Wednesday, July 01 2015
What should you do with all the extra stuff in your house that you don’t have room for? A lot of people deal with this by renting a storage unit and just dumping everything there.
Did you know that the self storage industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the period of the last 40 years? I find that incredible!
Depending on the size of the unit, you can spend anywhere from $100 to $250 per unit per month. I have known several people who rent more than one unit. Multiply that by 12 months and you are spending at least $1200 a year to store your "stuff".
Personally, in most instances, I find the decision to rent a storage unit is just a form of procrastination, not a solution. It is, generally, a way to put off dealing with the inevitable; going through the items and making decisions about keeping, tossing, donating or selling.
A woman contacted me last month to talk about utilizing my services to help her declutter and organize her apartment. She was going away on vacation so we scheduled a consultation and first session for this week. When I confirmed the appointment the day before, as I always do, she told me she decided not to follow through. When I asked why, she told me she decided to just put her stuff in a storage unit.
But is this really the best solution?
When you have to rent a separate space outside your home to store all the stuff that you can’t fit inside, this is a "red flag" that you just might have "too much stuff"!
It’s one thing if the need is temporary (for example, when your house is being renovated, or you are staging your home and moving to another home), or if you truly have no room in your home for seasonal items, but some people rent storage units for years and years in order to hang on to things that are worth less than what’s being spent to store them. Does that make sense?
Wouldn't it be better to sell them, donate them, or just throw them out!
Think about it! On the off-chance that someday you discover you actually need one of the items you previously discarded, it’ll probably be less expensive to buy a new one than to keep the old one (and all your other junk) in storage for years and years.
Also, if you have something in storage that really is valuable to you (sentimentally or otherwise), why not honor it in a special place in your home, where it can be appreciated? How can you enjoy that item if it is stored in an outside unit and never seen? If you determine that you don’t have room for it, chances are there’s something else in your home that you could get rid of and never miss.
Always remember - Use the things that you use and enjoy today. Don't save them for “someday”. I call that "someday syndrome". That's when you think you’ll need something that you don’t want or need now. That can be an expensive decision.
So, to store or not to store - that is the question. What is your answer?
If you are contemplating renting a storage unit or already have one that you would like to get rid of, contact me. I can help save you money and honor the items you treasure today!
Tuesday, June 09 2015
How many people do you know that have lived in their homes for over five years? Are you one of them?
Just imagine how much has been accumulating in your home since you moved in. Do you know what you have? Chances are you don't.
We tend to gather items over the years and store them away and then forget about them. There is not one time that I have worked with a client that we do not find something they have either been looking for or just completely forgot that they had. It's just a matter of time!
The most common time for people to access what they have in their home is when they are actually moving out of it! But, I ask you, why wait? Why not take some time and create an inventory of what you have in your home now? Here are some steps you can take to get this done:
1. A Room At A Time - Don't attempt to inventory your entire home at one time. Work on one room at a time. Start at the top of your home and work your way down.
2. Make a detailed list of items you want to purchase. Do you want to replace the comforter set on your bed? Write it down. Do you want to change out the light fixture in your bathroom? Write it down. Even if you don't think you will make that purchase right away, put it on your list. Treat it as a punch list that you can use to get things done over time.
3. Make a detailed list of the items you need to repair. Does your closet door squeak? Does your carpeting need to be steam cleaned? Put everything you need to repair on one list and then get them done as soon as you can. It is important to always work on the upkeep of your home. If you create a list for yourself or a handyman, these items can be knocked off your list in no time!
4. Create an inventory of the appliances and electronics in your home. For insurance purposes, it is important to have an inventory of the major appliances and electronics in your home. Include a detailed description and model number. Keep this list in a fireproof/water proof safe box to use in case of a fire or flood. This will speed up the process when making a claim with the insurance company.
Whether staging your home for sale or just keeping up with the contents in your home and the repairs it might need, it is important to create an inventory and know what you possess.
Do you know what you have in your home?
If this process is too overwhelming for you, I am here to help. As a professional organizer who specializes in residential organizing, I can help you identify what is in your home and organize your contents in a way that makes it easy to find what you need, when you need it. Simply contact me to discuss you organizing stumbling blocks.
Tuesday, June 02 2015
Wow! Is it June already? I have been so crazy busy that I have not had the opportunity to write a blog for the past few weeks. I have been working with a lot of clients lately who are downsizing. They are transitioning out of their home into a smaller home. When this happens, many people struggle with how to fit all of their possessions into a smaller space. That is where I come in. I help my clients decide what to keep, what to sell, what to donate and what to throw away in the trash.
I actually get excited when I hear that someone is moving into a new home. Although it can be stressful, it is a great time to evaluate your possessions and decide what is truly needed and wanted. It's a fresh start. So many of us obtain or collect items during the many years we live in a home and do not take the time to weed through our possessions on a regular basis to re-evaluate what we want or need. Moving into a new home tends to help so many focus on this task. However, it can be overwhelming.
It is important to keep in mind the following:
1. Always focus on where you are going and how much space you will have. You need to constantly remind yourself of the amount of space you will have in your new home to help you make smart choices. Stay in the present when deciding on an item. If you hear yourself talking in the past i.e., "I used to use this for...", it is time to let it go.
2. Pick your favorites. As they say, everything cannot be your favorite. Be selective about the items you wish to take to your new home and be sure the item is needed or brings you joy. Don't get stuck in the "Maybe someday I will need it" syndrome. Your home is intended to be lived in, not acting as a storage unit.
3. Set a deadline. Many people who are downsizing are doing so because their kids are grown and have moved out of the home. However, they left their stuff behind for various reasons. Make sure your kids know you are serious about downsizing and cannot take their stuff with you when you move. Set a deadline and tell them that they either pick up or have their stuff delivered or shipped by a certain date or it will be donated. You do not have the room to store their stuff any longer and you do not want the added expense of having it moved to your new home.
4. Become familiar with the home you are moving into. If possible, visit the home you are moving into to do some space planning in advance. This will help you choose the items you will have room for and how they will be set up in the home. This includes furniture placement and cabinet or drawer storage. Take pictures if possible to refresh your memory when making these choices.
5. Organize the packing of boxes and furniture. Be sure to clearly label your boxes and furniture so the movers will have an easier time putting them into the appropriate rooms in your new home. Use color coding by taping a colored piece of paper on the doorway of each room that coordinates with the color on the boxes. Moving companies love when this is done. It avoids them having to ask you every five minutes which room you want certain items. It will also save time, which saves you money.
Downsizing is the opportunity to begin a new chapter in your life. It can be a stressful time but with the help of a professional organizer, it can be an exciting time!
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of downsizing, I am here to help. I can help you go through your possessions to make those important choices, space plan your new home and assist with staging your current home for sale, if need be. I will work with you to help you through the emotional attachment issues you might be experiencing with your upcoming move.
There is an upside to downsizing!
Monday, February 23 2015
Last night I was watching the Academy Awards Ceremony a/k/a The Oscars and it got me thinking of the stage. The stage can be set for homeowners who are looking to sell their homes, as well.
I am well aware that we are in the midst of the winter season, but, before you know it, Spring will be here and that tends to be the time of year when people are looking to put their home up for sale. It is a little more complicated than just putting a sign on your lawn. You need to prepare - and what better time to begin the process than during these cold winter months.
Over the years, I have helped realtors and home owners alike, "set the stage" to get their home ready to sell. Although there are many aspects to staging your home for sale, I would like to provide you with a quick overview of some areas to focus on.
1. Closets - If packed tightly, closets will make a home appear to lack closet space. It is vital that you eliminate the unnecessary clutter in a closet and organize it to maximize the amount of open space you want to show to the potential buyer. Using matching hangers for clothing will create a nice visual impact, as well.
2. Bedrooms - The bed should face towards the doorway and be the focal point of the bedroom. Eliminating the excess furniture will provide plenty of space in the room for navigation and clear surfaces on end tables and dressers will be pleasing to the eye.
3. Bathrooms - Be sure the surfaces are clean and clear. Remove soap scum and redo any grout that has discolored over time. A clean bathroom is a great way to stage your bathroom. Create a functional but relaxing environment, especially in a master bathroom. The display of white or cream colored towels will open up the space in the bathroom and provide a spa-like feel.
4. Kitchen - A simple and inexpensive way to update your kitchen is to use a new coat of wood stain or a good sanding and a coat of paint. Replace the hardware for a fresh new look and, as always, clear your surfaces of clutter. Lastly, remove area rugs from in front of the sink to open up the visual appearance of the kitchen.
*On average, most sellers will spend an average of $1950 on their bathroom and kitchen renovations with an ultimate return of approximately $3250, which is about a 65% on their return. Bathrooms and kitchens are essential spaces in the home and where most buyers are either won over or lost.
5. Living Room - Providing plenty of light in this room is a major source of approval by a potential buyer. Be sure that the shades are open and use lighter colors where possible to give the room a more spaceous look. Create clear paths to navigate and avoid having the back of a sofa face the main pathway. You want to open up the room to visitors and not block them off with misplaced furniture.
A few simple steps can increase your home's potential for a higher selling price. Removing clutter is one of the most important ways to do this.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of staging your home for sale or considering downsizing, don't hesitate to contact me. I can help you to "set the stage" for sale.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, March 03 2014
No, not me, but many of you are "moving on". You are getting ready to move out of your current house, condo or apartment and into a new home.
Sometimes we are happy about the move, sometimes not. We might be leaving behind great neighbors, a home we grew up in or the first home we bought when we moved out of our parents home. Sometimes we have raised our children in the home but it no longer serves our needs Sometimes we are moving because we need to relocate to another city or state for a new job or it's time to downsize (or upsize). There are so many different reasons that we decide to move.
And talk about stress! Moving is one of the more stressful things we do in our lives. There is so much to do! There is so much to prepare, but not to worry. If you create a plan, you will be able to more easily transition from one home into another.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you have a "smooth move".
1. This is a great time to declutter. It's amazing how the thought of moving all that stuff gets us to re-evaluate our possessions and begin to focus on how we can declutter so that we do not have to take it all with us. This is so important to do. Do you really want to spend the time now throwing all of your stuff into boxes, paying the moving company to move it and then have to weed through it when you get to your new home? Do yourself a big favor and do it before you move so that you can be sure that what you are taking with you is what you really want to keep.
2. Select the right type of box for your item. Moving various things involves using various types of boxes. Although moving companies have great heavy duty boxes and wardrobe boxes, you can also collect boxes from local liquor stores or supermarkets. These smaller boxes work well. The divider inserts in the liquor boxes are great for transporting alcohol or other glass bottles you might have in your kitchen. (If you are moving across state lines, be sure to check the regulations for transporting alcohol.) Produce boxes from the supermarket tend to be heavy duty and have handles on each side to make it easy to carry. Check into purchasing used boxes to save money. There is a store near me in Doylestown, PA called Box-It that is great for this purpose.
3. Divide and conquer. When packing boxes, consider dividing them up into categories. Besides the items you are packing and taking with you, you might have charitable donations, giveaways, items to sell or trash. Try to use different types of containers/boxes/bags for these various categories. Do not use a trash bag to pack up items to move. You might very easily throw the bag away, thinking it is trash when it's not.
4. Label, label, label. You cannot be too careful. Clearly label all sides of a box with not only the contents, but which room the box should be moved into when you arrive at your new home. This will make it easy for the movers to put the box in the right room, saving you from having to physically move a box from one room to another.
5. Color coding. Whenever I have moved, I not only labeled the boxes but labeled the bedroom doors and other areas of the home using "color coding" on the boxes to match. Inexpensive round sticky labels work well. I found this to be a great tool for the movers. It avoided them having to ask what goes where. They were able to do it on their own, saving them time and, therefore, saving me money.
6. A room at a time. When packing, set a goal. For example, pack the living room on Monday, the kitchen on Tuesday, the garage on Wednesday, etc. Focusing on one room at a time will reduce the feeling of overwhelm.
If you are thinking about moving some time this year, now is the time to start preparing. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the thought of decluttering and organizing the move, feel free to contact me. I am here to help make sure you have a "smooth move".
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, August 21 2013
When was the last time you took a good look around your home? Is it time for a change?
I recently met with a new client who has lived in her home for about 18 years. She lives alone.
As we went through the home I learned that she does not use her dining room in the traditional sense. She does not have dinner parties or sit-down dinners with friends or family. She uses the space to gather paperwork as it comes in the door.
This prompted me to ask her if she would be interested in converting this space into a home office. Upon some consideration, my client decided this was a good idea. As a school teacher, she has a lot of paperwork to process and needs a larger and brighter area in which to work, rather than her current space in an area of her basement.
The dining room is spacious enough for a long table or desk and a filing cabinet to store her personal paperwork and school work. It is set off from the foyer so it is not the first thing you see when you enter the home. It's the perfect solution as it would eliminate the need to go downstairs to the small cramped area in the basement to work. My client would have easy access to the kitchen and powder room as needed.
When I purchased my home, the builder had intended the room next to the kitchen to be a family room. I already had a living room on the first floor so another family room would not suit my personal needs. Instead of having a small dining area divided by a pony wall in the living room, I decided to make the intended family room into a nice-sized dining room where I could easily entertain and serve my guests from the kitchen.
Just because a room is originally intended for a certain purpose does not mean that is what you have to have it be. Change a dining room into a home office! Change a family room into a dining room! It's okay! The point is to create a home that suits your personal needs - and this might change over time.
So, I suggest that you take a look around your home. Are there areas of the home that are not being used because their original intent no longer fits your needs? Is it time for a change?
If you need assistance in creating organized and functional spaces in your home, I can help. You deserve A Better Space.
In the meantime, leave me your comments about the areas of your home that you would like to change or have already changed to accommodate your current needs. This might inspire others to do the same.
Have a great week!
Monday, August 12 2013
Recently I helped a client prepare her home for sale. She was downsizing from a three-bedroom rancher with a full basement to a two bedroom condo. I not only helped her de-clutter, I helped organize, downsize and stage her home in preparation for putting it on the market.
This prompted me to think about some low cost ways you can spruce up your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers (or even for you to continue to live in):
1. Landscape - Your home's curb appeal is the first thing that people notice when they drive up to your home. Keep your lawn mowed and weed-free. Trim the shrubs low enough to be able to see the front windows. Put out some colorful hanging baskets of flowers near the front door to create an inviting entrance.
2. Paint the interior - A fresh coat of paint or a new color on the walls can change the look of a room very quickly. If you are painting in order to sell your home, avoid dramatic colors and stick with neutrals. Save the color for accent pillows, area rugs or other items that are mobile and easily changed out.
3. Give the kitchen cabinets and drawers a makeover. You can refinish the cabinets and drawers with a coat of paint or stain to give them a fresh look. Updating the hardware on will provide a whole new look.
4. Update light fixtures. If you are currently dining under a chandelier or light fixture that is 20 years old or if you are getting ready each morning under drab lighting in your bathroom, it's time to add some new lighting. Select tasteful yet simple fixtures and add a dimmer in the dining room for extra appeal. Use bright, natural lighting in the bathroom. By cleaning your fixtures, you will be able to provide additional brightness to a room very quickly.
5. Maximize storage. As a professional organizer, I believe that this is very important. Cramped closets are unattractive to buyers and frustrating to your family members. Clear out everything from the closet and only put back what you currently need to keep. Use a closet system that provides plenty of shelving and rods for efficient organization.
Whether you are putting your house on the market or want to simply spruce up your home for you and your family, utilizing these tips will start you on your way.
After helping my client to stage her home, she was able put it on the market and received an offer within six days. She is making settlement at the end of the month.
If you need assistance with preparing your home for sale, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, July 26 2013
Do you rent a self-storage unit (or two) to store your "stuff"? Some of my clients do.
I have a theory about off-site self-storage. Basically, I believe they are great if used short term. They are very useful when you need additional space to store items that you are transitioning from one place to another, for example, after the passing of a parent. There are other examples as well.
However, I do not believe they should be used over the long term as they can become expensive to maintain. Calculate the monthly fee by 12 and see what you are spending over the course of a year. It is worth it or can that money be put to better use?
If you are going to rent an off-site self-storage unit, you should at least know what to look for.
With literally hundreds of local self-storage facilities in any given area, how do you choose one of another? Do you choose one closest to home, one your Aunt Jane's friend rented last year, the one you keep seeing advertised on television? You need to find one that best suits your needs.
DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN ALL THE HYPE - When it comes to making a choice, hindsight is 20/20. Don't get caught up in the bright and snazzy colors on the bulletin board ads, local newspaper ads or elsewhere. Don't take your eye off the ball. The bottom line is service.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK - Seek out a knowledgeable customer service associate to help you. Make several phone calls and visit several locations. Ask lots of questions so you can make an informed decision.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Where are the various facilities located? Is it located in a congested area? You want to be able to get to your unit when you need to without hassle.
SAFETY AND SECURITY - Is the facility located in a safe location in case you need to go there at night? Is there 24-hour surveillance? Are there separate alarms for each unit? What kind of fire protection or sprinkler system is available? Is there climate controls such as air conditioning or de-humidified units available? Is there heat for colder months when your items might freeze?
ACCESSIBILITY - You want to be able to get to your unit and access your items at times that work best for you. What are their hours of operation and are there any restrictions on the times of day or days of the week you can load or unload your unit. If 24-hour, seven day admittance is important to you, make sure you find a company that can accommodate you.
TRANSPORTATION - Are there dollies or carts available on the premises or do you need to supply your own. Is there sufficient space to bring a U-Haul or trailer on the back of your vehicle to load or unload items?
OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT - What size units are available? What are the various prices? Are there any discounts available? (Some offer the first month for a $1). What is the cancellation/refund policy? Is the facility insured for break-ins, theft, fire damage, water damage or natural disasters? What insurance are you required to carry? How do they handle non-payment (just in case you forget to pay your bill) and how long do you have to retrieve your items?
Renting a storage unit at a storage facility requires that you take the time to get the facts. Be sure that you are "Self-Storage Savvy" when it comes time to renting a unit.
My hope is that you eliminate the clutter in order to avoid having to incur this additional expense, but just in case, I hope this helps.
Until next time, I wish you an organized day.
Sunday, May 19 2013
There are times in our lives when we need to step back from our day-to-day lives and evaluate what is going on and whether it's time for some change. We all need to do this from time to time.
There are times when we need to make some changes to perhaps better manage our time, re-purpose a room in our home or grow our businesses.
When life changes, we need to change with it.
Are you finding that you have more responsibility these days and you are not getting everything accomplished that you want to? It might be time to step back and evaluate how you are spending your time. It might be a matter of re-prioritizing in order to make room for more, while eliminating what is no longer needed.
Do you have a room in your home that was being used for a certain purpose that no longer serves you? Perhaps that home office in the basement that you no longer work out of or enjoy spending time in needs to be re-purposed into a work-out room instead.
If you own your own business, as I do, you might need to evaluate where you are and ask yourself where you want to be. Is what you are doing working for you? If not, it might be time for a change.
I personally just moved my home office upstairs from my basement into a spare bedroom that was not be used. It was wasted real estate. I have now created a new office space that features a large window and lots of natural light. I purchased brand new office furniture that provides lots of space to spread out and, therefore, I find myself being more productive.
Aside from that, I am evaluating my current business structure and considering changes that will help me grow my business even more. I feel a strong need to reach out to more people and am working on ways to make that happen.
For some time I have felt the need to step back and evaluate my personal situation and take the steps necessary to make some changes. I invite you to do the same.
Don't become stagnant in your life. We are always moving forward and with that comes change.
If you need some assistance in making that happen, perhaps by determining how to repurpose a room in your home to maximize its potential or learning some time management skills to make better use of your time, please feel free to contact me.
I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, April 17 2012
Has your living situation changed recently? Have you decided that you and your significant other should now be living together? Congratulations! It can be a very excited time; the prospect of a new life together. However, it can bring challenges. One of them being blending two people (or families) into one.
I get contacted quite often as a professional organizer by people who have recently married or moved in together and are now struggling with trying to fit two households into one. We all know, we can't keep everything we own and still have room for someone else. It takes compromise, a concept we become so familiar with when in a relationship.
Perhaps it's you who is moving into your partner's home; perhaps your partner is moving in with you. Perhaps you are both moving into a new home together. Just how do we make it all work?
Communication is key. You need to discuss what is going to stay and what is going to go. You cannot expect that one person is to give up everything in order to move into the other person's home. It requires "blended organization".
You might have double the furniture - two bedroom sets, two living room sets, two dining room sets. You have to decide which sets of furniture will stay and which will go. Will they be sold, given to other family members or friends or donated? I discourage using a storage unit long term to solve this problem. It is an expense we don't need to incur if we make some decisions.
You might have multiple sets of pots and pans, dishes, silverware. Which sets will remain, which will go? This kitchen is a very common area in which blended organization comes into play.
You might have lots of artwork, nick knacks, collectibles. Do you have enough room to incorporate all of it? Does some of it need to be eliminated? I find that if someone is that passionate about something, you should do whatever you can to keep the collection in tact, but within reason. If it's a large collection, it just might need to be downsized in order to make it fit into the home. Discuss solutions that work for everyone involved.
My late husband was an avid record collector. We had a wall in our apartment and later in our home that had cabinets filled with record albums and boxes of 45's (all in alphabetical order by artist, by the way!) We agreed that the entire collection would stay in tact and we were able to come up with a solution for storage that did not intrude on our style of daily living. The key is to whether the items will take over the home. Remember, we need to own our possessions, not have our possessions own us.
Are you sharing closet space? If so, it's possible that you might both need to weed out your wardrobe to reduce its contents to make it fit into the designated area.
My wardrobe currently occupies my entire walk-in closet in my master bedroom and spare bedroom. However, I can tell you that if and when someone special comes into my life and we decide to combine our households, I will need to reduce the amount of clothing being stored to make room for that special someone. For now, I have the space to myself and can spread out. We need to live within the space that is provided.
The bottom line is that when you are combining households, you need to be sure to take the time to communicate about how each other's possessions will fit into the living space. It might mean eliminating things altogether or it might mean reducing the amount.
The other factor that comes into play is how each of you function but that is a blog for another day.
If you have questions about how to blend your home to accommodate each other, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, March 05 2012
Clutter is one thing but when it's not yours, it's something else.
Here's the scenario:
You were always relatively organized. However, you had kids. Everyday you struggled to keep pace with their toys, electronics, paperwork, clothing and the like. Their stuff invaded your home from the moment they were born until the time they grew up and moved out.
And, finally, after all those years, they grew up and moved out. Okay we had to deal with "Empty Nest Syndrome" but, admittedly, a piece of us was thrilled! Yahoo! We finally had our space back and we could again control the environment in which we lived. Right? Wrong.
It is said that when they move out, they never really leave. Is that true in your household?
Two things could have happened. One, they moved back home again. "There's no place like home; there's no place like home", or, two, their stuff moved back home again. How did this happen? You were just getting used to having your own space and the calm that comes with it.
In the first scenario, your kids were so anxious to get out in the world and be in charge of their own destiny. (The grass is always greener on the other side, right?) Instead what happens is they find out they can't afford to make it on their own. This is more common than not these days due to our economy. So they move back home and bring all their stuff with them. (Probably more than what they left with!)
The second scenario is that your kids do move out but cannot afford a large enough space to hold all their stuff. So they turn to you and say, "Mom, can you hold onto a few things for me because I have no place to put them?" How many of us have heard that question?
Now what do we do? We want to help out our kids but still want to maintain the balance in our lives that we were finally able to obtain.
I have one word of advice - "BOUNDARIES". You need to set limits on the space that your returning kids can occupy and the stuff that comes with them. They cannot bring it all back and then some. Just like before, it is a shared space, but this time, they are adults and need to respect your boundaries.
You need to set boundaries on the amount of stuff you are holding onto for your kids who now reside in their own home. They need to learn to live within the space that they have and make choices. You have to and so do they. Remember, your home is not a storage unit!
Whether your kids are returning home to live or using your home to store their items, you need to sit down and talk with them about those boundaries and have them understand that they must be respected.
Spring is a great time of year to evaluate your current living situation. To me, it represents growth and change. It's time to make a change and claim your boundaries.
Until next time...
Sunday, March 27 2011
With the Spring season underway, many people decide its time to move to a new home. The process can be quite stressful, even when it comes to unpacking once you get there.
Here are some suggestions for getting organized when unpacking your belongings after the move:
If your new place wasn’t cleaned before the previous residents moved out, start the unpacking process by having professional cleaners come in and give the place a good scrubbing. No one wants dust and grime under their belongings in closets, on shelves, and on the floor.
After the cleaning crew is gone, I suggest that you unpack supplies and rooms in this order:
Essential items: Toilet paper, hand and body soap, shower curtain, bath towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, paper towels, trash bags, scissors, a change of clothes, vacuum, broom, dustpan, pillows, bed sheets, and pet food and bowls. I suggest packing these things in a clothes hamper and have it packed in the car, not the moving van.
The kitchen. Start by unpacking the food first and then dishwashing supplies, drinking glasses, silverware, plates, pans, and finally everything else.
Assemble beds and put on sheets. You will definitely want to sleep in your bed that very first night. You will probably be exhausted!
Bathrooms. They’re relatively easy to unpack. Just remember, put like things together in your vanity and your linen closet.
Coat closet. This is more of a priority in cooler weather than in warmer weather. You will want to know where your coats and accessories are when you are leaving the house.
Clothes closet and dressers. Set up your closets and dresser as you had them prior, if possible, to make it easy to find what you want because you are familiar with its placement. You can always change it around later.
Laundry room. Dirty clothes tend to pile up quickly when moving. Set up your supplies so you can begin to wash clothes when needed.
Remainder of bedroom. Aside from clothing and bed linens, there are other areas to unpack such as jewelry, nick knacks, art work, end table contents, books for the bookshelves, etc.
Home office. If you have one, just know that hooking up equipment with all of its cords and cables can be stressful, so be prepared to take your time with this step.
Dining room. After putting your office together, you’ll need this low-key room. Set up your dishes and table linens so you can have a nice place to eat after a long day. Celebrate your move by doing something special.
Family room. Setting up the television and all of its peripherals can be just as frustrating as putting together the home office. Expect it will take some time.
Porch or Deck. If you have one, take some time to set up your outdoor furniture to give yourself a breather. Enjoy a glass of lemon aide and take in some fresh air when needed.
The garage, basement, and storage spaces. Save these spaces until late in the process because it might take you weeks to get these the way you want. Just be sure to put the appropriate boxes in these spaces so that when you are ready, everything will be together.
The last thing I would do is hang artwork throughout the entire house. Nothing makes a house more of a home than hanging and placing personal effects around the home.
When you’re unpacking boxes (unpack all the boxes!) be sure to lay all pieces of packing material flat to ensure you don’t miss small items. Also, break boxes down as you go instead of waiting to do them all at once. You can sell them on Craigs List or give them to others who are moving through Free Cycle. Try not to damage them if you can.
Try to wait until you're in the process of unpacking a room to buy any organizing products. You may not need bookshelves, storage bins, etc., once you’re in a space.
Finally, a few weeks after you’re unpacked, evaluate all of your decisions and make any changes as needed or desired.
Do you have any other suggestions? I would love to hear them.
If you need assistance in staging your home, packing up, organizing the move or unpacking in your new home, contact me. I would be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, March 18 2011
Lately I have been presenting a lot of seminars on various topics concerning organization. Last week I did a seminar with a certified public accountant and we talked about the tax benefits if you have a home-based business. I spoke on how to best organize your home office space so that you can locate your paperwork and keep accurate records for your business.
The major theme of that seminar was "Document, Document, Document". It cannot be stressed enough as to how important it is to do; whether you have a business or not.
A perfect example came to light for me personally this week when I received documentation in the mail from Wachovia Bank which is soon to be changing over to Well-Fargo Bank officially in my area in mid-April.
The packet of information that was sent included the changes to the various types of accounts. In reviewing the information, I came to the conclusion that, after decades of being with Wachovia, formerly CoreStates, formerly First Union, formerly PSFS, I did not like what they had to offer and decided I would be closing out my accounts and moving them to another bank.
In the old days, this was no big deal. You went to the bank, spoke with the bank officer, closed out your account(s) and took your money with you.
Today, because of on-line banking - which I love because it saves me so much time - the transition will be a bit more complicated. I have not spoken with any representative of the bank as yet but plan to do so within the next week or so prior to the switch over.
I am not sure what their policy is as far as record keeping for accounts that are closed out. I have been doing online bill paying with Wachovia for the past 3 years and want to preserve that information.
This will be much easier for me to transition because I have kept good documentation of all of my bill paying activities.
I always urge my clients to print out the confirmation after they have directed the bank to make the payments for a certain amount on a certain day because they provide a Confirmation Number.
I am comforted by the fact that I have always kept good records of my transactions with the bank, not only on line, but by printing out a paper confirmation to attach to the back of each bill that I pay. I have taken the steps to create a list of the entities involved, their address where the payment is electronically sent and their account numbers so that my transition will be so much easier. I do not feel I am leaving anything behind but just moving forward towards a better fit for my financial needs.
The moral of the story is to document, document, document. You never know when you will need to put your hands on important information that might not be accessible at some point in the future.
Just some food for thought...
If you should find that you need assistance with this or any other type of organization, contact me. I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great and organized week.
Sunday, May 30 2010
Do you know "How Long Is Too Long?" when it comes to keeping something?
This past week, I was working with a client who had bought a new home and was transporting all of his worldly possessions from one home to another.
First, the job was a lot larger of a task because no sorting was done ahead of time. Everything went with him to the new home. He put off the task and decided to just do it when he got to his new home. (There is lots of extra time and effort and expense involved in taking this route.)
Second, a lot of the boxes that were being transported had been stored in the garage for the past 15 years!
When it came time to sort through all the boxes, it was not surprising to me to find that he didn't actually want 90 percent of it. He had moved it to the new home for nothing. A lot of the items were in very poor condition, dated and not useable.
The lesson learned here is two-fold:
One, don't move to the new home without first going through everything that you intend to move to make sure you still want to take it with you and...
Two, procrastination can cost you time, effort and expense. It takes a lot more time to haul the items, it takes longer to unpack the items and sort through them then just not packing them to begin with, and it costs more to move them when you have to pay a moving company to move excess items that you will end up getting rid of anyway.
Do yourself a favor. When it comes to moving, do the work ahead of time by sorting through your items, putting like-items together and labeling the boxes clearly so you know what room they should be placed in your new home.
Finally, holding items in boxes that you don't open for 15 years clearly states that you just don't need them. You didn't miss them all that time, you won't miss them now!
If you are moving to a new location, do it in an organized manner to save yourself that time, energy and money. If you are overwhelmed with that prospect, feel free to contact A Better Space to get some help.
In the meantime, have a great Memorial Day weekend.
Friday, July 18 2008
I have recently had several of my existing clients advise that they are moving. One of my clients is downsizing from a home to an apartment, one is moving from an apartment into another apartment in another town and the latest is moving from one house to another.
My advise to anyone who is planning on moving is to go through everything in the home to make sure that what they have is what they want to take with them. I guarantee in every instance, you will find that there are many items that have just sat around the entire time you have lived at that current location and chances are those items will remain in boxes when you move. Why spend the time and money to move those items? Just get rid of them.
If they are in good condition, someone else can make use of them. Either give them away to family or friends, donate them to a local charity, freecycle them by going onto freecycle.org or place an ad for sale of the item on Craigs List or some other local listing. Another option is to have a garage sale before you place your home on the market for sale. (See my previous blogs about how to conduct a Garage Sale).
The bottom line is that you want to make the move as smooth a transition as possible and you can do that by only packing up and taking what you truly need.
Using the services of a professional organizer to help you make those decisions and help to organize the packing will save you lot's of time and aggravation when you move to your new home. Moving companies love when I organize the packing with my clients because they always know where something should go. It saves time and therefore saves money because they can move your items into the home fast and, therefore, you don't have to spend as much for their time.
I recommend using my services to help you before and after the move. When you get to the new location, using my services to organize the placement of items in the home can save your lots of time and aggravation as well. You want to get your home settled quickly so you can function easily and enjoy it.
If you have any questions or concerns about an upcoming move, please feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you make your place A BETTER SPACE.
Have a great week!