address labels, etc. Now, I could make room for other items that were important for her to have nearby in her new life.

In my own life, I love to travel. I always have travel articles and catalogues that I keep in an antique rice holder box (pictured above). When I started going through my collection, I was amazed at what I could recycle – articles and catalogs that went back to 2016. Since the box never looked like it was totally overflowing, I just kept putting more articles and catalogs in it. As with my client, I was able to recycle 95% of what I had stored.

This led me to think what we can all do in 15 minutes to maintain our organizational systems. Maintenance and persistence always seem to be a huge challenge in the organizing world. Developing a system or process is 1 part of the project. Another part is maintaining or tweaking what you’ve already developed.

Consider what you can do in 15 minutes. You never know what you’ll find unless you go through these areas:

  • Go through a junk drawer in your kitchen, bathroom, and/or bedroom and recycle, trash, shred, or donate.
  • Go through a section of your closet or a dresser drawer when you buy something new and recycle, trash, shred, or donate something old.
  • Go through a section of your closet or a dresser drawer when you haven’t bought something new and recycle, trash, shred, or donate.
  • Go through a file drawer, if you have paper files, and recycle or shred things you no longer need to keep.
  • Go through some bookshelves and box up books you’ve already read or have no intention of reading and donate to a local library.
  • Go through your medicine cabinet and dispose of medicines properly – do not flush down the toilet.
  • Go through your makeup and discard what is old.
  • Go through your spices and discard what is old.

On any given day, we all make choices in our lives as to what to do with our time. With those extra 15 minutes that you have, you could sit back and relax or go through an area of your home or office to see what you no longer need. What is your choice today?

Author: Tim ZeiglerAuctions Downsizing Move Management Organizing

Auctions Today & Yesteryear (Where is Everybody?)

As an auction professional, I regularly have the opportunity to work with Professional Organizers and Senior Move Managers. These professionals provide a wonderful service helping client’s de-clutter their homes for a variety of reasons including preparation for sale, down-sizing & moving to a smaller living space or simply organizing their lives.

During the de-cluttering process, there is often a need to sell personal property and in some cases a great deal of property. Since auctions are a simple, efficient and often productive approach to selling, we can often help the same client. This is the wonderful connection between us.

Developing a Passion

I developed a passion for auctions as a child from my father. He loved auctions and would take me on his Saturday auction adventures to pretend he was helping my mother. He loved to buy at auction and mom did not appreciate clutter, so you can imagine the action at our home.

These auctions often had big crowds of people and enthusiastic bidding. It was exciting! I would hear energized bidders looking for a bargain. However, I was attracted to selling at auction as the price just went one direction. I have not come across another business negotiation where the price only goes higher. I loved the excitement of the auction environment as a child and still do today. However, the environment has changed.

Where is Everbody? Where are the Bidders?

I have heard these questions in recent years as we help clients looking to sell their property. A great many of these clients were at auctions forty, fifty or more years ago buying much of their art, furniture, antiques, decorative items and collections. They would often spend an entire day at the auction and there would be hundreds of people in attendance. They would see friends and enjoy the camaraderie.

I was reminded of the feeling when recently watching an old movie “North by Northwest”. There is a fascinating auction scene Alfred Hitchcock used in the story line. It showed bidding and activity at a high end auction over fifty years ago. The auction gallery was filled. People were sitting in every available seat and others were standing. There were no large screens displaying the auction item and no bidding by telephone or internet. There were no computers supporting the auction process at all. What a major difference!

Large screens, phone bidding and internet platforms have expanded the range and number of bidders dramatically. However, it does not look like it to auction buyers from many years ago turned into auction sellers as their lives have changed.

The Environment has Changed ….

When asked where is everybody? Where are the bidders? I point out the number of ways the auctioneer is accepting bids beyond those from the smaller than they expected bidders attending in person.

I look toward the computers handing the bidding for each of the multiple
internet bidding platforms and explain each computer represents far more bidders than when you purchased in the crowded auctions many years ago. I look toward the staff members handling phone bidding and point out those strong bidders as well. There are also bids left with the office and on our web-site. I explain there is a larger geographic area represented and there are bidders watching the auction from not only our region but from the entire United States and around the world. I point out they have been able to see each item in a gallery of pictures for a month before the auction.

…and it is still Exciting!

Once the auctioneer starts taking bids from the bidders in all these different ways (including from bidders in person like Alfred Hitchcock portrayed), it begins to make sense. Bidding at auction is even more exciting as it comes in so many ways from so many places!

Author: Annette ReymanDownsizing Garage General Home Move Management Organizing Organizing Products Storage

6 Spaces to Organize When You Move In

You’re packing to move and you can’t believe you own this much.

“Where did all this stuff come from anyway? How did it all fit in here in the first place? I can’t believe how long this is taking and how many boxes we have! AAAaahhhh!!!!”

Moving

Well, it’s true. When we pull everything out of its storage space, we can see the volume of what we really have. And, for those things that haven’t been seen or touched in years: much of it is astonishing.

“Cans of hairspray? Wait. I haven’t bought hairspray in a can in at least 2…uh, 5…oh, I don’t know – better throw that out. How did these shoes get back here? Man, they’re dusty. And sort of misshapen. Well, okay very misshapen. Nevermind. Out! And, wait. Do we really have 6 new containers of black pepper? Six? I had no idea. This will last us forever!”

NOW is your chance!

You are moving into a new home. Whether larger or smaller than your last, it’s an opportunity to get organized – right from the start! Here are 6 spaces to set up when you move in so you can get and stay organized:

Spice Storage: There are so many options for organizing spices that there is really no reason you need to fight to find what you need, have bottles and jars falling out onto you as you reach behind, or repurchase multiples of what you already have. Sterline Deluxe Roto Caddy

  • Sterline Cabinet Turntable – not your average space-hogging Lazy Susan. I use it in my own kitchen!
  • Mountable Spice Rack – let’s you utilize wall space or the inside of a cabinet door.
  • Rev-A-Shelf Spice-Drawer Insert – if you have the drawer space, this is a convenient and user-friendly idea.

Pantry: DIY or go the extra mile and get pro-installation. A pantry organizing system will be a delight to your family today and a great selling point tomorrow.

  • Shelf Genie – products that are made to fit, professionally installed and guaranteed to last.
  • Container Store Solutions – want to avoid adding anything permanent? Shelf bins and door racks can do the trick.

Under Sinks: Either in the kitchen or bathrooms, under sink storage will make ALL the difference. Enjoy the control and say goodbye to yucky under-sink messes!

Shoes: The struggle is real. First decide where you want to store them (By the entryway? In a closet? Under the bed? In the garage?) Then, reign them in.Shoe Space Saver

  • Container Store Stackable Shoe Shelves – perfect for inside a closet.
  • Target Standing Shoe Rack – a little overwhelming for a bedroom but a great for solution for garage entryway.
  • Amazon Shoe Space Savers – these little devises will cut your need for space in half!

Bedroom Closets: If you are renting a home, you may want to save money and purchase some temporary solutions that you can take with you when you move out. For homeowners, installing built-ins is the way to go.

  • Closets By Design – Go for it and get it done right!
  • Temporary & Portable Solutions – Not ready to commit? Try something less permanent.

Storage Area: Before you go building columns and walls of heavy boxes stacked one atop another; stop and think. This is what got you into the last mess of storage chaos. Is there room for some shelving? Is there ceiling or wall space to be taken advantage of?

  • AtticTracPlus – quick and easy to set up. Makes attic storage usable!
  • Garage Sense – Use ALL the space your garage has to offer and get things out from under your feet!
  • Basement – Simple shelving will do the trick.

Make the changes and don’t look back. Move in and Move on.

Disclaimer: products in this post are in no way endorsed or sold by NAPO©
Author: Barb BermanDownsizing General Home Organizing Small Spaces

Five Organizing Tips for Living in a Small Space

Is it possible to live in a small area? You bet it is!

Milk crate used as a purse holder
Milk crate used as a purse holder

Most of us know people living in small houses or apartments, going to college and living in a dorm for the first time, or moving from a big home to a smaller one. Even if you don’t, you may have experienced one of these situations yourself at some point.

Did you feel challenged trying to fit everything in your new space? Does the person you know feel challenged trying to do the same thing?

If you follow these five (5) tips, it really is easier than you think:

1. Divide the space into specific areas for each activity (e.g., bill paying, watching TV, hobbies, laundry, reading, or studying). Furniture and rugs can be used to separate the different activities. For instance, your bedroom may have to act as an office plus a place to sleep and get dressed. Use a desk and file cabinet in one area of the room and the bed, bureau, and night stand in another. Keep the items in their specified areas; do not let them wander into the other activity areas.

2. Use milk crates on shelves that allow of extra space between them and the ceiling. Position the milk crate so the opening faces out. This way you’ll be able to store things both inside the milk crate and on top of it. It acts as a second shelf.

3. Use over-the-door storage units or command strips to hang things on the back of doors, in closets or on walls. You can hang items in or on them to get the items off your bed, chair, table, or desk. Don’t let them end up on the floor. The best part about command strips is that they do not damage the walls.

4. Use wall shelves to take advantage of vertical space. You can use your walls from floor to ceiling for storage.

5. Take advantage of the space under your bed. Use clear plastic bins that are specifically designed for under the bed. Measure the amount of clearance you have between the floor and the bed frame to make sure the bin fits. An option that affords you more storage space is raising the bed.

Just think, when living in a smaller area, you’ll have less to take care of. That frees up your time to do the things you want to do!

Author: Adriane WeinbergClutter Downsizing General Organizing

What’s Your Favorite Indoor Activity?

Woman reading at the beachBrrrr…it’s cold in most of the country. We spend more time indoors. What’s your favorite indoor activity? I bet reading immediately sprang to mind!

Is your book collection organized so you can find just the right book you’re in the mood to read? Excellent! Or like many folks, are books scattered around the house? Do you even know what books you have? Do you regularly purge unwanted books or let them continue to occupy valuable space and collect dust?

Now is a great time to organize your books. Here are 11 tips.

  1. By category, then alphabetically by author’s last name.
  2. By category.
  3. By author.
  4. By title.
  5. By author, then by title.
  6. Chronological, such as U.S. presidents for history buffs (Washington, Adams, Jefferson and so on)
  7. By color – or even limited to certain colors for a particular look. This may be a viable option for highly visual people, those who prefer aesthetics over practicality or the few who have a photographic memory.
  8. Put books where they’re useful, like cookbooks in the kitchen. (You’d think that would be obvious but you’d be wrong. I’ve organized people who kept cookbooks in the living room. Not surprisingly, they weren’t used.)
  9. Add a few decorative items on bookshelves to add design interest.
  10. Mix it up – separate some books by category and some by favorite authors.
  11. There is no right or wrong way. But there is just one way – the way that works for you. It’s about finding what you want when you want it. If your system doesn’t work, tweak it until it does.

My largest book organizing project was 17 years ago with my first client. In his library he had between 1,000 and 2,000 books. They were out of order. There were duplicates and triplicates. His library was completely nonfunctional. It took time, but after donating many of them and organizing the rest according to my client’s preferences, that massive job got done. My client was thrilled to have a functional library that looked great too!

For my personal collection, I mix it up. Fiction books are arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name. Books in other categories (such as organizing, business and design) are separated by category but not in any order. Some books are vertical. Some are horizontal. Small framed photos and pieces of art add to the overall look. I donate books that no longer interest me. My book collection is functional and attractive. With a little time and effort, yours can be too.

Downsizing and organizing your books is worth doing. Then, when planning your next vacation, you can quickly grab the ones you want to read – much better than wasting time searching around the house or wasting money buying more at the airport.

Click on the above title to learn more about the featured author.

 

Author: Danielle OBrienClutter Downsizing General Move Management Organizing

Getting Your Home Ready for Open House

danielle-5Tips for getting your home ready for

OPEN HOUSE!

After the holiday rush is over and you’ve carefully packed your holiday decorations away, you may want to prepare now for spring. Spring, of course, is the perfect time to put your home up for sale.

 

Here are 5 tips to get your home ready that are often overlooked:

 

danielle-1Clean & update your trash cans and re-cycling center. This area is often neglected and you don’t want any unwanted odors lingering in the home. Recycling should be neat and handy. Take cans out on time and rinse the cans out as soon as the hoses go back outside.

 

danielle-2Get everything off the floor. Show off the square footage of your home by clearing all floors. That means: cases of water, magazines, shoes, pillows, toys, worn out rugs, and storage bins. Pick everything up off the floor. Mop and sweep often.

 

danielle-3Let the sunshine in by scrubbing your windows inside and out, remove heavy drapes, old shades and anything that is in the way of the windows. Natural light makes a home feel warm and cozy. If you must have window treatments, choose white.

 

danielle-4Have your bathroom and kitchen professionally cleaned. If a buyer sees dirt and mildew in these areas they will think that there is more throughout the house. Choose white whenever possible in these two areas. Add bright light bulbs, too.

 

danielle-5Begin packing your valuables now. Neatly packed boxes in a storage area are perfectly fine when showing your home. Be sure to pack and store items with special meaning such as momentos and expensive items. Lighten up on the framed photos of your families.