Organization


Do you get cold feet when thinking about a de-clutter session? Are emotional ties and guilt diluting your ability to be ruthless and strong? If indecisiveness sets in, here are some guidelines that may help.

It is Junk if:

  • it’s broken or obsolete (and fixing it is unrealistic)
  • you’ve always hated it
  • using it is more bother than it’s worth
  • it wouldn’t really affect you if you never saw it again
  • you have to clean it, store it, and insure it (but you don’t get much use out of it)

If you can check off one or more of the above truthfully, then it’s probably junk. Go ahead and Pitch it.

It’s NOT Junk if it:

  • generates love and good feelings
  • will do something you need to have done
  • has significant cash value
  • gives you more than it takes
  • will enrich or delight the coming generation

If you can check a few of the above comfortably, then it’s probably not junk- enjoy it and feel good about it’s place in your life.

Age, sentiment and “I may need it someday” all have their legitimacy. Think about a fire extinguisher as it hangs there for twenty years- it’s not the latest style, it’s ugly, it’s never used, it costs money to have checked and re-checked- but it’s certainly worth having when it’s needed once in that twenty years.

Our thanks to ‘Clutters Last Stand,’ by Don Aslett for his ideas and humor.

Photo image courtesy of  Keerati at freedigitalphotos.net.

All clutter isn’t crammed, stacked, or hidden; some of it is DISPLAYED! Take a look at your Bulletin Board. What do you have on it, how old is it, how much do you have there, how many layers deep? By the way, the record is 207 notes, photos, recipes and cartoons. Some would say that a cluttered, outdated bulletin board is a clue that we’re the same. :-)

So off with the old stale jokes, last semester’s school papers, too-late to question repair bills, didn’t -get-rid-of-an-ounce diets and you-can-be-sure-it’s-no-longer-available classified ads. Off with last season’s upcoming events and the phone numbers and addresses written at all different angles. 

Before you start pinning new things on your board, you will want to decide decide why you have a bulletin board. Do you have a bulletin board so that you can quickly reference materials you need to see on a regular basis? Do you have a bulletin board to be decorative or provide you inspiration? To be a collection of information for one specific project so that you can track your progress? Do different areas of your bulletin board serve different purposes? Do you actually have a need for a bulletin board?

Used properly, a bulletin board is a great tool to stay abreast of what’s going on in your world.

P.S. Taking clutter off the bulletin board and slipping it into a drawer doesn’t count!

Thanks to Don Aslett for the inspiration.

Photo image courtesy  David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net

Have you found that browsing food blogs has replaced flipping through colorful cookbooks? You may have several cookbooks and use only a handful of recipes out of each book. With the computer readily available, you may find yourself turning to your cookbooks less and less and ultimately deciding that you’d rather have the free space than storing the cookbooks.

When is it time to say goodbye to a cookbook?

Keep the cook book if:

  • You have actually used three or more of the recipes in the cookbook in the past year. Even if you use your cookbooks regularly, there are probably a couple you could de-clutter to make space for more!
  • It’s a classic
  • Specialty cookbook i.e pies, appetizers etc.

Sure, keep your favorite cookbooks that you refer to often, but if you’re only interested in one or two recipes, you don’t need to buy the entire book. Lots of online sites offer collections of free recipes. Try epicurious.com, AllRecipes.com and Cookstr.com to find and keep track of recipes that you’d like to try out.

Check out the library’s collection. You can check out the ones that interest you and put stick note tags on any recipe that you’d like to try. Photocopy the tagged pages at home or when you return the book to the library. If you REALLY fall in love with a library cookbook, you can buy it for yourself.

You can also create a notebook in Evernote or Pinterest with recipes you’d like to test. If you don’t like them, you can always delete them. And, if you decide to keep them, you can create an digital cookbook using Evernote Food.

Making the decision to de-clutter is never easy, but be sure to ask yourself the hard questions as you consider each cookbook so that you’re only keeping those that you truly value.

Do you have a cookbook you would NEVER part with? Which one and why not?

Photo image courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Gold and Silver JewelryA peek into our “jewelry boxes” might severely disappoint a sneak thief. They may be brimming, but often there’s a glittering array of junk mixed in with those jewels: gifts not to our liking, plastic rings and pins from the kids, a few snarls of nut and shell necklaces and maybe a rare coin or two. The jewelry box is a nice small place to start de-cluttering when you have a need but don’t have a lot of time.

Start by emptying the whole thing on top of the table or do it drawer by drawer.

1. Evict any stray nuts and bolts, Easter basket chicks, safety pins, etc.

2. Gather up all the non-working watches, mate-less earrings and cuff links, unstrung beads, chipped enamel earrings, pins with discolored or worn plating, etc., and either get them fixed or quietly retire them. Here’s a shop in Seattle that repairs jewelry: Rhinestone Rosie.

3. If you can’t bear to part with it, at least move the mere memorabilia out: the circle pin that was so in when you were in junior high, your first-ever steady’s school ring, the micro-dot diamond from your first engagement.

4. Pass unused valuables to family.

5. If you love the stone but hate the setting, reset it to your taste or style so you can use it.

6. Sell the stuff you never liked if it’s genuine. One of our employees recently had a positive experience at Bellevue Rare Coins.

7. Give all those one-time tie pins and novelty necklaces and earrings that will never grace your neck or ears to someone to whom they’re still a novelty. Perhaps your children or grandchildren would like to play “dress-up.”

8. If your jewelry box is still full here is a nifty little DIY project to hang some of your jewelry courtesy of Bzesty.com. It’s a great way to de-tangle and display all those treasures.

How about it gentle reader, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve found in your jewelry box?

A special thanks to Don Aslett, ‘For Packrats Only’ for the inspiration.

Photo image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

 

Want to jump-start your laundry-room de-cluttering? Try these fast tips from Ellen Phillips’ book, “Kick the Clutter.”

Ditch dried-up detergent. If you have boxes of powdered detergent, borax and bleach that have hardened to concrete-like consistency, stop deluding yourself that they’re still usable and throw them out.

Let go of lost socks. If you have a collection of partner-less socks and gloves, now’s the time to bid them adieu. You can bag them up to donate to Seamless Moves’ Lost Sock Day Clothing Drive (watch for details in a couple of weeks).

If you can’t get it out, throw it out. If you have a pile of stained clothing waiting to be cleaned- but you have cleaned it, tried spot-remover, bleach and everything else you can think of and the stains are still there–those stains are there to stay. Bundle them up and give them to Northwest Center, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or a shelter. Don’t worry, these won’t be sold as usable clothing. Non-profits often sell these beat-up clothes as rags to companies who recycle them.  Then, pick a good spot-removal guide likeTalking Dirty Laundry with the Queen of Clean.

Circular-file the fabric softener sheets. No matter how many times you’ve heard there are 150 ingenious uses for them, if you’re hoarding used fabric softener sheets, throw them out! If you’re using them regularly, you’ll have one on hand when you need to soften the burnt-on food in that casserole dish.

Please share your favorite laundry room de-cluttering tip in the comment section below.

You’re beginning to think about downsizing and moving into a smaller home or retirement community. But how will you ever clean out your current home, pack up and move? When you’ve decided to start downsizing, here are some tips to help.

1. Begin in the areas you’re not currently using, such as extra bedrooms, the basement, the attic, or the garage. This will be less disruptive to your daily life and these areas are likely to contain items that haven’t been used in a long time, so they won’t be missed when passed on. 

2. Tackle big items first, such as furniture. Use sticky notes to label the furniture, or keep a list of which items go where/to whom. You’ll see results more quickly when you start with the big items first. If you start with the smaller things, the task may seem overwhelming and you may give up before you really get started.

3. Set up boxes to put things in for donations, to sell, to toss, or to give to your children or friends. To save time, label each box so you know which is which. Sort directly into the appropriate box so that you don’t have to re-sort these items later.

4. Focus. Resist the urge to do a little here and a little there. You’ll feel as though you haven’t accomplished a thing. Tackle one room, one closet, or one drawer at a time until it’s done, then move on.

5. Give away items that no longer have value to you or bring you joy.

6. Assign your belongings. Make a list of the treasures you’re ready to part with now. Assign names to each one – perhaps people who have admired a specific item, or people you would like to see have a particular item.

7. Save only what you have space for in your new place.

And if you feel like you’d like a helping hand with your downsizing, contact Seamless Moves for your complimentary consultation.

Craft Room Before (Seamless Moves client)

Crafting is a great way to relax and have fun. No matter what type of craft activity or DIY project you prefer, the emotional benefits of crafting are immense. But not if your craft room becomes a ‘dumping ground.’ To ensure your crafting experience will be more enjoyable, we suggest keeping craft materials organized by placing items in plastic containers, closet organizers, baskets–whatever works for you.

We know it’s hard getting rid of little scraps of ribbon and random clock parts that you just know you could make into something amazing – someday.

Here are a 8 questions to ask yourself as you begin the task of organizing and/or purging any excess materials:

1. Have I used this in the last six months?
2. Do I have something specific in mind to use it for?
3. Do I enjoy using this type of craft material?
4. Do I have more than I need?
5. How long have I had this?
6. Will I be using/finishing it in the next six months?
7. Do I need someone else’s help or input to finish it?
8. How much time/work is it realistically going to take to finish?

There’s a reason quilters call their fabric a “stash.” :) Anyone else have a “guilty pleasure” with projects and supplies?  How do you deal with it?

Craft Room After

“But they gave it to me!” is one of the biggest, if not the biggest excuse for hanging onto junk. Gift disposal can make us feel so guilty. Those little useless gifts we so often buy our loved ones when we need a gift but have no idea what to get, leaving them to say “What do I do with this?” Next time you want to give a gift consider this advice: if you really want to show love and appreciation to someone, there are two gifts that always work:

1.Visit them when they are sick or in need. You don’t have to bring them anything; just visit them.

2. Give them pictures or photos of themselves, their friends, family, home or pets.

Here are a few more ideas that might help both shopping worries and the war against Clutter:

  • Anything edible- a gift that warms the tummy warms the heart as well. Try to steer clear of consumables that come in decorative tins, baskets or containers.
  • Flowers (not artificial) that do not come in a vase or pot the recipient will feel obliged to keep.
  • An offer of a certain number of hours or days of help (with any chore or errand they’d like help with) such as baby-sitting, pet sitting or plant sitting.
  • Tickets to an event or entertainment, movie tickets, etc.
  • Membership in an auto emergency assistance program such as AAA, car equipment, or car polishing by yourself or the pros.

Anyclutter-less gift ideas or suggestions from our readers?

 

There are at least a hundred categories of clutter and today we are looking at the “junk” you’ve got right on you — in your purse, wallet or handbag. The worst thing about this particular form of clutter is that you don’t merely own it, but almost always carry it with you. And sitting on a too-heavy wallet or carrying a heavy purse can actually cause back problems.

As you are removing the non-essentials (old receipts, grocery lists, expired credit cards, etc.) from your wallet and purse consider this:  1,000 wallets and purses are stolen every two minutes in America. Police who receive reports of stolen wallets lament the same thing: people carry way too much stuff with them, handing their entire lives over to identity thieves. So before you leave the house, read this list of what not to keep in your wallet, so you can pare down to just the essentials—and protect your finances and identity.

  • Social Security Card- the number one thing NOT to carry in your wallet – memorize the number
  • Passport
  • Checkbook – if you know you need to write a check, just take one with you; or if you need the checkbook, take it out at the end of the day
  • Too many credit cards- carry only one or two of your main cards
  • A non-password protected phone – smart phones may provide instant access to bank accounts, PayPal accounts, medical records and more
  • Gift Cards/Certificates – these are just like cash

For more on what to leave at home see Realsimple.com.

What’s the most random thing you’ve found in your bag or wallet? Tell us in the comment section:

Do you enjoy preparing meals or dread it? Would it be easier if your kitchen were more organized?

As you look into the contents of the kitchen, be honest with yourself and ask, “When was the last time I used this?” Maybe it’s time to either start using the breadmaker, wok and waffle iron again, or let them go.  

Here are a few tips to help you organize your kitchen:

Tag Your Mugs ~ put a colored sticker on the bottom of each of your coffee mugs. Whenever you use one, remove the sticker. After a month, you’ll know which mugs you don’t use and can easily give away.

Store canned goods on can risers ~ Can risers are like bleachers for your canned goods. They allow you to see canned goods placed behind one another. Most have three levels and some are even expandable to fit your space, like this one from The Container Store.

Keep your grocery bags corralled ~ If you reuse plastic grocery bags, a grocery bag organizer is a must. Simple Human has a great version. It has heavy-duty sticky tape that holds it securely to your wall or door.

Use a seasoning packet holder ~ to hold packets such as mixes, salad dressings, mixes and taco seasonings. They come in a variety of textures, styles and shapes.  HoldnStorage.com has a few to choose from. For a more economical choice, use plastic containers whose lids have gotten broken or mysteriously disappeared.

Use glass jars ~ for items you use frequently that come in plastic bags such as beans, rice, pasta and nuts. This eliminates the possibility of contents spilling out and makes them easier to find on your shelf. It also helps keep out unwanted guests such as bugs. 

Last but not least ~ Ensure that all family members know where things go. After you’ve spent your time organizing, the last thing you want is for someone in the family to mess up your new system!

You’ve probably seen desks that look as if they’d gone through the spin cycle of a washing machine, or as if a dump truck had backed up and dropped its load. There are papers–big pieces, little pieces, new pieces and old pieces. There’s a reason for cluttered desktops and piles of files: Out of sight is out of mind. We’re afraid to put anything away because we know we’ll never find it again, or we’ll forget about it.

Here’s a reminder of what we’ve heard before and a tip from Jeffrey J. Mayer in his book, “If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?”

  • To start, take a look at every piece of paper in every pile. Why are you keeping it? If you can’t come up with a good answer, toss it.
  • If there’s any work that needs to be done or action that needs to be taken, keep it. Start a pile of papers to keep.
  • Go through all the papers in the keeper pile and make a Master List, an inventory of all your unfinished work and ongoing projects. Ask yourself a simple question: Is there any work that needs to be done? Do I need to make a phone call? A letter? Is there anything that remains undone? If so, write it on your Master List and either toss the paper or file it.

While there’s nothing new about making lists, the Master List is different.

  • It should be written on lined paper. Never use small pieces of paper.
  • Write on every line on the page, and do not number the items on the list. This is an inventory of all your unfinished work.
  • When you finish a project, don’t just put a check by it; draw a line through it. you’ll get a great deal of satisfaction from doing that.
  • Date your lists. That way you can see how long some unfinished items have been there.
  • Keep your Master List on top of your desk during the day, where you can see it. Don’t put it inside a file folder.

Making a Master List of your ongoing  jobs is only the first step. You will put the papers you want to keep in separate file folders. Remember, though, never put a piece of unfinished work inside a file folder without first noting it on your Master List. If it isn’t on the list, it will be forgotten.

Of course, if you need some help organizing your office, Seamless Moves is here to help.

We’ve shared a number of decluttering household tips over the last couple of years and figured it was time to tackle the TOOLBOX!

Have you noticed that over the years the toolbox that was once a clean-trayed bed for the right wrench and ratchet to squeeze, pound, screw, cut, or tighten anything that came your way, now has so much extraneous stuff in it that it could more accurately be called a “Bumble Box.” Where does every leftover bolt or tack go? Parts almost but not quite dead? Half of a pair of anything? Rusty nails and removed staples, empty cartridges and it ends up overflowing the dividers. Then we add the finishing touch by spilling something sticky that will never evaporate in it.  Sound familiar?

No more dodging this project. Get tough with those broken tape measures and chewed up screwdrivers and ruptured ring clamps. Get rid of them!

How long will it take?

  • If you are Hardheaded handy person – a half hour
  • The seasoned pro- an hour max
  • Multihobbyist – better set a Saturday aside.

Thanks to Don Aslett’s book “For Packrats Only” for his often humorous take on the subject of  getting rid of what we don’t need.

If you are looking to replace your old toolbox, check out DIY Answer Guy; he says he has found “The Perfect Toolbox” (pictured above).

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