Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Organizing Paper Work to Sell My Home

I am planning on selling my home. As an organizer, I decided to research what paperwork I need to gather and organize in order to make this happen with a minimum of stress.

I certainly am planning on using a realtor to guide me but the more I can accomplish ahead of time, the less stress I will have because of scrambling for certain documents on demand. I am aware that if I am missing any documents it could slow down my progress.

Items that are necessary:
  • Original sales contract for my home with the purchase price
  • Property deed that shows legal ownership of my property along with the original title search and title-insurance policy
  • Professional appraisal done when I bought the house and any changes I have made to the house since that appraisal
  • Home repair and maintenance records
  • Mortgage and financing documents
  • Records regarding my homeowner's insurance
  • Property tax records - these will also provide the buyer with such information as the schools and other tax information
  • If I belonged to a homeowner's association, I'd need all related documents
Also nice to have:
  • Home inspection papers to show the structural integrity of my home
  • Manuals and warranty information on major appliances that will be part of the sale
  • Utility bills to give prospective owners an idea of the utility costs
I will start right away putting together folders with all of this information. Right now I am having even more work done on my home to improve its value and will keep these records as well as the name and contact information of the person doing the work.

If you have been through this process and have some suggestions to make, I would truly appreciate it.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Five Biggies When Organizing a Party

 I love to give parties! I try to have at least one or two a year.

When planning a party I look at the date, theme, guest list, menu, and location.

Date: I look for a date when most of my friends will be available. For example, I give a July party but try to avoid the weekend of the 4th. Many people would have conflicts then and have to make a hard choice -  go to Uncle Clyde's barbecue or go to Jonda's annual July party.

Theme: The theme of the party will hold everything together. The theme will determine the invitations, the food, the decorations, and any games or activities. I feel a different theme for each party keeps the parties fresh. Regular guests often ask me months ahead if I have decided on a theme yet for the next party.

Guest List: This is an important component. I love to invite a diverse group of people who will enjoy each other's company. I usually have a core group that I hope will attend every party and then add some new friends that I think everyone will enjoy.

Menu: The menu usually follows the theme. My guest have food preferences and restrictions and because I love my guests, I try to accommodate them. I like to see that everyone has at least a couple of things they can nosh on and drink. My house is small so I don't have room for sit down affairs. Because of that, my menu consists of easy things to eat if you are standing or sitting with your plate on your lap.

Location:  Usually my parties are at my home but I have had some great ones at other locations. Again, the theme tends to determine the location. When giving a party at my place, I go for "clean enough" so that the board of health won't be concerned but I do not stress over having the place "party perfect."

Once I have decided on the five biggies, I put together a timeline. I list every task that mush be done from setting the date and making the guest list to laying out the food table right before the guests arrive. Every task has a "do" date and that is what keeps me sane. I know exactly when I plan to send out the save the date emails, make the actual invites and mail them, put together the shopping lists, and setting the table.

When the date and time arrives, I want to enjoy my party as much as my guests. Did I mention that I love to give parties?

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why Do We Hold On To Things?


We look around and begin to notice all of the objects that we have accumulated throughout the years. Why do we hang on to these things?

     I might need it someday
     I won't be able to afford to buy a replacement later on
     I'm afraid of making a mistake if I let it go

     I spent a lot of money on this
     I am embarrassed to just give it away

Sense of Obligation
     My friend gave it to me so I can't get rid of it
     I am keeping it for my children
     It's a family heritage

     When I look at this I know I was loved
     When I look at this I remember I was someone once
     I used to use this and I hope to be in a position to use it again
     It reminds me of when I was a success in my job
     I remember the excitement when I found and purchased this

     It is difficult to make the decisions required in letting things go
     I am not sure where to start
     I am not sure what questions to ask myself to help me decide

     The items have sat around the house so long I have stopped   
       seeing them
     I don't even consider the need of getting rid of things

Do any of these reasons resonate with you?

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Organizing Your Bathroom Zone

If you are working on my zone plan, this is the month to work on your bathrooms. If you have a linen closet,  also include it in this zone.

Make the medicine cabinet or drawers under your sink the place where you store items you need and use regularly. This would be your daily grooming supplies. I have an electric razor and charger, deodorant, perfume, lotion, q-tips and cotton balls in small containers, comb and brush, band aids, toothpaste, dental floss, and eye drops.

If you have a small bathroom, medicines can go in bins on a shelf in the linen closet or some families store their medicines in the kitchen. Both places are better than the actual bathroom as moisture and heat can ruin some meds. I sort my medicines according to type and place them in bins. One bin is for outdoors and contains items like bug spray, suntan lotion, Benedryl cream, and Neosporin. Another bin holds Tylenol, aspirin, and cold/allergy medicines. Yet another bin holds larger items like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and mouthwash.

When sorting medicines, get rid of old expired items. Old pills create clutter and can be dangerous. Not only do some medicines lose their effectiveness over time but they can actually become harmful. Their chemical integrity may be affected, as well as the body's ability to break them down properly. Dispose of these items safely. Do not toss medicines in the trash and never flush them into our water system. The DEA offers a Prescription Drug Take Back Day which occurs around April. Go to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/. Click on Got Drugs for more information. Some pharmacies will also take back expired drugs.

Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and all items to fix your hair can be housed in a container under your sink. If your space is limited, you might also have a hanging bad on the back of your bathroom door for some of these items. As you organize, toss or donate products that you purchased but are not using.

An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items as well as some cleaning products can also be stored in the under sink area.

Drawers in the bathroom are a good place to store cosmetics. Sort and categorize your makeup so that you have like with like. For example, all eye products are stored in one compartment. As you sort your cosmetics, throw out items that are expired, do not look right, or that you just don't like anymore. As I don't have drawers, I use containers in my linen closet for my cosmetics.

I also use my linen closet for my towels, hand-towels, and wash-cloths. If you don't have a closet you may use towel hooks or shelving in your bathroom. Over the toilet shelving is a great place to store bath towels and wash-cloths.

The bathroom is usually a small, busy room so keep clutter to a minimum. Keep counters as clear as possible. Store any duplicate items elsewhere or in the back of a deep shelf. Be ruthless about throwing out items. You really don't need 5 partial bottles of shampoo or 6 sample soaps or that free sample in foil of a shampoo/conditioner that came in the mail.

When you have your bathroom organized, work on a maintenance schedule to keep it under control. Then next year when you revisit this zone, it will be an easier process.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer