Posted in Clutter / Hoarding, Growth, Organization

Clearing Someone Else’s Hoard

What should you do when asked to clear someone else’s hoard?

~Asking For A Friend

Dear “Asking For A Friend,”

RUN!

So, you’ve been asked to help a relative or friend, clear their clutter.  You honestly want to help but you’re afraid you’ll end up being banned from Thanksgiving or the next outing with the girls.  There are ways to help if you stay within some boundaries.  Here are some things I’ve found helpful when asked to help with this task.

  • Ask what your job will be.  Will it be opening the boxes and setting it in front of the person so that they can decide what to do?  Will it be opening boxes and sorting?  Will you be given free rein and you’ll both be doing the same job, which means it will go twice as fast?
  • Ask what the expected outcome will be.  Is this a deep cleaning where the room will be emptied? Is this more like sorting unwanted items.
  • Will items be donated?  This is important.  You need to know which place you will be donating to.  What are their regulations and limitations on donations?  Last, a clear definition of what you both feel would be a donation or should be thrown away.
  • Will items only be thrown away if not kept?  This is not optimal.    If the person is against donating, you need to agree on clear rules of what is considered no longer wanted and goes to the trash.
  • Try very hard not to accept “gifts,” of items no longer needed.  It sounds tempting and you probably believe you could use it.  If you’re dealing with clutter of your own, this will just make it worse.
  • Have a plan for heavy items.  Do not try lifting these items on your own or with your friend.  Call for back up.  If one or both of you gets hurt, the job will never be finished.
  • How much time does your friend need to clean up?  Will you be firm in limiting your time to a few hours, a day, a week, until it’s done?  This is so much better than the two of you assuming something different and hurt feelings in the end.

This is just a basic list.  I am sure you can come up with many more questions, inquiries and limitations.  What is so important is that there is a discussion and there is an agreement.

Without either, you could lose your place at the Thanksgiving table or the next girls only outing.

 

 

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Posted in Clutter / Hoarding, Goals, Growth, Happy Planner, New Office, Organization, Seasons, Uncategorized

Sunday – Planner Day

Last year I wrote a Blog about my Happy Planner.  If you don’t know what one is, just Google it.  When I did my blog, I thought they were sold specifically at Michael’s.  In the last week, I’ve seen them at JoAnn Fabrics and was told that select ones are 70% off at Target.

I was a planner gal way back in the 1980’s when you actually mail ordered these books.  The company (At A Glance) would mail you next year’s in October, along with any other type of sheets.  It was very business-like.  No stickers.  It was a 5 ring binder that totally organized your business life, and let you squeeze in a bit of your personal life.  You literally had only 3 choices of leatherette colors.

Today there are so many types of planners, that you can find one to fit any lifestyle.  I chose The Happy Planner for quite a few reasons.  The first was that I could make it any way I wished.  You can simply slip sheets in and out to organize it the way you wish.  You can focus on a year, a month, a week or even a day on one sheet.  There are many sticker books available on just about any subject you can think of as well as page markers, craft tape and other accessories.

I have chosen to focus a week at a time, on 2 pages.  I also insert a blank page in between so I can journal daily.  Each Sunday, I take time out to organize the upcoming week.  It takes about 30 minutes, and saves me a lot of time and anxiety.

First thing I do is decide on the week’s theme.  The stickers you buy, along with the crafting tape help you do this.  I focused on Being Grateful with my religious sticker pack and coordinated the colors (orange this week) with crafting tape.  I like writing with gel pens, so I use a color that is highlighted in the tape (brown this week).  It just so happens that all are fall colors.

After setting my week up, I look to see what this week’s activities are.  For instance this week, my husband has a meeting this Tuesday night which means we will need to have a crock pot meal that is ready as soon as he gets home.  I have appointments on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning, so my meal prep will need to be done in the afternoon. I have found that deciding on your menu not only takes a lot of stress out of your week, but on busy nights dinner can be so easy.  This week I learned I should also look at the weather when deciding on a meal, so my family isn’t eating mexican soup when it’s so hot and humid!

This week, we’ll have hot beef sandwiches, pork chops, leftovers (garbage night), Chicken Legs and 3 cheese Zita (meatless Friday).  I make sure that Monday is easy and I have all of the ingredients for it.  I make a list of items I will need throughout the week and will pick them up Tuesday, on my way home from Mass. No extra trips needed.  No panic when 3pm hits and I don’t have dinner figured out. No missing ingredients or substitutes.

I realize that I am able to start dinner much easier than women who work outside the home.  By planning, shopping for ingredients, and crock potting on busy nights this helps whenever you are able to be home and start a meal.

Lastly, I make attainable goals for the week.  For instance, Laundry and light house cleaning is in my planner each Monday.  I make easy goals for my business on Tuesday – Friday. All work will need to be done in the office due to the heat in the attic.  I don’t think it’s too far out to think that I can have a prototype cut out by Friday afternoon.  I write that down and decide what will need to be done Tuesday-Thursday in order to attain that goal.  After writing that down, I literally have my week planned, right down to the last entrée.

The first time, it might take a couple of hours to complete all of this in your planner but it is well spent. If your life is chaos and you’re constantly on the move, a planner can make life so much easier.  If your kids are older, you can encourage them to tell you each Sunday what activities they have.  Don’t forget your husband’s schedule as well. This keeps chaos to a minimum if the whole family.

So the next weeknight, you find yourself standing there at 6:30pm with nothing defrosted and your child informing you he has a game at 7pm…. Remember that all of this could have gone better if you just taken 30 minutes and organized it in your happy planner.

 

 

 

Posted in Clutter / Hoarding, Goals, Growth, Happy Planner

Being Content with What You Have

If you are not content today,

there is nothing you can buy

this weekend to change that.

I read this as I raced through my Facebook this morning.  It really said everything I wanted to write about today.  One sentence that says it all.  I could begin and end today’s blog with a minimal amount of lines, compacted in 17 words. However, let me elaborate.

I’m not to proposing you avoid going to the grocery store.  Most of us need to shop for food at least once a week.  I’ve read books on ‘Once a Month Cooking’ or even prepping your food on Sundays.  It is possible to wait for what you ‘want,’ but impossible to avoid getting things you ‘need.’

Let’s talk more about things you want.  We make plans to buy a widget, think a bit about if we can live without it and ultimately save the money to purchase it.  This is a planned purchase and not what is causing your house to be cluttered.  It is the multiple unplanned purchases that you have made that is one of the causes of clutter.

Here is an example from my home. I have an admission to make.  I own 5 vacuums.  Yes, that is right.  FIVE.  How in the world did this happen?

  • One vacuum was my daughter’s when she was in college.  I fixed it, but she had already bought one to replace it.
  • The second vacuum is a vintage Electrolux canister.  I used that for my wood and tile floors, as well as cobwebs in the corners, etc.
  • The third is a Hoover upright that I used for my carpet.
  • The fourth is another Hoover upright that is perfect for pet hair on hard wood.
  • The fifth is a german made canister unit that I found new with tags at a thrift store this past spring.  I absolutely love it and it has replaced all of my vacuums.

This problem seems easy to solve.  I should just get rid of the first four vacuums, right?  Here is what I found out after purchasing (without saving, planning or needing) the fifth machine.  Our garbage service does not accept anything that has a motor and/or electrical cord.  Several larger thrift/rummage stores do not accept vacuums.  I would not feel right about selling them as they are all over 5 years old and we have pets.

If I had known all of this, I probably would have thought twice about purchasing the last vacuum.  I would have questioned myself a bit more on whether I really needed it or not.  I would have investigated on how to get rid of my four vacuums before buying the fifth

This is one extreme example of how clutter in the home happens; and worse yet, the inability to purge it.  We purchase things because we want to ‘upgrade.’  We purchase items to replace something that doesn’t work as well.  We purchase stuff that we have forgotten we already have or misplaced.  It goes back to buying clutter we want and do not need.

If you are battling the never-ending war on clutter in your home, take some time this weekend before purchasing stuff without thinking about if it is truly needed.  Pat yourself on the back.  Put the money saved in a jar for a rainy day fund.   Better yet, for your next vacation!

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