Thursday, May 28, 2015

How Many Homeless Items Do You Own?

Often when I am helping people declutter, we first work on a very basic sort - you know, the one that has boxes labeled "Keep in this room", "Goes elsewhere", "Donate", "Trash", "Recycle/shred." Sometimes when I pick up an items and ask, "Where does this go?", I'll get one of the following responses:
  • Oh, it is used all over the home
  • I don't know - wherever
  • Where do you think it should go
These are the homeless items. They are just left where they were last used or moved somewhere because they were in the way, but are never really put "away." Some of the most frequent homeless items are:
  • laptops or IPads
  • keys
  • phones
  • chargers
  • purses
  • shopping bags
  • mail
  • magazines
Homeless items generate clutter and take up valuable time when one has to go on a grand search for it. These homeless items also lessen your awareness of your space.

Even if items "float" throughout your house, they should have a final resting place or "home" when you want to clean up or prepare for guests. Finding "homes" can be like working a puzzle. Some clues to the puzzle might be:
  • Where is it mostly used? (put it on a shelf or basket nearby)
  • Who needs this item unusually? (find out what makes sense to them)
  • Why is it getting dumped where we now find it? (maybe the logical home is too crowded)
There is no "right" answer to finding a "home" but  it should be a logical place for the person who needs the item. everyone should know where to look for the items and where to put the items away. So if keys go on a hook or bowl near the door, or if mail goes on a landing pad near the door or into desktop folders, or shopping bags go on a hook by the kitchen door or back to the car, does not matter. Just have agreement and consistency.

You will find that your uncluttered home looks so much more spacious and relaxing. You will find that cleaning up becomes so much simpler. And perhaps, most importantly, you will find less stress and tension because you do not have to spend hours looking for your stuff.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Last Day of School

The last day of school is almost here! The children are soooo ready for this final  day (not to mention the teachers). On the last day, you just know they are going to run 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 and throwing it into a closet is not the answer. Those stacks of old school papers, that whiffy backpack, old supplies,  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.
  • Pull out the top layers and 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.
  • Do a sort. Smelly clothes and sneakers go to the laundry. Tattered papers and candy wrappers go to the trash. End of 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 moves or 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).
  • Put everything that is saved away and everything that is no longer usable put into trash or recycle bin.
Now, enjoy the summer!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seven Steps to Reducing Clutter

You look around your space and you know you have too much "stuff." But it all seems important to you. After all, you either bought it or it was a gift.

How do you go about making the decision of what goes and what stays?

  1. Look at your motivation. Why are you considering getting rid of this "stuff" at this time at all? Are you moving? Do you want to entertain? Do you want clear open floor space? Are you just tired of all this stuff? Your motivation will help you with making decisions.
  2. Form a vision of you space without all of the clutter. Feel yourself in this space.
  3. Sort all of your "stuff" in the zone you want to tackle. Put all like items together. One way to sort is by function. How many objects do you have to hold beverages? How many vases do you have? How many staplers or scissors do you own? how many black slacks do you own?
  4. Pick a number. When you see a lot of objects that have the same job, it's easier to let some go. Decide what is a real number for you of how much you want/need. I want 4 juice glasses, 8 water goblets, 8 mugs, etc.
  5. Prioritize the items in the groups. Which ones give you the most pleasure? Which ones do you love? Which ones are you keeping just because someone gave it to you? Which ones are you keeping just because they have been around forever?
  6. Ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that would happen if I let something go and wanted it later?" Imagine that you got rid of 100 items and later you had to go out and purchase 2 of them again - aren't you really ahead of the game?
  7. Remind yourself that if you hold on to things that you are not using/wanting/loving, you are keeping those things from others who really do need them or want them.
"There are three approaches we can take toward our possessions: face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die. The choice is ours." ~ Marie Kondo

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Zone Plan - 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. During the month of May, I concentrate on the master bedroom.

Whenever I work in a zone, I start with my vision for the space. Since I share this room with my husband, we must form this vision together. Last year we decided that we wanted our room to have a soothing, calming, and supportive look. When we are in this space we want to feel secure, relaxed, and happy. We like soft light yet still have enough lighting for reading. In the past year we have painted this room a very soft yellow to help capture the light and changed some of our artwork and accessories to meet this vision. We will continue to explore and when we find an item that builds on our vision and gives us joy, we will bring it home and place it.

I use four weeks to complete this zone.

On week one, Rob and I clean out our dressers (and clean the walls where the dressers stand). We take out every article and toss anything that is stained, stretched out of shape, or holey. Then we donate anything that we no longer need or love. I change out my heavier tops that were stored in a drawer for lighter ones that were in a bin in my closet. I clean and wax the dressers and light a candle.

On week two, I work on the closet which stores only my clothes. I pull our all the clothes and sort them on the bed. I get rid of anything that does not fit either my body or my lifestyle. I also do this for my shoes. This closet also stores my suitcase and a duvet.

On week three, we tackle our end tables. This means purging or rehousing a lot of reading material that has accumulated. I also clean one window, and clean the bed and all bed linens. I clean the wall behind the bed.

On week four, I finish the room. This means cleaning one more wall and window, brushing the ceiling and the ceiling fan.

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

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer