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Archive for Organizing Tips – Page 2

Recycling and Donating

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Recycling and Donating

OES Ontario Electronic Stewardship

If you are looking for locations to recycle your computers, TV, printers, fax machines, etc., this website will help you find a location near you.

Highlight Consumer/Retailers then click on Recycle your electronic

Go to the bottom of the page and type in the name of your city in Ontario and it will give you a list of locations

Books

If you have books you would like to donate, libraries and used bookstores may take them.  There is a new organization that is able to put books into prisons.  It is call Books to Bars.  It is dedicated to promoting literacy, creativity and functionality in correctional facilities.

Clothing

Clothing can be donated to women’s shelter as well as Salvation Army, Value Village, New Horizons Store on James St, Hamilton ON. There is a children’s store that is called Once Apon a Child and a teen and young adult store called Plato located at Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, Burlington ON.  They are not consignment stores.  You bring in your clothes and they buy it (what they want) on the spot and give you the money right away.

Building Supplies

Habitat for Humanity Restores will take building supplies.  Call ahead to see if they need the items that you wish to donate.

Antique Stores

Some antique stores will take window frames, furniture etc.  I have an artist that is looking for  antique items to use in her craft business.  Contact Julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Decore on a Dime

This store is located in Hamilton, ON and will take some stylish home furnishings on consignment.

Orange Drop

Check out this website to learn locations to drop off your corrosive, flammable, explosive and toxic items.

Single Use Batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off with your electronics but they will not take single use batteries.  Try contacting your local stores to see if they are a collection depot for single use batteries.

Rona 

 

Please go to www.mindoverclutter.ca  and click on the links page for more ideas about recycling and donating good used items.  If you have and questions or other great recycling and donating ideas click on the contact page, I’d love to hear from you.

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

5 Spring cleaning and organizing tips for your home office

Spring cleaning your home office can lead you in many directions.  Perhaps:

  • your inbox is inundated,
  • your files are filled or
  • your time management is missing.

You need to start somewhere so let’s start with the S.P.A.C.E. that houses your office.

Look around your office and start:

1. Sorting the items that are visible into groups of papers, books, office supplies, client files, product, advertising materials etc.

Start with the visible clutter first.

2. Pair down each pile to the items that are current and recycle or shred the rest.

3. Assign a convenient place to store your resources.  If you use them often keep them near your desk, if they are used infrequently store them further way but still in your office.  If they are never referred to but needed for tax or legal purposes they can be stored in another room.

4. Take each of those piles and select the best Container for keeping the items organized, binders, magazine holder, bins, boxes etc.

 

Organize with binders

Organize with bins

Organizing for the person who likes to see everything, the visual person

 

 

5. Evaluate your new S.P.A.C.E.to make sure it will help you be more efficient, productive and profitable this year.

 

 

Share one of your office organizing tips in the comment box.

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

How organized do you want to be? (video)

The level of organization a person needs to be productive or less stressed or happy varies from person to person.  Once you  have discovered what works for you, you will be able to maintain your system.  Problems arise with being organized when the system doesn’t work with how you think, your schedule, your routines or your motivation.  Working with a Professional Organizer can help you establish a system that meet your needs.

Here is a video about one way to organize a home.  Some of the ideas may work for you.  Let me know if you tried any of the techniques in this video.

How to organize your home on a tight budget

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

A Cluttered Life – Middle Class Abundance

Make your home perfect for you.

Make your home perfect for you.

This 6 minute video is a great look at our society and our relationship with “stuff”.  It is easy to collect “stuff” but it is hard to know how to get rid of things.

http://www.uctv.tv/shows/Stuff-A-Cluttered-Life-Middle-Class-Abundance-Ep-1-24699

Need help simplifying your life and home contact Mind over Clutter to work with you in person or virtually to help you meet your goals.

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

Tips for Storage Rooms

There are a number of questions to ask yourself before you purchase shelving for your storage room.

enclosed storage unit

stow your items behind doors

1. Do you like things displayed on open shelves or stowed behind closed doors?  This will help you determine if you want a cupboard or shelving.

2. Next measure the space.  You need to get storage that uses all the area and not buy storage that leaves some of the area unusable because one storage unit is too large and another storage unit can’t fit into the remaining space.

3. Next ask yourself, will you open a lid to put things into a container, will you reclose the top of a box?  If the answer is no then cut the flaps off the box or purchase containers without lids.  You want to make it as easy as possible to get the items into the correct box.

open crate

Crates are great if you won’t put a lid on a container

4. Lastly ask yourself, if your bins are stacked will you unstack them to put something in the bottom container?  Will you restack the containers on the storage unit?  If your answer is no then buy large containers that fill the vertical space between the shelves so you can maximize your storage.  It is usually good to have two or three containers on each shelf. Now you have your storage units and bins.

  • Store items you use frequently at eye level.
  • Store heavy items on the bottom shelf
  • Store items close to where you use them
  • Store infrequently used items up high or in less accessible areas.

Trying to store hockey bags?  Try placing two shelving units that are 4 or 5 shelves high, with 24” or 36” deep shelves, one in front of the other and securely attach them together.   This will hold one bag per shelf with room to leave it open to air out and place some items on the shelf beside the bag to dry.

With the right shelves and bins it is easy to sort your items into categories, place them in a labeled container and locate them in your storage room.  Remember to keep only what you need and love.

Need a one hour free assessment to help you pick the best storage solutions for you contact Mind over Clutter and ask for Julie.

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

Clearing an Estate? Read “They Left Us Everything”

Today I am reviewing a booked written by Plum Johnson, They Left Us Everything  a memoir. She is a Canadian author from Oakville, Ontario. It is an easy to read , novel style story about her experience emptying her parent’s home.  Once you start reading it you become engaged in the story and can’t put the book down. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions:  sad, humorous, happy and thoughtful.

Paperback book, They Left Us Everything

by Plum Johnson

Many people have had the experience of going through years of possessions and trying to figure out

  • how to divide things between family members,
  • where to donate things,
  • the division of labour between family members on how the work will get completed and
  • when to sell the home.

This book takes the reader through the many pitfalls and solutions that Plum and her siblings discover to solve these difficult situations.

One of my favourite parts of the book is the chapter on how they divide up their parents’ possessions between the 4 siblings .  Plum has made an annotated inventory list complete with photographs, 422 items, 8 pages long.  There are two categories; one for all the furnishings that have been appraised and priced and one for historical items that were considered priceless. They take turns picking things off the list until everything is gone.  It is very interesting to read the how the process goes, who selects which items and why, and how competitive they can be during this process.

The book has practical suggestions but mostly it gives the reader emotional and psychological insights into the relationships that they have with their parents and that their parents have with each other.  It also shows how these relationships affect how they experience dealing with their parents’ possessions. Learning from their experiences can help each of us to understand the many layers of feelings that affect each of us and our relationships with people and “stuff”

A few memorable thoughts from the book are;

  1. “The most valuable things come from within yourself”
  2. “Are you untangling the stuff in the house or untangling yourself from your parents?”
  3. “Gradually things in the house relinquished their hold on us.”

Post a comment about the part of the book you liked best or a tip to make clearing an estate easier.

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

Start Organizing your Garden Now – Tips from a Professional

My guest blogger is Ron Thiessen of Thiessen Farms .  logo1large2He has been farming  all his life.  As a child he worked with his dad and then took over the farm.  He sells his produce at markets and has developed a Community Supported Agricultural Program (CSA) of over 200 families who buy a share of his crops and pick up their produce every week at his farm from May to October. He is located in Jordan Station, Ontario , Canada.  He has written on organizing your seeds, choosing your crops and charting their progress.

Crop Planning and  Choosing Seeds

Brad’s Atomic Grape Tomato

Brads-Atomic-Grape

“Elongated cherries in clusters. The colour (and flavor!) is a full-blown assault on the senses – lavender and purple stripes when immature, turning to technicolor olive-green, red, and brown/blue stripes when fully ripe. Really wild! … this amazing variety a good candidate for market growers …” (from www.rareseeds.com)

When we saw this new tomato in a seed catalogue it immediately became a must grow variety for Thiessen Farms in 2017. It looks and sounds amazing!

And when we found seed for the hottest-of-hot peppers – Ghost, Carolina Reaper & Trinidad Scorpion – there was no doubt that they would be on the list too, along with Glass Gem corn, Superschmelz kohlrabi and Golden Wa Wa cabbage.

Coloured kernels of corn on a cob

Glass Gem Corn

Superschmelz kohlrabi

I’ll admit it. We’re suckers for a cool sounding name and a fancy description. That’s why our seed list has grown to more than 450 varieties of  over 60 different vegetables and herbs. But it’s really a cheap thrill. For a few bucks we get to try something new. Sometimes it will turn out great and become a favourite. Other times it’s a disappointment and we never grow it again. But it’s always fun experimenting!

The first week in January is always seed ordering time. We pour over the seed catalogues devouring the particulars of all the vegetables, herbs & flowers, choosing the varieties we will grow in the upcoming season. The selection of seeds is overwhelming making it a delightful yet daunting task.

Here’s how we make our choices …

1. We know what we grew in previous years.

We keep a master list – a spreadsheet that names each crop and  variety we grew last season, the amount of seed we have on hand, the year purchased, the company it came from, and the number of days from seeding until harvest. This gives us someplace to start. When the seeds are ordered, all this data is updated & any new varieties are added and those we will not be growing are eliminated.

2. We keep good records – an awful lot of records.

We have a chart where we record every seed we sow in the greenhouse – the date we seeded, the amount, the date the first seeds poked up through the soil, the date we transplanted them and how many, and a spot for random comments. We have more charts where we record everything that gets planted out in the fields – whether it is direct seeded or transplanted from the greenhouse, the variety, the amount, the date. Throughout the growing season we make written notes – both quick observations that we jotted down on the run and more formal evaluations of the different vegetables and how they grew, and produced, their yields, taste, plant health … Photographs are also very helpful for this and  so easy to take with cellphones. We find these records invaluable and refer back to them often.

3. As commercial growers we look to our customers for information 

What crops sold well and which ones did not, what caught the customers attention, what vegetables are they asking for … We have more charts. For each day at the farmers’ market we record what we brought, how much we sold, the prices and the weather for the day. There are similar charts for each Community Support Agricultural Program (CSA )pick-up. These give us a clear picture of what to grow and how much based on actual sales.

4. What would be fun and interesting to grow!

We always try to grow something new that we have not done before. Recent examples include kalettes , cauliflower  artichokes and fava beans.

The seeds are arriving almost daily now

Close to 500 packets of seeds – different sized envelopes, some paper, some foil, even a cloth bag or two, and at least one larger 25 pound sack (snow peas). Add in any leftover seeds from other years, various jars of seed that I saved myself, and we end up with well over 600 different containers of seeds.That’s a lot of seed to deal with and to keep organized!

Proper storage is necessary to keep the seeds viable 

Cool and dry storage being the most important conditions. We keep the seeds in our workshop in small, plastic shoe boxes. A label on the lid notes what seeds are inside. These plastic boxes are then stored in larger plastic bins all with secure lids. This keeps them dry, clean & safe from curious animals (ie cats, or even mice – in case the cats are not doing their job!).And there the seeds wait until it’s time to plant them.

IMG_8905 (2)

What have you learned from Ron Thiessen a commercial grower that will help you to organize your garden this year?

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

 

Organize your Craft Room and Gain Peace of Mind

I have organized a lot of sewing rooms and craft rooms.  I know my clients enjoy their new spaces and are very talented people.  I never thought about it from a mental health perspective.  Annabelle Short from Wunderlabel has put together a great infographic.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sewing can help you express your creative side and gain better peace of mind. And in addition to granting you greater mental health, it can actually keep you healthy as well. If you want greater peace of mind and less clutter in your life, check out this infographic from Wunderlabel to see the 16 ways in which Sewing can make you healthier!

health benefits of sewing

3 Tips for Organizing During A Divorce

This is an excerpt from a great article by Autumn Leopold .  Click on the link below to see the entire article

1) Give people the appropriate time and space they need to sort through items. If they need to stop and share some memories with you, let them. Do not judge or share your opinion just keep the process moving forward.

2) Be mindful of the children in the home. If they need to see or discuss some of the items you may be donating or throwing away, sit and let them get their feelings out. They may have some memories tied to those items that you aren’t aware of.

3) After the homes are separated, parents should do their best to create a new routine for children as quickly as possible. Do something new and change things up around the house. Get different bedding or a few decorative items to create a new environment for the healing to begin.

Organizing During A Divorce.

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

 

What are you worried about? Don’t worry; take action!

Don't worry. Take action.

Which path will you take?

What are you worried about?

I think we all worry sometimes, don’t you? We worry about our health, and the health of our loved ones. About our appearance, and how we measure up to others. About money, and how our businesses are doing. About whether or not we’re being good parents. We worry about (fill in the blank).

And what does worrying do to us? It causes stress, sleepless nights, stomach aches, arguments, etc., and sometimes it causes us to not enjoy life’s pleasures…..yes?

So, who am I to tell you to stop worrying?

While I’m not a therapist or a psychologist, I am a professional organizer who sees clients everyday who are worried about all sorts of different things. I’m also an engineer. Therefore, I make no judgments on my clients’ clutter, and I don’t see disorganization as a character flaw: I only see it as a problem to be solved. You’ll be relieved to know I only try to solve it for you if you ask! Friends say, “I don’t want you to come over and see my mess!” To which I reply, “I don’t care about your mess unless you are paying me to care about it!”

Naturally, I have problems too, and I worry about them, but I think I worry less than others do because of the methods I use that I will tell you about.

But first…

I want you to start thinking about worrying as a form of clutter.

What is Clutter? Here’s what I believe:

  • Clutter is anything that stands in the way of the life you want to live.
  • Clutter takes many forms. Little things like paper; big things like furniture; negative thoughts; and unfulfilling activities.
  • Clutter weighs us down. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Everyone deserves to feel lighter. My logo, the egret taking flight, represents the freedom of rising above your clutter!
  • Less clutter in your home, your office, your schedule, and your mind means more room for the life you want to live. Less clutter. More life.

So, it’s easy for me to say that worrying is just Mental Clutter, but what do I propose we do about it?

Now let me ask:

Do you believe in the power of words?

Let’s talk about positive words first. I’m thinking of positive affirmations, inspiriting quotes, prayer of all kinds…do you believe in those things? Do they help motivate you, and encourage you, and lift your spirits?

Now, what about negative words? How about verbal abuse from others? And what about negative self-talk? Do you think negative self-talk tears us down and affects us as much, and possibly more, than negative talk from others?

Here is a quote I like, which has been attributed to many, but I like the way Meryl Streep said it in her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the movie “The Iron Lady”:

She said:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
What we think, we become.

Do you agree with that? I sure do!

So, now, back to worrying…

If you think you can manifest something positive by thinking, and talking about, and envisioning it, do you believe you can also manifest something negative by thinking, and talking about, and envisioning it?

Or as I like to say:

Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.

 

And why on earth would we want to do that?

If you believe in the power of thoughts and words, that’s what you’re doing…aren’t you? Paying undue attention to, and repeating over and over, the thing you don’t want?

If worrying helped, believe me, I’d recommend doing it more often!

With that in mind…

The first step in dealing with Mental Clutter is to identify what you are worried about.

It could be fear, regret, anxiety, shame, guilt…and, actually, it’s fear about a thing, or regret about a thing.

It’s that thing you need to identify, and the more specific you are, the better your chances are of doing something about it.

The next step is to decide: Can you do something about it? Or not?

The Worry Matrix will help you decide what’s worth worrying about.

(Click to read more and download your free copy of the Worry Matrix.)

The Worry Matrix

This is probably the hardest part of the whole process. Because sometimes we feel powerless. We don’t know if we can do something about it or not. Sometimes we need help figuring that out. Sometimes it’s become such a habit to worry, and we are so busy worrying, that we don’t stop to think whether maybe we could do something about it.

Or, maybe something’s changed. In the words of Maya Angelou,

Do the best you can until you know better.

Then when you know better, do better.

Part of this step can include determining whether or not your fears are realistic. If you’re anxious about the future, being prepared for actual, likely events is the key to a peaceful mind.

But the bottom line is:  If you are having persistent, worrisome thoughts about something, ask yourself: Can I do something about it? If you aren’t doing anything about it — or if you can’t do anything about it — it’s just Mental Clutter.

If you think you can do something about it – great! Take action!

The pure fact that you are doing something about it will help you to not worry about it so much.

Here are some examples of actions you can take:

Research your situation; Make a plan; Set some goals; Do or delegate a dreaded task; Document vital info; Save money, Make that appointment, Have that awkward conversation.

Forgive someone. Forgive yourself. It’s not easy, but this rationale for forgiveness makes sense to me:

Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.

Also:

Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison, and waiting for the other person to die.

Um…right?

If you regret the past and feel guilty about something, but there’s nothing you can do about it, forgive yourself and move on. Remember, you know better now.

One of the reasons why it is so hard to part with your mental clutter is that you’re afraid of not having, or being, enough. Is this because you are comparing yourself to others? Stop it! Have a little faith in yourself.

Here are a couple of quotes I like about not being envious of others:

Grass is greener where you water it.

and

Don’t compare your bloopers to someone else’s highlight reel.

(Especially on Facebook!)

If you’re concerned about what others think, try following Dr. Seuss’ advice:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

Here’s another quote I love about having faith in yourself:

A bird sitting in a tree
is never afraid of the branch breaking
because her trust is not on the branch,
but on her own wings.
Always believe in yourself.

What does this mean? Some people would rather trust in God than to trust in themselves. For those of you who want to trust in God, that won’t hurt either. But you still need to do your homework and take action.

Have you heard this expression?

Trust in god but lock your car.

I also like the Middle Eastern version:

Trust in Allah but tie up your camel.

If you really think you cannot do anything about it, then stop worrying about it!

It’s Mental Clutter.

A good example of something you cannot change is someone else’s behavior.

Are you familiar with The Serenity Prayer?

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

That’s what I’m saying too: Accept what you can’t change, and change what you can’t accept. Get help if you really don’t know the difference.

Focus on things you are grateful for, and on the things you can change (such as your own behaviour).

Examples: preparing for emergencies; planning for your financial future; repairing (or releasing) damaged relationships; and addressing health issues head on.

If the task ahead seems daunting, break it down into smaller steps. Do them one at a time until you are finished, or you feel prepared, or you have established the new habit that will improve your life and help you worry less.

So, what if, despite your best intentions, you are still living with Mental Clutter? If you have tried taking action on things you can change, and you have tried not worrying about things you cannot change… and you are still worried, ask for help from a friend, therapist, clergy member, or someone who can help with your specific situation – like a doctor, a financial planner, a personal trainer, an attorney, or a professional organizer.

Worry less. Prepare more.

Have those difficult conversations! Make that appointment!

Believe in yourself. And live your life free of Mental Clutter!

What are you worried about? What action are you going to take?

Please share with me in the comments!

Let me know if this helps you, and share it with your friends who may need it.

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Copyright 2015-2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.

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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