Want to get organized? Pretend You Are Moving (or...actually move!) 
Saturday, March 7, 2009, 10:04 AM
Recently, I seem to be speaking to a lot of people who are moving. Some of the moves are the regular kind, caused by regular life changes: more room needed, less room needed, changing marital status, etc. Others are definitely the result of the recession. But regardless of the reason for moving, the need to declutter is the same. The real estate market is tough, and a cluttered, disorganized house is just not going to cut it.

When a house goes on the market it needs to be "lean and mean". Flat surfaces need to be clear, and personal items kept to a minimum. Closets need to be clear and orderly with nothing on the floor. Storage spaces (garage, basement, attic) need to be as orderly as possible with items in containers and stowed away on shelves.

In a way it's a blessing. It provides an incredible opportunity to assess what you're keeping and why. Plus, why pay movers to transport boxes full of junk?

In fact, even if you're not moving it can be helpful to put yourself in the moving mindset. If I had to move, could I put my house on the market? If not, what would I have to do to get it ready? What are those mystery boxes in my basement, and do I want to continue to live with them?

Why wait until you're ready to leave your house to make it livable?

The fact is, even if you're planning to be in your home for a long time it can still be liberating to lose the clutter. Then you can show off your home to friends and family instead of realtors and prospective buyers.

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Are you "CD" or "SD"? 
Sunday, January 18, 2009, 09:48 PM
In the organizing industry, we make a distinction between "Chronically Disorganized" (CD) clients and
"Situationally Disorganized" (SD) clients.

CD clients are those who have a history of disorganization. These clients have tried to get organized, but have not found success. Disorganization affects their quality of life and they're generally not hopeful that their situation will change in the future.

SD clients are disorganized because of a situation in their life, such as birth, death, a move, a renovation, etc. Working with SD clients is a finite process. They simply need an extra set of hands and a little motivation and they're off and running.

Obviously, working with a CD client is vastly different than working with an SD client. When working with a CD client, the process needs to slow down to allow the client the time to work through and express their feelings.

Do you recognize yourself in either of these definitions? Want to find out more? Write to me or give me a call...

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During the Economic Crisis, Decluttering Becomes a Humanitarian Act 
Sunday, November 2, 2008, 08:34 AM
Just this weekend alone, I've read two articles about charitable organizations that are in serious trouble. Both the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and the Volunteer Management Center have stated that donations of money and goods are way down, and their programs are being impacted.

If you're sitting in a home filled with clutter, how can you help?

I think the most important first step is to sit down and do some soul searching. Is your clutter the result of compulsive shopping? If so, try cutting back on your shopping trips and donating the money you would have spent in the stores.

Is your home filled with useless gifts you've received from family and friends? Ask your loved ones to stop the gift giving and write a check to a charitable organization.

Is your kitchen filled with cans and boxes of food you're not using? Collect all that food and get it to a collection site (see www.njfoodbank.org). Last week a food pantry in Paterson hung a sign that read" Closed Today-No Food" as hungry people, including children and the elderly, waited in line.

Overall, think about the waste in your life. Wasted money. Wasted time. Wasted space. Wasted energy. We all have it. Then think about how you can redirect yourself. In the end, maybe helping someone else is the motivation you need.

NOTE: The FoodBank also has a "wish list" of items for their facility and clients, including children's new winter clothing, coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and school supplies. Call Donna at 908-355-3663, ext. 222 for more information.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008, 01:26 PM
When it comes to toys, I've definitely decided that "less is more". Somewhere along the line, parents got the idea that their children need playrooms filled to capacity with toys, but is anyone having fun?

If you observe a child in a very cluttered playroom, you'll often see them wandering and unfocused. They're not sure what to pick up and play with. The environment is just too stimulating. But if you remove the excess, and arrange the toys in an appealing, organized way, it changes the whole picture.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before/during a toy purge:

1) Do you want to involve your child/children? (This depends on their age, temperament & your ability to make decisions.)
2) What is your philosophy on toys? Do you truly believe that "less is more"?
3) Which toys are pure garbage and need to be tossed?
4) Which toys can you donate?
5) Do you need to store some toys and rotate them to keep the play environment fresh?

With the holidays fast approaching, you can also start to think about which toys can be given to those in need. Some donation sites will take used toys in good condition, others request only new toys--unopened gifts are perfect for the new toy drives.

My thought: Children want our love and our time, not piles and piles of toys. What do you think?

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Monday, April 14, 2008, 08:46 AM
The word "green" has become a major buzz word in every industry, and organizing is no exception. Professional Organizers handle piles and piles of "waste" every single day, so it's natural for us to start thinking about the impact all this "stuff" has on our environment.

When we purchase and accumulate to excess, it can greatly affect our personal environments. As our rooms become overfilled, we can become unfocused, run late, and feel depressed or ashamed. But our overconsumption is now causing more large-scale damage as landfills bulge and global warming progresses.

How can you, as an individual, help?

Here are some thoughts. Feel free to respond to me and add your own.

1) Stop the waste at the checkout counter. Bring earth-friendly cloth shopping bags to the store. I've had many clients who hoard the paper and plastic bags, so this change can actually address two problems!

2) Return your hangers to the dry cleaner. Fewer hangers will need to be produced and your closets will suddenly seem a lot bigger, too.

3) DONATE, DONATE, DONATE!! Instead of throwing out your used things, pass them on to someone in need. Call or write me for info. on where to donate books, toys, clothing, and more.

4) Look into www.freecycle.org, a web site dedicated to recycling what people no longer need or use.

5) Be a very careful shopper. Before you proceed to the checkout, think hard about whether you really need the item. If you don't need it, you're purchasing clutter and potentially adding to the landfill.

6) Try "repurposing" items in your home or buying used items. Instead of running out to buy 10 plastic storage containers, pull an antique dresser down from your attic and use that instead. Be creative and you'll help the environment!

7) Give earth-friendly gifts. Instead of giving a child a plastic toy, buy them a membership to the local zoo or children's museum. Instead of buying an adult a candle or picture frame, buy them a gift certificate or another "experience" gift.

Send me your ideas! I'd love to poste Part II of this entry.

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