Tag Archives: junk

De-Stressing Your Move: Phase 1 – Planning Ahead

planning for a move

It’s been said that moving is one of the top 5 most stressful life events –

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Major illness or injury
  • Job loss

And often moving must happen because of one or more of these life events!

While there’s no way to make moving completely stress-free, with some forethought you can keep the move manageable. There’s a lot to cover so we’re going to talk about moving in three phases:

  1. Planning Ahead
  2. Start Packing
  3. Moving Day & Beyond

Plan Ahead & Start Early

This is probably the biggest key to managing the stress of a move. Having enough time to organize all the moving parts (pun intended) and stay on top of details keeps you feeling in control. Often the timeline of a move will feel like a ball rolling downhill, picking up momentum and going faster and faster – the closer you get to move date the shorter each day will feel!

  • Ideally, a minimum of 2 months before your move schedule movers and start to tackle problem areas, room by room.
  • Decide if how much packing and moving you’re doing yourself vs. hiring help. If you’re going the DIY route, allow for more time. If you’re hiring packing help, you’ll need to pre-sort things to avoid having boxes of mixed-up stuff to untangle at the new home.
  • Moving isn’t inexpensive! If you hire help for packing and moving, even for a local move, expect to pay a few thousand dollars. Hiring help can be well worth the value. With someone to schlep boxes, you’ll be able to focus your energy on decision making rather than physically wearing yourself out.
  • Know the limits of your new space and let that guide your purging, especially for items such as photos, memorabilia and books. Floor planning ahead of time gives you the exact reality of what will fit in your space. You want to make sure the available storage will hold whatever you bring.
  • Honor your own limits of time and energy for combing through these things in order to weed the collections.
  • Think about what to do with everything you won’t be taking with you. Decide if you want to sell anything via a garage sale, estate sale or online. Identify local donation places and find out if they do pickups. You will have leftovers that can’t be donated; identify haulers or find out your city’s policy on bulky pickups as part of your trash service.

This first phase of moving is all about getting a handle on the big picture and getting through as much of the sorting and purging as possible.

Even if you’re not moving now and just considering it for the future, the process of sorting through things and paring down will make you more nimble if and when you decide to move.

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Filed under Decluttering, home organizing, Moving, organizing, Perspective, professional organizer, Seniors, Time Management

Tackle Messy Build-Up With Your Kids This Summer

organizing crafts

Everyone with kids knows that they typically come with lots of STUFF. And somehow it keeps coming in…if you have more than one kid the challenge is even greater.

This buildup is natural. More than any other time of life, the very nature of childhood is about growth and change. Your child’s abilities, interests, and sizes are constantly evolving  – and all the toys, clothes, learning materials change along with them. And young ones are magnets for toys and gifts from relatives.

This means if you aren’t keeping a constant vigil on moving out outgrown items (and how many of us are, really?) you’ve likely got some backlog of unused and unneeded kid stuff.

If your kids have a little more time at home during the summer, take advantage of that to do some weeding.

Break It Down

You’ll have a better chance at success if you focus their attention onto one category of stuff at a time. A general request to “clean out the playroom” isn’t going to get them very far. But a specific request to gather up all the DVDs and choose the ones they love to watch is much easier to get follow through on.

If you divide up the project into categories you’re teaching an important skill about grouping “like items” together.

Put out a big bag or box and have the kids weed some or all of these groups:

  • Board games
  • Clothes that don’t fit (can even break this down by type – tops, pants, jackets)
  • Sports equipment
  • Craft supplies
  • Art projects/ drawings
  • Books
  • DVDs, video games
  • Electronics
  • Toys (you can break this category down by type – electronic, stuffies, dolls)

Create a System and Motivate

Sometimes it’s easier to decide what to keep, rather than what to let go of. Clearly labeling 3 bags or boxes – KEEP, MAYBE, DONATE/SELL can help. Let your family know it’s like going shopping for things they love within our own collection. This helps kids get in touch with making conscious choices about what they really use and like.

Motivation strategies to get them going:

  • Help them visualize the end result – more space to play with their favorite items
  • Use a timer to bound the work
  • Offer incentives or rewards – a movie night after clearing out unwanted DVDs for example.
  • Create a contest or game around who can purge the most 

Enlist Help

If you’re paying for a babysitter or childcare, enlist their help to tackle 1 category a day. Even as little as ½ hour each week spent on weeding will go a long way to staying ahead of the next influx of new gifts or purchases!

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Filed under artwork, children, Decluttering, General Organizing, Kids, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Preparation

  • 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

Joy of Spring Cleaning

There's no room to do anything in here!

Does your garage look like this? Get organized and sell what you don’t want.

Spring is in the air! This time of year is always an inspiration to clean up and clear out. A garage sale is a great way to make some extra cash and clear out lots of unneeded/unwanted items.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Preparation

  • 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 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.

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.
  • Pre-schedule a donation pick-up from a local charity for the week following the sale (www.DonationTown.org)
  • Have some empty grocery bags or boxes ready for clean-up time to immediately create donation bags.
Garage after spring cleaning and after the sale.

Garage after spring cleaning and after the sale.

How can YOU benefit from a garage sale?

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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies, Time Management

Green De-Cluttering

There are lots of resources for turning trash to treasures!

There are lots of resources for turning trash to treasures!

Do you want to declutter, but dread adding to the waste stream?  It’s easy to be green when you are organizing.  Organizing is all about recycling and reuse.

You’re working on an organizing project and you’re accumulating a pile of items that you no longer want or need.  In can be discouraging to end up with a pile of things that aren’t easy to dispose of…that pile tends to sit around until you “figure out” what to do with them.

The short-term solution for some people is just to put everything you don’t want in the trash.  We must admit, sometimes that option is very enticing.  But with heightened consciousness about the waste stream, just dumping stuff you don’t want can be irresponsible.

Here are types of things you may find in your discard pile and ideas of how to get rid of them responsibly:

  • Sensitive information to shred (paper or discs) – do you have a local shredding company where you can bring this to shred?  Mobile shredding services are available to come to you in some areas. Office supply stores sometimes offer this service.
  • Scrap metal – broken garden tools, miscellaneous metal parts. Most recycling centers have bins for these items.
  • Clothing and fabric scraps – most charities take usable clothing, but clothes that are stained, torn or unusable can still be recycled.  Goodwill Industries takes worn out clothes, sheets and fabric scraps and repurposes them.
  • Plastic stuff – broken toys, buckets or pieces of household equipment don’t need to be put in the landfill.  Many recycling centers take different kinds or plastic for proper disposal or repurposing.
  • Paint, chemicals – these hazardous wastes need special care.  Most counties have facilities for disposing of them.
  • Building materials – many larger cities have re-use stores run by Habitat for Humanity or similar organizations.
  • Food – unopened, unexpired food can be taken to a local food bank.
  • Liquor – word has it that the Lyons or Elks clubs accept unopened liquor bottles and use it for raffle prizes. Check for a lodge in your area.
  • Styrofoam – another item that makes me cringe when I think of putting it in the landfill. Styrofoam is another item that some recycling centers accept.  Making it less onerous to dispose of oversized electronic packaging.
  • Packing peanuts – UPS and other shipping stores will take these
  • Oversize trash  – Junk haulers will pick up for a fee. There are national franchises and local operators; use Yelp to find a good one.
  • E-waste – most cities have electronics recycling centers. Be on the lookout for special e-waste recycling events put on by local organizations.
  • Stuff to sell or donate.  Here is a list of options for getting money (or not) for the things you don’t want.
    • Donate to CharityDonationTown.org will identify charities that will pick up in your neighborhood
    • ebay Trading Assistants – have a special relationship with eBay and can handle many different kinds of items to resell for you.  Generally they take 30 to 50% of the selling price of your item for their service
    • Estate Liquidators
    • Online Community Forums – your neighborhood group, Freecycle.org, Craigslist.org
    • Auction houses
    • Host a Garage Sale – do it on your own or enlist your neighbors to join in

If all this sounds too complicated, that’s where a Professional Organizer can help you out.  Their job is to find ways to re-purpose, recycle or dispose of the many things that clients are done with. Professional Organizers often interface with all the above to help you expedite removal of unwanted stuff. Working with an organizer can help you feel good about your organizing and de-cluttering project from start to finish!

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Filed under General Organizing, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies