Tag Archives: decluttering

Ways to Get Things Out of (and Into) Your House

Are you downsizing or relocating? Or just have some stuff you want removed from your house? Every now and then need a couple of strong guys to deliver furniture or take away a big load of donations?

These 3 options provide ways to jettison the stuff you don’t want.



Remoov is a company that takes everything away and sells or donates, recycles and trashes items you don’t need. They literally “remove” everything, sell what they can and give you the difference between the cost of the moving and processing and 50% of the proceeds from the sales of items. They curate to get the best price for the items. They sell items through their online auction site: TheLocalFlea.com.

  • 50% of the value of the sold items
  • Donation receipt for your taxes
  • Your junk responsibly discarded
  • A new home for your unwanted items

They are committed to reducing waste by increasing recycling and reuse of products. The timeframe for the removal of items can be quite short.  Getting money back from items sold can take many weeks.  Pricing is easy to figure with their online graphic.

MaxSold (1)


Having an estate sale is a one traditional way of clearing a home. MaxSold is an ONLINE only version of an estate sale.

What do you have to do to prepare? Separate items you want to keep from those you want to sell. Items for sell will be grouped into “lots”, photographed, put into an online catalog and marketed locally. Viewers of the auction have 1 week to bid on items. Pickups are scheduled for 1 day in particular time slots and managed by MaxSold staff. Purchasers must show ID and proof of purchase before being escorted to pickup their “lots.”

The whole process takes 2 weeks end to end. Max Sold charges 30% or $10 per lot OR $1000 overall whichever is higher. MaxSold does not handle donation or disposal of items that don’t sell.



Think of this as Uber for movers. On-demand or by schedule you can get 2 guys to load, haul, deliver or move things within a home. A simple to use phone app lets you set your pickup location, add a photo of items to be handled, get an instant quote, and movers can be on their way within 30 minutes. You can also schedule a date & time in the future if needed. Currently only available in SF Bay Area (all counties) and Los Angeles. Drop-off point can be up to 150 miles from pickup.

Examples of when to use:

  • Bringing home furniture from IKEA or another store
  • Taking away boxes of books for donation
  • Taking away a load of junk to the dump
  • Moving furniture between rooms of the house
  • Pickup a craigslist purchase and deliver to your house

These are only 3 of many different ways to declutter and downsize. When you’re ready, help is available!


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Filed under Bay Area Services, Decluttering, Empty Nest, Garage, Moving, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Too Easy to Buy, Too Hard to Let Go

shopping - 1

“Getting stuff” can be fun and easy…it’s the “letting go” that can be challenging

We Americans have too much stuff.

This is our observation gleaned from decades spent immersed in the home organizing industry and working with people in their homes. Why is this?

Stuff is cheap. It’s easy to come by things relatively cheaply. Big box stores such as IKEA, Target, WalMart, and Costco always have great deals on household goods and furniture…not to mention the ease of buying with Amazon. The advent of online shopping means goods arrive at our door with one click. Even getting used things is easier than ever with sites such as Craigslist, eBay, Freecycle, MoveLoot and NextDoor.

New things are fun! Our media and culture promote the excitement and promise of re-decorating, having the latest fashions and gadgets. We have acclimated to the idea of rapid change and stimulation. These forces help drive us to think of everyday goods and furniture as almost disposable instead of intended to last for years.

Smaller families mean gifts abound – we see this so often with kids’ toys. With smaller families there are more adults to dote on the kids. Gone are the days where a child gets a few things from their parents and maybe the grandparents. Now we have aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors with few or no kids who want to get in on the fun. It all adds up to too much.

Environmentalism. Even our desire to be green adds to the problem. We are lured into buying things that are cheap…Wow! A couch from IKEA for $119? What a deal! But when that couch gives way or wears out we feel bad for wanting to trash it…sometimes we hold onto broken or worn things, trying not to waste them by sending them to the landfill. But then our garage turns into a trash receptacle.

What to do about it?

Curtail the shopping. Make a game out of shopping at Costco and only buying 5 things you really need. Begin with the end in mind and – before you buy – imagine what you’ll do with the item when it wears out or you’ve outgrown it.

Request non-tangible or consumable gifts from extended family and give those yourself. Providing savings bonds, promises of outings, shows or more elaborate vacations…even contributions to a car fund…can provide long-term satisfaction to both the giver and the receiver.

Think “Environment” before you buy. Buy for quality and endurance. Will that item be valued by your children when they’re ready to start their own families? Will there be a market for this item in the future?

Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” – Bryant H. McGill

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Holidays, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Easy Solutions for Keeping Kid Keepsakes

kid art - 1

Do you have a unwieldy stack of kid creations in your garage or closet? Do you love to see the creativity in the various objects they create then feel paralyzed by the thought “Now what do I do with it?” Rest easy, you’re not alone. In our decades of organizing, kid art and memorabilia is one of the most common clutter challenges we deal with.

Here are 3 tips to manage the overwhelm:

Show it off before stowing it away

Dedicate a bit of wall and surface space to display the most recent creations. It gives time for everyone to appreciate the items and for attachments to wane a little. When new items come in, it’s time to decide whether the older items really make the cut at true keepsakes.

Separate the wheat from the chaff

They aren’t all keepers. Really. Remember, the goal is to keep a representative sample that catches a snapshot of their life. This includes homework. Routine worksheets and tests aren’t nearly as personal as original writing – kids talking in their own words about their lives in that moment. Also, don’t delude yourself that you’ll “make time to go through it later”. Be honest, you’re life is likely too busy and there’s far better uses of your time.

Use the right containers

Oversize art portfolios (available from craft & art stores) work perfectly for the preschool/early elementary years. Regular size art, homework, awards, cards/letters, and school/sport photos fit perfectly in a plastic file storage box with box bottom hanging files for each school year. Definitely have separate containers for each child. Object art does best in it’s own box, tissue wrapped for protection.

Bonus tip: Go digital! Take pictures of your child’s creations and put them in a system – folders, iphoto albums or sites like Picasa. And there are many apps available to memorialize your kids’ art.

Imagine your grown child coming back home to clear out their things after they’ve launched. They find a discreet amount of their memorabilia – a portfolio and a box – with the special art they created in their childhoods and are able to enjoy the memories and revel in their creativity while not being overwhelmed by dusty heaps of tattered paintings and dog-eared papers.

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Filed under Bedroom, children, Closets, Decluttering, disorganization, Empty Nest, Garage, General Organizing, home organizing, Kids, Memorabilia

Cleaning Out Your Garage for Fun and Profit

Use the opportunity of a garage sale to purge your closet

Use the opportunity of a garage sale to purge your closet

Summer is a great time to consider clearing out the debris from your garage and making room!  A garage sale is a great way to make some extra cash and clear out lots of unneeded/unwanted items.


  • Clear out needed space & make some money!
  • Opportunity to connect and socialize with neighbors and your community
  • Feel good seeing your objects go directly to new owners


  • Several hours work to gather items, prepare and hang signs, hold the sale, clean up
  • May not make much money
  • Will likely have leftovers that you’ll have to donate or dispose


  • Enlist friends and family to help out – they can add their items into the sale to make the sale more varied and appealing to buyers
  • For multi-family sales decide ahead of time how you’ll track who made what
  • Stock a fanny pack or cash box with at least $20 in small bills to make change for early shoppers
  • Make clear, simple signs (with arrows!) and post at major intersections near the sale
  • Post the sale online on www.Craigslist.com, www.WeekendTreasure.com, www.NextDoor.com or other local event listings, 1-2 days ahead of time—include pictures of what you have to sell, if you can.
  • Don’t bother trying to sell worn-out or dirty items, but you could have a “FREE” box for items that aren’t saleable.

Pricing Tips

  • When setting your prices be clear about your goal for the sale – maximize the $$ made or just move out stuff? Price accordingly!
  • Pre-pricing takes time but can save some effort during the sale and make things easier for customers
  • Save big expensive items for craigslist, people shopping garage sales are looking for deals and usually not carrying a lot of cash.

Curb Appeal

  • Place large items out front
  • Group like items together as much as possible
  • Use folding tables to make browsing easier
  • Hang shirts/dresses/jackets if possible
  • Create a container of small $.25 items and label it clearly – this can keep kids busy while parents shop

Deal With The Leftovers

  • Advertise on your local FreeCycle.com or Craigslist that everything past 3 pm on your last day of the sale will be free and sitting in the driveway or at the curb
  • Have some empty grocery bags or boxes ready for clean-up time to immediately create donation bags
  • Pre-schedule a donation pick-up from a local charity for the week following the sale (www.DonationTown.org)
Garage after the sale

Imagine the possibilities!

Does all this overwhelm you?  Hire an organizer or just call 1-800-Got-Junk!

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Filed under Garage, General Organizing, home organizing, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Marie Kondo’s Organizing Inspires Lasting Changes

Marie Kondo's book on "The Japanese Art of Tidying Up" offers fresh strategies based on spiritual principles

Marie Kondo’s book on “The Japanese Art of Tidying Up” offers fresh strategies based on spiritual principles

There’s been a lot of press recently about Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Considering the existing volume of self-help organizing books already out there we were curious why this book has captured people’s interest so powerfully.

The media is abuzz over it, our clients are talking about it, and after exploring it more thoroughly, we are inspired by it.

We live in a culture of consumption that really values volume. Coming from a totally different culture, Marie Kondo awakens us to a Japanese way of looking at our things. At the heart of her de-cluttering approach is the Shinto belief of animism – that objects have energy and a life force that should be acknowledged and honored.

The object of any de-cluttering method is getting rid of stuff. Kondo’s approach changes the focus of purging. Instead of analyzing objects for their functionality in our lives, she trains us to sense the energy within our possessions …and only keep those that inspire or create joy. Kondo’s technique is very spiritual and holistic – gets you out of your head and logic and into your heart and emotion. She’s asking what you want to carry forward with you in your lives.

The end result of the process is an uncluttered home and a clearer relationship with the things you own.

Key points:

  • Sort by category and order matters, start with clothes and end with memorabilia
  • Do it quickly
  • Find if the item sparks joy by holding it and sensing your body’s reaction
  • Give yourself a time limit for the entire purging process- 1 week, 3 months, 1 year…decide first how long you will take for this project
  • Do it now, don’t delay

Are you feeling inspired to try a new approach? Practice by holding an object and sense how it makes you feel. If it doesn’t spark joy, can you let it go? This exercise will get you in tune with the relationships you have with your stuff and move you towards a home you love.

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Filed under Bedroom, Closets, Decluttering, General Organizing, Kids, Kitchen, Laundry, Living Room, Memorabilia, Office, Paper, Perspective, Strategies

Moving Back Home – decluttering the past

What will you  hold on to from your past?

What will you hold on to from your past?

Laurel recently graduated from college and shares her story of refreshing the room in which she grew up.

“Where am I going to fit all this stuff?” I wondered, thinking of the eight packed suitcases that were scattered throughout my parents’ house. When I graduated from college last month, I knew that it signified the end of an era. For all of my memorable years, I had been a student, and for the previous four years, all of my trips home had been temporary.  I’d never brought home more than a couple of suitcases at a time, but suddenly the belongings I had accumulated while I was away at school needed a home in a room still full of remnants of my childhood.

I spent the first days of my last summer vacation cleaning out my bedroom. I donated boxes of clothes I hadn’t recently worn and a dollhouse I’d forgotten I owned. I recycled old papers from high school whose grades no longer carried the weight they once had. When I came across items with sentimental value, I asked myself, “Will I bring this to my first apartment?” If my answer was no, it was put aside to be donated or gotten rid of.  If I wasn’t able to part with something I discovered, I vowed to revisit it when the time came to move out on my own. I saved pictures and other memorabilia, but limited myself to a single box. After two days of purging and cleaning, there was empty space on my shelves and room in my dresser, and the unpacking finally began.

The process of moving back home after living on my own in college was made easier by the reclamation of my space. I revitalized old picture frames with recent photos, parted with stuffed animals no longer in need of my love, and made my bedroom feel like home again. Receiving my diploma was not just the commencement of my life as a college student, it was the start of a transition to a new phase. When I do move out on my own, I will be grateful to be surrounded only by things that I will be glad to have come with me. Nobody dreams of moving in with their parents after college graduation, but at the very least I won’t be living with the past 20 years of my own life as well.


What do you own that you are glad to have with you?  What about the rest?

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An Un-Cluttered Mother’s Day

Mothers Day is a time to honor and remember those women in our lives who have nurtured us.

Mothers Day is a time to honor and remember those women in our lives who have nurtured us.

I think of Mother’s Day as a time to honor my mother and all those who have nurtured me.   What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

If you want to give a gift to a nurturing woman in your life, ask them what makes them feel special.

If you are a mom, let your family know what you want.  How do you want to remember this special relationship?  If you dread getting gifts you don’t really want or can’t use, take charge (and help them out) by suggesting a gift of some kind of service.  Does getting a massage or a pedicure or a ticket to a concert help you feel loved and appreciated?  Does receiving chocolate just make you groan with regret because you know you’ll just eat the whole box – at one sitting?  Let your people know!

Sometimes a personal note, written on nice stationery or a card can mean the world to someone who has cared for you.  This is a low-clutter way to honor your special woman.  Write your own true thoughts. A simple thing to do is make your own haiku. (3 lines; 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.)

my mother was strong

I remember her hands

holding, letting go

 Just spending time with Mom can make the day special.  Focus on her solely.  Don’t let her deflect the attention away from herself.  Ask her questions; What makes you happy?  What’s your best memory of your mom? What have you liked best about being a mother?  What do you dream about?

If you feel like your family never acknowledges you or doesn’t give you what you want, give to yourself.  Part of being a nurturer requires you to know how to care for yourself.  Chances are you won’t buy yourself a gift that you can’t use or don’t love.

Plan a party to honor your mother.  Even if your mother is no longer with you, it’s heartwarming to raise a glass in her honor and toast what she did right.

What’s you favorite Mother’s Day memory?

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Filed under General Organizing, Holidays, Kids, Perspective