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7 Organizing Packing Tips for a Move Across the Country

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My son and his wife  told me they would be moving across the country to start new jobs.  They would be leaving in 2 weeks.  Can you help pack Mom?  Long distant moves on a budget require a lot of planning before the packing begins.  Some of you maybe moving for a job or for schooling.  Take a deep breath and relax.

If you are not hiring a moving company

This move involved selling anything and everything people were interested in buying.  Put your ads for the things you are selling on Kijiji or Craigslist.   Don’t forget about neighbourhood swap and sell sites on Facebook.  You may  have multiple sites in your area and it makes scheduling pickups so much easier when you know that they are in your neighbourhood. But don’t forget the most important source for your sales.  Tell your friends and family and ask them to tell their friends, family and co-workers.  One of my readers shared “do an “Internet Garage Sale” where you made a list of items with prices, emailed it to everyone you know, and asked them to share it with others. We were able to sell quite a few of our larger and more valuable items that way.” Don’t be shy.

Smaller items need to be sold too

You may need to sell clothing, jewelry or home decor items.  Take them to consignment stores.

Determine what you will take, store and ship. 

Moving out

In this case they were driving a car across the country.  They would be staying with relatives until they found an apartment.  They knew of a few people who would be flying out to see them in the next few months.  With this information the packing began.  For each item, it had to be decided if it would be packed:

  • in the car
  • in a suitcase for someone to bring next month
  • in a suitcase for someone to bring the following month
  • in a suitcase for someone to bring later
  • in a box because they were items that they might want when they have an apartment
  • in a plastic bin and stored

You never know what you might want shipped 

Knowing what is in every box makes it easy to find what you need

Knowing what is in every box makes it easy to find what you need

As boxes and bins were packed someone was in charge of keeping an inventory of what went in each box and bin and labelling the container with a corresponding number to the list.  We used google docs so later in the week when more things were packed or removed from boxes the list could be changed and a new list doesn’t have to be emailed to anyone.  You don’t have to worry if you are using the most up to date list.  The reason to do an inventory is so you can find items they might want shipped.  The hope is that the whole box will shipped but more likely they will decide on certain items and they might be packed in a number of different boxes.

Food

We started by going through the cupboards and anything that was unopened and not expired was donated to the food bank.  This can be done early in the packing session and it is an easy way to start.  No difficult decisions need to be made.  Some food can be used during the 2 weeks, some disposed of and then  find a friend who will be happy to take your food.

Donate

Remember to donate items to charity and not to put them in the garbage.

Remember to donate items to charity and not to put them in the garbage.

As time moved on they found things they didn’t want or need, couldn’t sell or give a way or give back to people.  Donate these items to charity.  It is easy to think no one wants them and start putting them in the garbage but most things can be donated.  It takes just as much time to put them in a garbage bag as in a box or bag to go to a charity.  You will probably be eating out so you can take them to the charity on the way to dinner.

You’re finally finished

You are probably tired and overwhelmed and over stressed.  Just take a big breath.  You did a great job, you are about to start a new adventure .  Focus on that.  Don’t focus on the stuff.  Enjoy the trip and the time off before the new jobs begin.

What is your advise for moving across the country in a car, on a plane or in a train?

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

Storage Solutions

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Storage Solutions

On the  People in Connection Internet TV show, I discussed Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Storage Solutions. When you are short of storage space in a specific area, there are many products on the market that can give you more.

Over the Door Hanging Products

There are a number of over the door hanging products found in stores such as Walmart and Canadian Tire.  There are over the door hooks to use for hanging coats, clothes, towels, purses, belts as well as over the door rings for hanging tea towels, hand towels and paper towels.  There also is a great product that has 5 pockets /shelves that are about 6” deep, which could hold shoes, office supplies or laundry supplies.   Using over the door hanging products makes installation easy and quick and you don’t need to put holes in your walls.

Magnetic Products

There are magnetic products that can be used to make storage space on metal appliances such as your refrigerator, filing cabinet or washing machine.  One is a rack with 3 slots to hold papers, magazines etc and a filing pocket to hold file folders.  They are available at office supply stores like Staples.

Unused / Hidden Spaces

There are unlikely places in the home that can be turned into great storage areas.  Under the staircase can be lined with cedar to become a storage area for clothes or bedding.  It can be fitted with a bar to hang clothes or shelves for storing containers.

Furniture with Storage

Using pieces of furniture is a great way to make additional storage spaces.  A simple chest of drawers can be used in an entrance way to store hats, mitts, pets’ leashes, keys etc.  An antique dining room buffet with drawers can be used to store CDs and DVDs.  Two drawer filing cabinets can be used as a night table in a child’s bedroom holding books and toys and later used for school work as the child matures.

When you need to make space to store items think outside the box, many spaces can be used to creatively and attractively store the things you need and love.

Join my Facebook Group Organizing Mind and Spaces

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Coopetition

Do You Play Well with Others? A look at cooperative competition

Professional organizer Julie Stobbe sharing tips with other local businesswomen

Coopetition occurs when companies work together for parts of their business where they do not believe they have competitive advantage and where they believe they can share common costs. (Source: Wikipedia)

In my experience, most professional organizers are very happy to share resources and expertise with their colleagues and reap many rewards from doing so. I asked my client, Julie Stobbe, about her thoughts on the subject, and was so impressed that I invited her to share them here today as my guest blogger.

Cooperating with someone in your line of business is a great way to get to know people, brainstorm and  learn ideas and help each other with areas that you are weak in.

When I decided to try coopetition, I did it on a project basis. I used it to help me to market better, because marketing is not my strength.

I would think about something I would like to have (product development) or something I would like to do (offer a new service) and think about someone who had mentioned that they had an interest in the same thing.  I would approach them with an idea and see if they were interested in working together to develop and implement the plan.  It was nice to have a partner to walk the path with and hold my hand.

The payoff is having to do half the work while increasing business for both parties with the understanding that if they get busy and need help, they would approach me first, and I would do the same for them.  If you develop a service with a partner, if someone gets sick, you have the other person as backup.   I always selected someone who lived east of my main marketing area.  This made it easy to get materials delivered over a larger area – half the work, twice the area covered.  This gave us both exposure to a larger market.

Here are some examples of projects I’ve worked on with people in my field and with complementary businesses:

  • Developing organizing tip booklets; we have 4 different topics.
  • Developing courses to offer to colleges, school boards and groups; we have 3 different 3 hour courses prepared.
  • Advertising someone else’s electronic resources (because I don’t want to develop them at this time) in exchange for services.
  • Advertising together so the cost of printing is shared by both companies.
  • Recommending specialty services to clients, such as clutter removal service, rug cleaning, and website design.
  • Inviting someone to attend new meetings and events with me. That way I don’t have to walk in alone, and perhaps they can make introductions too.

Although I have been fortunate and careful with whom I partner, there are always things to consider.

  • The person you partner with now represents your company as well as their own.  Make sure you have similar business ethics or your company’s reputation maybe adversely affected.
  • If you are producing a product and the quality of what they produce is not up to your standards, you may be disappointed.  However, you have both contributed time and money to the project so they may use it the way they want to.
  • One of the companies may work much harder at marketing the product or service than the other company.  Make sure that you can live with it if you realize that you are marketing them but they are not marketing you.

Overall, I have gained a lot from coopetition with others.  I have grown as a business person, I have learned new skills, I have made good friends I can depend on, and I have learned to be flexible.  I hope my coopetition partners have found me to be reasonable, supportive and hard working.  Taking a chance to work with good people is really making a sure bet.

Thanks to Janet Barclay of Organized Assistant for interviewing me.  Join her Maximize Marketing Club.

Julie Stobbe is a POC Trained Professional Organizer and the owner of Mind over Clutter in Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. You can also like Mind over Clutter on Facebook.

11 Mindsets to fight to obtain organizing success

 

As a Professional Organizer I hear comments from clients that suggest they will not succeed at getting organized.  When I hear these words and phrases I try to coach my clients  through the feelings that are represented in their words and help  them to overcome their internal conflicts.

I asked my colleagues from Professional Organizers in Canada to share words that set off alarm bells in their brains, make them  take a step back and have a discussion with their clients to help them become successful.

Janet Barclay, Organized Assistant from Hamilton, ON phrase is:

Someone else will deal with it. –  Success in an organizing project occurs when the person is willing to take ownership for the task and decisions that need to be made.

April Miller, April Miller Professional Organizing, from St John, NL word is:

Purge – This word has negative connotations related to eating disorders so sometimes this word is replaced with edit, let go, reduce and part with. How a person thinks and feels about their  stuff effects their ability to make good decisions.

Natasha Solvason, Home Free Organizing Solutions, Saskatoon, SK phrase is:

For now, “I’ll put this here for now” –  In an organizing task many decisions need to be made and putting off decisions delays getting the job completed. The more decisions a person makes the better they get at making decisions.

Michelle Wright,  Wide Open Spaces Farm Cleanups,  Smokey Lake, AB phrase is:

“It doesn’t bother me but my (kids, spouse, mother) thinks I should get organized” –  It needs to be the goal of the person to get organized, not someone else’s, because the person will not be motivated to get the job done. Helping people to set SMART goals helps them to be successful.

Set goals that you can attain

Karen McIntosh Murdock,  Your Organized Friend, Saint Albert, AB word is:

“But,” – Anytime a reply starts with this word you know that a problem is going to be suggested for the solution that is recommended. This sometimes highlights that the person is not interested in getting organized and is preventing themselves from being successful  by discounting ideas.

Ida Tetlock, Smart Organizing , Orangeville, ON word is :

“Ready” –  Many conversations I have with people  result in comments such as…. “Oh, I really need to get your help when I’m READY to organize” or “I could really use your help, but I’m just not READY to tackle this yet”.  It can be an excuse to delay starting instead of dealing with an underlining fear.

Carolyn Caldwell, Caldwell Evolutions Inc., Toronto, ON word is:

“Should” -Translate: someone sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear that what I’m not doing  they think I ought to be doing. Replace with “Could”: the language of potential

Erika Bookbinder, In the clear Organizing, Toronto, ON word is:

“Just” – as in “I’ll just leave it here for now”. Whenever the word “just” is inserted into a sentence, it usually means  that the person is doing something they shouldn’t (I tell this to my kids all the time!)

Shawn Ferguson, Everything Organized,  Kamloops BC words are:

Can’t, overwhelming – These words identify a situation where a client is lacking self-confidence in their skills or knowledge about getting organized.  Fortunately with some reassurance clients can begin to gain knowledge and success.

Alison Lush, Alison Lush Certified Professional Organizer, Montreal QC word is:

Should – When clients think they should be doing something, they may not want to do it, they may not want to do it that way, or they may lack the motivation to do it.

Melody Oshiro, Organize to Optimize Nanaimo, BC phrase is:

“I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings” – Fear is a big deterrent in getting organized. People can be worried that their decisions may cause problems.  Gaining confidence in decision making makes a person successful at organizing.

In the comment section tell me what words or phases  you have heard people use that stop them from getting organized.

Join my Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Happy Canada Day

La Rocca Canada Day cake purchased at Sobeys

La Rocca Canada Day cake purchased at Sobeys

Having a party and looking for some great trivia?

  • 77% of the world’s maple syrup is produced in Quebec,
  • in Saskatchewan a hoodie is called a bunnyhug,
  • Canada is the best G20 country in the world to be a women and
  • the correct number of points on a Canadian Maple leaf is 11.

Here’s a link for more trivia
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/08/13/insane-facts-canada-infographic_n_3748965.html

Keep Clutter on the Run, Get Organized

Three Steps to Organizing

  • Consolidate items into groups
  • Containerize groups in sturdy, proper sized containers that are labelled
  • Condense items so you have the appropriate amount of items in each group
Remember to donate items to charity and not to put them in the garbage.

Remember to donate items to charity and not to put them in the garbage.

Follow Two Routines

  • Do four things in the morning
  • Do four things in the evening

Five Habits to Keep Clutter on the Run

  • If you get it out, put it away
  • Apply the 30 second rule – if it takes 30 seconds or less to do something, do it immediately
  • Follow the camping rule – leave the room the way your found it or better
  • Look, really look at your surroundings to see what is out of place
  • Use “little minute” to clean – those few minutes while you are waiting for someone, on hold on the phone, watching a pot boil

Let me know your tricks to help you stay organized.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

Organizing, why not repurpose an item instead of buying something new

In my travels I have seen some great organizing ideas and products.  Most of them can be created using items you already own. Save money, have fun and create a solution to an organizing problem.

Re-purpose an  item and use it in a new way

On my trip to Vancouver I learned about this idea. Here is a silver chest.

Re-purpose an old silver chest and make it into a make-up organizer

It now holds make up.  My daughter-in-law invented this creative solution.

The brushes nicley fit where cultery used to be stored.

Stack 2 tables to create a great look 

I travelled to Iceland with my 92 year old Father.  A coffee shop had these versitile coffee tables.

Stacking coffee tables

They can be easily separated to give more tables, slide overtop of each other to leave more floor space and provide 2 different height tables at the same seating space. Imagine how you could create this look at your home with 2 tables.

Use stacking bins for laundry

When I was in Yellowknife I saw these great stacking laundry bins

Any stacking bins could be used for your laundry

They use vertical space so take up less floor space and can easily be separated to take to the laundry room.  The thing I liked is that you can put items into the bottom bin without removing the top bin.  If you have some bins around the house try using them them for your laundry.  You may need to set one across the other in an X pattern to be able to stack them.

1 in 4 garbage can

While staying in a hotel in Ontario I noticed this great recycling idea.

Each section of the garbage can holds a different type of trash

It made recycling very easy.  It was all in one place, the corners were labelled so you knew where to put your cans, paper, garbage and glass. You can easily make dividers for the garbage cans for bedrooms. It would make collecting the garbage easy, only one container, and it would be sorted ready to add to the larger containers going out to the curb.

Shoe Organizers are Versatile

When I was in Bermuda I saw one in a bookstore used to organize maps.  The pockets are large and the organizer can be hung over a door, mounted on a hanger and put in a closet or fastened to a wall.

Shoe organizers can be used to organizer lots of things, hats, mitts, first aid supplies,cleaning supplies and maps

Re-purpose a piece of furniture

Using furniture in a new way can be fun. Use old furniture as storage and save money not buying bins.  Back at home, this used to be a buffet.

Use old furniture to store items.

It holds our CD collection perfectly. I knew I would not have room to use it in the eating area but by the entertainment equipment it keeps CDs and gaming equipment neat and organized.

I went to the Canadian National Home Show, check out this blog post for more creative organizing ideas. What’ new at the home show?

Share your creative organizing solutions in the comments below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Happy Father’s Day

The computer swallowed Grandpa,
Yes, honestly it’s true!
· He pressed ‘control and ‘enter’
· And disappeared from view.
·
· It devoured him completely,
· The thought just makes me squirm.
· He must have caught a virus
· Or been eaten by a worm.
·
· I’ve searched through the recycle bin
· And files of every kind;
· I’ve even used the Internet,
· But nothing did I find.
·
· In desperation, I asked Mr. Google
· My searches to refine.
· The reply from him was negative,
· Not a thing was found ‘online.’
·
· So, if inside your ‘Inbox,’
·· My Grandpa you should see,
· Please ‘Copy, Scan’ and ‘Paste’ him,
· And send him back to me.


··· This is a tribute to all the Grandmas & Grandpas, Nannas & Pops, who have been fearless and learned to use the Computer………
· They are the greatest!!!
·
We do not stop playing because we grow old;
We grow old because we stop playing

NEVER Be The First To Get Old!

How to organize your time to do more

At -A glace contacted me with this infographic. It clearly outlines a few  things to do use your time wisely to help you reach your goals.

Thanks to Jesus a Content Marketing Manager for At-A-Glance , a company that helps individuals and businesses with planning, organizing and learning for this information.

How to Do More with Less Time : AT-A-GLANCE

I also find productivity increases when the number distractions decrease.  No emails, no social media, no texting, no phone calls, simply no multitasking. Set aside a specific amount of time and work only on one project until it is done or the time is up. It is amazing how much you can get done when your focus is on one task at a time.

Share what you do to make yourself more productive. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Why do I have clutter, how can I let it go?

Clutter is different for everyone but most people have some clutter in their lives. There are many reason why it can be hard to let go of things.  Let’s look at 4 scenarios.

Scenario 1: Fear 

Perhaps it is fear that causes you to hold onto things

  • What if I need it someday – fear of scarcity
  • I’ll keep it just in case – fear of uncertainly and doubt
  • I can’t give that away it was a gift – fear of rejection
  • I can’t decide so I’ll keep it and what if it is worth something someday – fear of making mistakes

In an article by Hellen Bittigieg, she talks about: Steps to eliminate your fears and conquer the clutter

  1. As you sort through your items notice the thoughts that come up and begin to acknowledge them, say okay now you’ve got my attention.
  2. Notice where you feel the fear in your body, stomach, chest head ache?
  3. Analyze the fear and try to understand where it’s coming from then thank it and move on
  4. Replace fear with trust
  5. What if I need it someday replace it with all my needs are abundantly supplied
  6. I’ll keep it just in case – replace it with what are the odds I’ll ever need to replace it?
  7. I can’t give that away it was a gift – replace it with my real friends always love and support me
  8. I can’t decide so i’ll just keep it – replace it with I’ll make a decision and trust that everything will be okay
  9. What if it’s worth something someday – replace it with it will never be more valuable than joy, health, friendships etc

Scenario 2: Sentimentality

I have clients who if they touch an object they will automatically keep it, so I hold up the object and don’t let them touch it when they are deciding to keep it or give it away.  Other clients need to touch an item before they can donate it, it is like saying good by to it.

The sentimentality we feel towards an object can be associated with:

  • Someone you loved gave it to you or
  • Someone you once loved used or
  • The object is associate with a time when you were happy. ( memorabilia)

Being able to separate the object from a person or event can be difficult . Learning that you can still have the memory and the corresponding feeling without having the object will help you to be able to let go of  items.

Scenario 3: Control / Personality

Clients will hire me and want me to do their plan.  As I work with them and make a few suggestions about alternative ways to organize things generally they say no and then at our next appointment they usually say I thought about your idea, let’s try it.

Control

  • People want to have control over their decisions and environment. Avoiding power struggles over decisions about what stays and what goes and make decluttering easier.

Scenario 4: The cost of getting rid of stuff

I have clients who want to make lots of money selling their stuff.  Sometimes it is possible and sometimes it isn’t. They will hold onto stuff for garage sales, to put on Kijiji or EBay.  Sometimes they hold onto it for so long that it has lost its value. They think,”I paid good money for it.”

PSSST: The money is already spent…..

Just because it was costly to purchase does not mean that it’s valuable today! Items change in value. What’s important is whether you are using what you have now or,  if what you have is distracting you from the lifestyle you want. If you are not loving, using and enjoying your things,  reconsider their ‘value’.

The important thing is to discover what reasons make it hard for you to let go of things and change those mindsets.

There are 3 things that are true

  • We all have too much stuff
  • It is hard to let go of our own stuff
  • One day we will part with our stuff.

 

Join my Facebook Group Organizing Mind and Space 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area