Hints and tips / 29 August, 2018

A client’s perspective on sorting papers

Sorting papers: an essential pre-requisite to a stress-free move

Readers of our blogs might recall the work we did with a client who moved from London to a new home at the seaside but wanted to sort and declutter as much as possible before she moved.

As part of phase 1, we put all papers and photographs to one side for our client to sort out at leisure before our next joint session when the three of us worked together on cupboards and wardrobes.

Our client worked hard on her accumulated paperwork and this is what she said:

My name is Lynne and I’m a bit of a hoarder. My first clue was when I found a small tube of Germolene; the expiry date was October 1987!

Actively encouraged by Carefully Sorted to go through paperwork before everything was packed up for my big move, I set aside time specifically to look at papers – one drawer and one box at a time.

In one cabinet I found: all my council tax bills since 1993, a defunct Filofax from 1995 and some notes of a film I wanted to make about women bikers from 1988!

It was an eye opening-exercise and very time consuming.  Just one filing cabinet took me a solid four hours. As this represented only 1/12 of my total paperwork I had to set aside another 40 hours for this task alone as I had to check each piece of paper before consigning it to the recycling or shredding pile…

At the end of the exercise I estimate that I recycled 80% and shredded 19% and was left with an important 1%. I can tell you first hand that forward planning is essential when you are moving home. It is a painful and a joyous activity in equal measure.

Carefully Sorted you are worth every penny and I will be ready for more help from you as soon as I have finished my ‘homework’.

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you are moving home and heed help with sorting, decluttering and packing, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of APDO The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published by Carefully Sorted on LinkedIn on December 10th 2016.

Hints and tips / 28 August, 2018

Decluttering tips: planning for a move

Planning a move? Declutter first and your move will go more smoothly

PLANNING PAYS OFF

Readers of my occasional blogs may remember two pieces I wrote last year about the work we were doing with a client who was leaving London to move to the south coast.

Many people experience stress and anxiety when buying and selling property. Our client was no exception: she encountered multiple complications with both transactions. However, she was determined to use the additional time created by these delays to declutter and organise as many of her belongings as possible so that when the move finally took place it would be as smooth as possible.

She also decided that bringing in professional help at key stages in the process would help her achieve her goal of moving to her new home free of unnecessary clutter.

USING THE STORAGE AREA WISELY

Our client’s delightful London flat was quite small and there was very little room for a full-scale declutter. It was fortunate, therefore, that she also had a storage room nearby.

During our initial assessment, we all agreed that the storage room was our obvious starting point so we cleared it completely before tackling any other task. It too was quite a small space but it really saved the day during this project.

We cleared it completely and put back in it only belongings which had been sorted and were going to the new place. By doing this, we set up a chain of activities which achieved the desired goal.

DIVISION OF TASKS

The plan worked very well indeed. While we concentrated on maximising space in the storage area and in the flat, we set aside boxes which only our client could sort out. For example, she reduced the pile of papers in the photograph above down to one concertina and two box files. Taking things steadily and calmly really made a difference and at no stage did she find the process overwhelming or stressful.

The move has now taken place. It went very smoothly and it was very gratifying to see that all the preliminary work had paid off. Also, we confess to a little glow of satisfaction when the foreman from the movers opened the storage room and admired the way we had packed so much into it!

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you are moving home and heed help with sorting, decluttering and packing, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of APDO The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published by Carefully Sorted on LinkedIn on March 4th2017

Hints and tips / 7 March, 2018

Spring Clearing Week: 24-30 March 2018

You need to clear before you can clean

Spring Clearing Week: 24-30 March 2018

No, I haven’t misspelt that: I do mean Spring CLEARING week!

Spring is a wonderful time of renewal and growth; the days are getting longer and many of us enjoy an increase in energy levels and have a spring in our step! It’s a great time to take stock of what you want to achieve in the coming year.

In many cultures, it is also a time when people carry out an in-depth clean of their homes, and shake off the winter blues with a spring clean.

Origins

Historically, spring cleaning has been linked to several religious celebrations:

  • The Iranian practice of “khooneh tekouni” (which literally means “shaking the house”) just before thePersian new year
  • The ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the springtime festival of Passover
  • Traditionally, the Catholic church thoroughly cleans the church altar and everything associated with it on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday
  • In Greece, and other Orthodox nations, it is traditional to clean the house from top to bottom either just before or during the first week of Lent

And there are some more practical historical reasons too:

  • During the 19th century, prior to the advent of the vacuum cleaner, March was often the best time for dusting because it was getting warm enough to open windows and doors but it wasn’t warm enough for insects to be a problem
  • In industrial areas, spring was often a time of year when coal furnaces wouldn’t run so you could wash away all the soot which had built up over the winter

Times are changing

However, it seems that people are no longer carrying out an in-depth domestic clean every spring. In 2017 MoneyMagpie undertook a survey of nearly 1,000 people to learn more about current attitudes in the UK towards spring cleaning. The results of the survey revealed some very interesting facts:

  • 14% of respondents said they had abandoned the traditional yearly task simply because they didn’t have time, citing work and office pressures, but also family commitments at weekends
  • 30% said they didn’t need to carry out a deep clean as their houses were kept ‘clean and tidy’ all year round
  • 6% said they didn’t need to carry out a deep clean as their houses as they employ regular cleaners
  • 11% admitted they simply “couldn’t be bothered” with a spring clean, and that a tidy, de-cluttered home was not a priority for them
  • However, more than 80% said they still carried out at least one deep clean a year, with nearly one in five conducting four or more, but that they were no longer done specifically during the Spring.

Time to take stock

However, APDO Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers is keen to ensure that this valuable opportunity to take stock and clear the decks of any physical (and consequently mental) clutter is not abandoned. They want to emphasise the benefits of at annual review of our ‘stuff’ and they have launched Spring Clearing Week in 2018 to raise public awareness.

APDO members believe you need to clear before you can clean. If you can’t move in your own space, then cleaning it is quite difficult!

How can APDO members help?

The task of tackling clutter on your own can feel overwhelming. This is when an expert can work with you and clear a path through the mess, and the stress it causes, to reveal a calmer life and home.

Working in partnership with you, a professional organiser can suggest ways of making the most of the space you have. You’ll be able to find everything you need, whenever you need it and you will find it easier to keep control your belongings.

APDO members have helped thousands of people all over the country save time and money by sorting out their stuff. Find inspiration and motivation via the guest blogs on the News & Media page or on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Google Plus.

Spring Clearing Week aims to inspire people to think about the clutter they are living with and encourage them to do something about it. Of course, APDO members provide one-to-one support all year round. You can find a local organiser here.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of APDO The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

 

Hints and tips / 1 March, 2018

Inspiring literature

Too many books? Be brave and declutter. Passing on books for others to enjoy is very liberating!

Inspiring literature

Whatever your profession, it is vital to keep up to date with new ideas and trends. As a professional declutterer, I am always on the lookout for articles and publications which might inspire me or give me useful pointers to share with clients. Thus, Joshua Becker’s recent publication, ‘The More of Less’ (subtitle: finding the life you want under everything you own) recently hit my radar and so I decided I ought to read it.

In this book, Mr Becker describes a specific day when he was sorting out the clutter in his garage, whilst simultaneously regretting the fact that this chore was preventing him from playing ball with his young son. As he struggled with a pile of possessions, his immediate neighbour casually said, ‘Maybe you don’t need to own all this stuff’. That chance remark set him on a very clear path to minimising his possessions and maximising his life. This is the journey which he describes in this book.

I found several of the book’s themes inspiring and motivating. The theme that struck a real chord with me was the idea of decluttering and using your unwanted possessions to benefit others. You can do this directly or by releasing them to raise funds for good causes. Those of you who have read my earlier pieces will know that when I declutter I try and match items set aside during a decluttering session with very specific causes. Mr Becker’s theme really resonated with me.

Following some excellent advice

Well, I finished the book earlier today, closed it and went to put it on the shelf. Suddenly I encountered a very real problem: my shelves were full to bursting and I didn’t have any room for this slim volume. What to do? Easy, take a leaf out of the book I had just been reading, declutter my books and donate those I didn’t need any more to a worthwhile cause. I set about the task with gusto.

Here is my starting point: overloaded shelves with books piled high where I had run out of space on the shelves. It was quite an eclectic mix: old school text books next to best sellers and several series of murder mysteries which I had built up over time, carefully ticking each one off a list in my diary. As I took each book off the shelf, I quickly knew which I wanted to keep and which could go.

This photograph shows how many books I decluttered, ready to go to friends or to a charity shop to raise much-needed funds. This really is quite an impressive cull, even if I say so myself. Far from feeling deprived, I am happy that others will enjoy these wonderful books and that the money they raise will support good causes.

‘The More of Less’ gave me the motivation I needed to look at my fiction collection with fresh eyes and see just how many books I could put to good use. Very much a case of practising what I preach!

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you need a help with sorting and decluttering an over-stuffed bookshelf or any other area of your home or business, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of APDO The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published on LinkedIn on 17th January 2017.

 

Hints and tips / 1 March, 2018

Decluttering and being neighbourly too

All those seemingly useless items in your cellar or garage might be useful to somebody else. Don’t chuck them in a bin, give them away instead.

 Neighbourly decluttering

 Even the most dedicated declutterers sometimes have areas of their homes which could do with a bit of attention. Mine is no exception. My ‘problem’ area is our cellar. Naturally, I put this down to my partner’s keenness to hold on to things that ‘might come in handy one day’ but the fact is we do need to declutter this space from time to time and as Spring is in the air I thought this was the perfect week to get cracking.

Whilst unwanted books, CDs, clothing and knickknacks are perfect things to take to a charity shop, it is much more difficult to find somewhere for boxes of tiles left by the builders after various projects or bits of technical equipment. Frankly, my local charity shop wouldn’t thank me for the tiles, even if I did have an extra strong trolley to get them there. So, I decided to try a new approach: giving things away through a neighbourhood website.

Thus it was, that at dusk one evening this week I found myself loitering outside our gate, meeting a total stranger and passing her a small parcel containing a set of new casters. Similarly, at dawn the following morning, I went through the same routine, this time meeting a young photographer who declared himself delighted with the two spare bulbs we’d rather randomly kept since selling a studio light several years ago. As for the tiles, four sets of left over tiles have now gone to new homes.

So, what were the benefits of this new approach?

  • Much more room in our cellar
  • Avoiding things going to landfill
  • Some happy people with useful things they didn’t need to pay for
  • And, the icing on the cake, meeting lovely new neighbours

It has been a good experience; one I will enjoy repeating and one I recommend to clients. Happy sorting!

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you need a help with sorting and decluttering tasks, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of APDO The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published on LinkedIn on 10th March 2017.

 

Hints and tips / 28 February, 2018

Restoring order in a chaotic games room

Decluttering restores order in an outside games room

Decluttering an outside games room

Decluttering an outside games room was an unusually chilly assignment for Carefully Sorted, but we tackled it with gusto!

My clients are a family of five who enjoy a great many physical activities in their extensive garden, at the nearby golf course, at their local swimming pool, and when on beach holidays in the UK and abroad. As a result, they have accumulated a huge quantity of outside toys and games equipment. Last autumn, with the family starting the post half-term run up to Christmas, they decided it was time to declutter the space and store the stuff  away until summer came around again.

As you can see for the picture above, the outside games room was a chaotic mess of abandoned toys and games equipment; it was in serious need of being decluttered! Both parents work long hours and so called in Carefully Sorted to provide professional help with this particularly troublesome area.

We started by making a full assessment of what was there. We went systematically through everything, discarding toys that were broken beyond repair or had too many missing parts, and working out what was going to be kept. We were also checking to see if we might need any extra storage containers.

Earlier in the day we had been working on one of the other outhouses and had found a tough plastic trough which wasn’t wanted any more. Rather than throw it away, we had set it to one side in case it could be cleaned up to provide much-needed storage. It was! Cleared of dead leaves and cobwebs and given a good scrub, the trough provided a perfect storage container for the children’s extensive collection of ‘nerf’ guns (yes, it was a new term for us too!) so one of the main categories of toys was efficiently and inexpensively dealt with.

Working from left to right around the room we put body boards into their customised carry bags, grouped golf equipment in one corner, and stood hobby horses in an old laundry basket so that they didn’t keep rolling away and falling over.

We found that an old wooden blanket box provided perfect storage for larger items such as cricket bats, tennis and badminton rackets, and the croquet set and we divided a large collection of buckets, spades and other beach toys into size and type, placed them in two plastic storage boxes, closed the lids and stacked them on top of each other. We shook out tarpaulins and picnic blankets, folded them up and found a spare plastic box to keep them in too. Finally, we gathered the smallest items together and put them on a table, ready for the family to find when they need them.

The result was a wonderfully tidy room with everything in its place.

This task took two of us working together only an hour and a half, so three man hours. The family were thrilled with the transformation and feel inspired to keep the room tidy in future…with three energetic children we’re not convinced this is going to be the case, but one lives in hope!

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you need a help with sorting and decluttering tasks, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of APDO The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published on LinkedIn on 24th October 2016.

Hints and tips / 26 February, 2018

Post half term chaos

Decluttering restores order after an activity-filled half term.

Post half term chaos

Half term can be a difficult time for working parents, many of whom need to take leave or make complicated arrangements to provide child care during what is often a very busy and activity-filled week. Then suddenly it is all over, but it may have left a trail of debris in its wake…

The playroom above belongs to a boy in his early teens and his two primary school age siblings. During half term, they all had groups of friends over to play and a great time was had by all so it is not in the least surprising that the room became so untidy – it was inevitable, and normal!

It looked daunting, but it was in fact mostly surface clutter as the basis of a good storage system was already in place. It took just one of us, working with our client, only two hours to get everything sorted out and the room ship shape.

While tidying up we also set aside books, puzzles and games which the children had outgrown and these have already gone to a local charity shop. We also found hitherto ‘lost’ pieces of Lego sets and missing parts of some games and puzzles.

As this room is near the front door of our client’s house, two hours of concentrated, professionally-led effort gave the entire house a lift; no more rushing to close the door and hide the mess from visitors!

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

APDO Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers has recently launched Spring Clearing Week (24th-30th March 2018), a week of media activities and events designed to focus on clearing your space, and your head too! If you mark this busy week with some activity of your own, why not consider bringing in professionals to help you tackle the troublesome parts of your home? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make! Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

 

Hints and tips / 18 February, 2018

Careful folding maximises space

Short of space? Try using Marie Kondo’s folding technique to maximise your storage space.

Careful folding maximises space

This week I was working with a client who has moved in to a delightful two-up, two-down terraced house just outside London. Amongst many other activities, my client loves fashion, travel, baking, and a variety of sports. Organising her possessions in her new home is like fitting a quart into a pint pot.

The house needs some work doing to it, so the major unpacking has had to wait. My client has been edging her way round piles of boxes for quite a while, but as each building and repair project is completed, she has been able to start unpacking and sorting.

The house has a back extension and there is a small box room leading off the master bedroom. This room looks out over the garden and has very good light. It is too small to be a comfortable guest room, and the only access is through her own bedroom, so my client is going to make it into her dressing room, a solution that will also create space in her bedroom and keep all her clothes in one place.

The wardrobe can’t be moved into the space until a radiator gets shifted a few inches, but three matching chests of drawers have already been installed neatly down one side of the room and this is where we concentrated our efforts.

Readers of my occasional blogs may remember a piece I wrote last year about finding your own approach to decluttering. In that piece, I described how I had used Marie Kondo’s folding technique to tame a client’s troublesome sock drawer. Keen to maximise space in my current client’s new dressing room, and make everything as compact and easy to find as possible, I decided to use the Konmari folding technique for storing my client’s jeans.

 The result was nine pairs of jeans fitting neatly into a drawer, with room for another couple of pairs too. I find this method works very well with jeans because denim is quite stiff and so the resulting ‘parcel’ holds its shape and stacks well.

I showed my client how to use this particular folding method, and she was thrilled with the neatness of it all. As work on the house progresses we have future sessions planned, but in the meantime there is plenty of time for her to practise this simple space-saving technique.

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you need help with sorting and decluttering tasks, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published by Carefully Sorted on LinkedIn on March 19th 2017.

Hints and tips / 18 February, 2018

Decluttering tips: Bathroom blitz

Starting your day in a cluttered bathroom doesn’t get you off to a particularly good start. 5 minutes spent decluttering can make all the difference.

5 minute bathroom blitz

Many of our clients tell us that clutter makes them feel irritable and anxious so it is fair to say that starting your day in a cluttered bathroom doesn’t get you off to a particularly good start.

Just five minutes spent straightening out your bathroom can help you get your day off to a more tranquil start.

The photo above shows a typical bathroom shelf crammed with a variety of toiletries – not the most appealing sight first thing in the morning.

It really took only a few minutes to make a real difference. I found several products that were years out of date, so they went straight in the bin. I zipped up the makeup bag, put the tops on bottles and grouped related products together – leaving items used everyday on the shelf, and putting others back in the bathroom cabinet where they belonged. Then all I needed to do was wipe down the shelf, straighten the towels and there we had it, a significantly less cluttered space.

And here we have the ‘after’ photo – so much better, isn’t it? A few minutes spent decluttering can lift your mood. Why not give it a try?

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you need help with sorting and decluttering tasks, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published by Carefully Sorted on LinkedIn on September 29th 2016

 

Hints and tips / 17 February, 2018

Decluttering tips: making money

Decluttering can bring inner calm and make your home easier to manage, but do you know that it can also make you money?

Declutter and make money

When you declutter and sort through your possessions, you will undoubtedly come across items which you could sell on sites like eBay, Gumtree or schpock. For the fashion conscious, Depop is a great platform for selling second hand clothing and accessories.

Selling through these sites takes time and effort, and it can be disappointing when items you love fail to excite much interest, but it can be a way of raising very useful cash.

Our top tips for selling on these sites are:

  1. If you are selling anything electrical or electronic, make sure it is working
  2. If the item came with instructions and you still have, then make sure sellers know the manual is included and perhaps include a photograph of it too
  3. Make sure the item is clean and in good repair.
  4. Do your research. If possible, find out the original price of the item and check to see if anybody else is selling something similar as this will help you pitch at a sensible starting price.
  5. Check posting options carefully and give accurate prices and timescales
  6. Take clear, uncluttered, well-lit photographs showing the item from every angle. Remember to take a photograph of the label of a garment or the serial number on the back of a piece of equipment, as buyers find this information reassuring.
  7. Give as much information as you possibly can: size, material, country of origin, dimensions, capacity, etc. If the item needs batteries, say so and let potential buyers know what type of batteries they will need to get. The more information you provide, the more likely you are to get serious interest. Buyers can be put off if they need to contact you to get more detail.
  8. Keep an eye out for email alerts and answer queries quickly
  9. Make sure you post items promptly
  10. Always give feedback; you are more likely to receive it in return

And just to add to the list, there are two other important things to remember:

  1. Be realistic and make sure you can cope with items not selling or going for less than you hoped
  2. Be diligent in watching out for emails and comments from buyers – it really doesn’t work if you upload your item and only check back on progress a week later.

We hope we haven’t just put you off selling your hoard of decluttered items because there is money to be made! Here are some texts we have received from happy clients:

‘Blimey, you weren’t wrong about those wine glasses. Loading to eBay right now!’

‘I had a mini bidding war over those little glass ramekins – which came free with lovely puddings! Happy days!’

‘Who would have known that the hideous clock would prove so desirable?’

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CHAT

If you need help with sorting and decluttering tasks, why not consider bringing in professional help? We think you’ll be amazed at the difference we can make. Get in touch today.

Carefully Sorted is proud to be a member of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.

https://www.apdo.co.uk

Originally published by Carefully Sorted on LinkedIn on December 5th 2017