Thursday, May 29, 2014

Less Stuff = More Money

Money, Honey! It's that simple.

How does less stuff equate to more money?

First, know that every time you buy something you do not need or love, you are throwing away your money. Getting control of impulse buying can certainly save you money.

Next, if you have bought things you no longer need or love, don't pay money to store them just to keep them out of your space. One in ten U.S. households rents a storage unit. It's the fastest growing real estate segment over the last 35 years.

Last, you may be able to retrieve some money by consigning or selling items. The average woman has 27 pairs of shoes; the average man has 12. Men and women have on average 88 articles of clothing each. Of these clothing items, 25% are typically unworn. Clark Howard in today's AJC talks about getting rid of stuff that you no longer use and making a profit. For clothing he suggests consignment stores, for furniture he suggests Craig's list, and for antiques he suggests eBay.

There is an estimated $15 billion in unused tech gadgets in junk drawers worldwide according to IKEA. Clark Howard suggests the following sites for getting rid of electronics.
  • for gadgets and games
  • for Apple products, plus Android, Blackberry and other phones
  • for selling old phones for cash and donating to charity at the same time
  • for Apple products, even damaged iPhones
  • or for all electronics
  • for phones, camera, tablets, and games
  • for Android devices
If you don't want to go to the bother of selling your items, you can also donate and get a tax write off.

Not only will you make money by getting rid of your excess "stuff", you will also feel so much lighter. Enjoy that extra space!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Children and Clutter

While it has been a long time since I have had children living in my home, I remember some of the "stuff" that started pouring into our home before the first little guy even arrived. I look around at friends and clients with children and grandchildren and see how the "stuff" can take over parts of the home.

Each new child in a household increases family possessions by 30% and that's just in their preschool age. How can that happen? Extra furniture, clothes, linens, toys, and bottles are just the beginning. Before the baby actually arrives, these new belongings are usually stored in the "baby's" room and perhaps some of the kitchen. But then they explode onto counter tops, floors, and tables throughout the house.

The United States has 3.1% of the world's children but we own 40% of all the toys bought worldwide. All of these items come into the home by way of our own purchases, baby gifts, and continual grandparent gifts, and then they tend to stay.

So what is the answer to all of this incoming clutter?
  1. Every season look over clothing. Are you planning on having more children? If so, take the outgrown clothes and really look at them. Are they torn or stained? Did you really like them? Discard all that you would not use again and then store in labeled tubs those clothes that you are keeping. If this is your last planned child, donate or give to friends the clothes that are still in good shape.
  2. Every 6 months look over toys and books. If your child has outgrown them, either pack them away or store them for the next child or donate.
  3. Encourage grandparents to give gifts that give a memory (think trips or events) instead of physical items.
  4. Be selective in what you buy. Buy a few quality items instead of an abundance of the latest fads. Teach your children to take care of their toys and each holiday or birthday encourage your children to donate some of their gently used toys to others and discard unwanted toys that are broken.
  5. As children get older, have them be an active part of the purging process. Each season have them choose the items that they really love and/or feel they need, and then donate the rest. Teach them that each and everything they own must have a place to be put away.
While there is no way not to increase clutter with children, there are ways to control it.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Last Day of School

The last day of school is almost here! The children are sooooo ready for this final day and the beginning of summer break. On the last day you just know they are going to rush home, dump their school stuff in a corner, and run off to play.

OK, so give them one day. But, that pile in the corner has to be handled. Those stacks of old school papers, that whiffy backpack, and the end of year mementos have got to be dealt with before summer can really begin.

Clear a space -  maybe put down newspaper and keep dogs and cats clear for their own safety.  Then turn the backpack upside down and dump the contents on the floor. Shake it a few times so that what is stuck to the bottom with old gum and candy also falls out.  Now do a sort. Smelly clothes and sneakers go to the laundry. Tattered papers and candy wrappers go to the trash. End of the year awards can be salvaged and filed or put into memorabilia boxes. Check out old crayons, pencils, and other school supplies and see if they are usable for summer art or are in such bad shape they need to be trashed. If anything in the pile tries to crawl away - step on it. Decide if the bag is going to be used again or is now also ready for the trash (broken zippers, tears, straps broken). Do not let this clutter stay beyond one week. Have every thing that is saved put away and everything that is no longer usable, trashed or recycled.

Now, enjoy the summer!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Using the Zone Plan - Your Master Bedroom

For organizing and decluttering my home, I use a zone plan. Every month I choose a different area to clean, declutter, and organize. In May, I concentrate on  the master bedroom.

I always start with a vision of the room. Since I married in November, this year there are two of us forming this vision. We want this room to have a soothing, calming, and supportive look. We want to feel relaxed and happy in this room. We like soft light yet still desire enough lighting for reading. We want our clothes that are stored in this zone to have designated places that make it easy to dress and do laundry and not clutter our sleeping area.

We are going to make some changes in the current setting. We intend to paint the walls a softer color and are changing the art work and accessories to meet our vision.

We will sort through our clothes and get rid of every item that we do not need, love, or that does not currently fit. While dressers and closets are empty, we will deep clean them. We will clear extra clutter off of surfaces in order to have breathing room and to place new, meaningful accessories. We will evaluate all of the reading material that has stacked up and not been read. All of the bedding will be cleaned and aired. The windows and blinds will be washed so that the sun can stream in. The fan and air vents will be cleaned as well.

As a reward for finishing the bedroom zone, I will buy fresh flowers, stand back, and admire our clean, uncluttered space. I know we will sleep well here.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer