Author Archive for Julie Stobbe

What are the 2 most important boxes in a move?

Reading time – 3 minutes

Home interior right after moving in with many boxes piled up

Where are those 2 special boxes?Planning a  move takes time.  Moving is stressful.  The packing of all the boxes, the day of moving and then the unpacking.  It is easy to misplace something you need on moving day or soon after you arrive. Consider having those important things with you in your vehicle.

What are the 2 most important boxes?

When you are moving pack 2 boxes that have everything you need for moving day and the first night. Keep these 2 boxes with you and not in the moving truck. These boxes should include:

  1. Glasses –  plastic or glass for drinks or water.
  2. A roll of paper towels
  3. A roll of toilet paper for each bathroom
  4. A bar of soap or container of liquid soap for the bathroom
  5. A hand towel in the bathroom
  6. Dishcloth, dish soap and tea towel for cleaning dishes that may be dusty from moving
  7. Sheets for the bed and pillows so you can go to sleep at the end of a long day moving in
  8. Towels for a shower and basic cosmetics to clean up after the move
  9. A change of clothes as well as medications
  10. Chargers for your phone, tablet and computer

What supplies are important? 

It is handy to pack a pail of basic cleaning supplies so you can do a quick clean before things are unpacked.  Bring:

  1. Cloths
  2. All-purpose cleaning supplies
  3. Broom and dustpan
  4. Mop
  5. Pack it all in a pail

Pack a toolbox with basic tools. You may have to reassemble beds, bookcases or electronics.  Have:

  1. a screwdriver with multiple heads
  2. hammer
  3. plyers
  4. adjustable wrench
  5. tape

Where is that paperwork?

Lastly, have a bag with vital papers.  You will need your purchase/rental documents for your new home. Carry memory sticks, backup drives, passports etc that you don’t want to be misplaced or stolen  If there is work, assignments or agendas you will need the next day add them to the bag.

With these things easily accessible you can clean up and get a good night’s rest before you continue to unpack and make your new place a home.

Share your moving hacks in the comments.

If you need help with an 8-week packing/moving plan contact me julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

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5 Tips from a lunch bag – organizing school lunches

Reading time- 3 minutes

It is time for packing lunches for school.  Are you dreading it?  Children learn better when they are not hungry so the task is to pack food they will eat and not throw out, hide or trade.

1. You know what your child likes and doesn’t like.

Children will food jag, eat the same thing over and over and never get tired of it.  If there is a lunch they like, give it to them, a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and a carbohydrate.   When I went to school I would eat a cold chicken sandwich, bread butter and chicken, an apple, a cookie and drink usually milk every day for months.  My mom couldn’t understand why I didn’t get bored but I just loved it.  Life was easy she made it for me and I enjoyed it.

A drawing of a lunch box with an aple, banana , thermos and sandwich.

2. I hate sandwiches.

Some children don’t like sandwiches so give them leftovers.  Heat up the leftovers and put them in a Thermos.  I had a child who hated sandwiches, I would heat up taco meat and send the shell and toppings cold, a baked potato with butter or cheese, soup, stew, homemade macaroni and cheese. Pack warm chilli with taco chips, cheese and salsa. When you are cooking make extra and freeze it in individual meals and then you have a supply of lunches in your freezer.

3 thermos, black, blue and pink

Send warm foods to school in an unbreakable thermos.

3. Get lunches packed after supper when the food is out.

As part of our evening routine, each child would pack the food for their lunch that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  They packed veggies, pickles, crackers, and cookies.  In the morning I would add a sandwich or hot food to the lunch bag.  If you have more than one child this really makes life easy because you don’t need to remember which child likes what.

Lunch bags

Pick a size and shape of lunch bag that makes it easy to pack and send the correct amount of food to school, not too much, not too little

4. Finger foods are great but you might want to send a fork

Some schools have schedules where children eat smaller meals a couple of times a day.  Pack things that your child can eat a few items at a time.  Cut up cheese, meat, and bread into cubes.  Send nuts, hard-boiled eggs, veggies or cut-up fruit.  If you have a container with lots of sections they can open one box and see all their choices.  It makes it easier to pack and the child doesn’t have to struggle with lots of containers.  There is less to wash at the end of the day.  Children are not good at washing their hands before every meal so encourage them to use a fork, send a plastic one in their favourite colour.

Box with finger foods

Send a variety of foods in small quantities for quick snacks throughout the day.

5.  Leftover lunches – plan differently

When your child brings their lunch home remember it has been unrefrigerated all day, 8 hours, and dirty hands have been in the container touching all the food. Compost the leftovers.  Re-evaluate what you are sending and how much food you are putting in their lunch.

Plastic counter top compost bin

At the end of the day, compost leftovers to prevent a mild case of food poisoning.

Don’t use school lunches as a time to introduce new foods or worry about variety in their diet.  Use supper time or weekend meals to introduce them to new foods.  You want them to eat a healthy lunch every day.  Since you are not there to supervise them when they are eating, make a plan with your child so you can all be happy.

I think I have covered the basics.  Share your tips about school lunches in the comments.

If you need help with menu planning book a complimentary appointment with me. 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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7 Organizing gadgets I found on my travels

Reading time – 5 minutes

I love to travel.  I enjoy exploring Canada, North America, South America, Europe, The United Kingdom, Asia and Australia.  I will go almost anywhere.  Whether you travel in-person or virtually it is a joy to see new places, people, cultures and ideas. One of the fun things I like doing on my travels is finding things relating to organization. Sometimes the items are good product solutions, show a novel way to use a product, encourage recycling,  a fun invention or a thought provoking work of art.

A Good Product 

I found these stacking laundry baskets in a store.  I like them because they stack in a way that you can place items in either basket without unstacking them.

A plastic white laundry basket stacked ontop of a blue plastic laundry basket.

 

Novel Solutions 

Once again I was shopping and noticed this shoe organizer that was being used in a novel way.  It was holding maps that were for sale.  It was easy to see the titles on the maps and quickly purchase the one you needed. 
A white shoe organizer with clear pockets hanging on a bookcase with maps in the pockets

 

One of my hotel rooms had this garbage can.  It is divided into 4 sections for recycling – plastic, paper, glass, cans and waste.  I thought this was a fantastic way to get travellers to recycle.  Everything was disposed of in one place.

A grey metal waste can with 4 compartments for garbage, paper and recycling.

 

Fun inventions

The first time I saw this I was a little confused.  It is a tap and hand dryer all in one.  No dripping across the floor to get a paper towel or use a hand dryer mounted on the wall.  It also is a no-touch device that makes it easy to have clean hands when you’re done washing. How does it work?  You wash your hands under the tap, the water is turned on by a sensor.  Then you move your hands to the right and left ( I like to call them the airplane wings) and the air turns on to dry your hand.

A tap and hand dryer all in one

 

I enjoy seeing furniture that has more than one purpose.  These tables can be used as seating, they store nicely under each other and they are eye catching home decor.

Glass coffee tables that slide under each other for storage.

 

Thought Provoking Artwork

Sometimes my organizational find is artwork.  This piece is called Organization.  It is oil on canvas, 1933-1936,  painted by Armenia born, American artist Arshile Gorky.  I wonder why he called it that.  Any thoughts?


A geometric painting called organizing

 

This metal sculpture is by Ruth Ewan, 2019.  It is called the Silent Agitator.  Ewan’s clock is based on an illustration by Ralph Chaplin. It is a nod to the  Industrial Workers of the World labour party. (IWW). It is also a new timepiece adding to the historical collection of ones that helped sailors know what time it was.

 

A metal sculture of a clock with the letters organizing on the face.

Donation

I saw this very creative way to share donations.  Items are bagged and tied onto a fence.  Anyone can take an item they can use.

Donations  tied to a fence for people to take.

Here a just a few fun organizing finds from some of my travels.  Which one do you like best? Let me know in the comments.

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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How to get your wardrobe organized once and for all.

Reading time – 10 minutes

If you want to try and get your wardrobe organized once and for all, then you have come to the right place. Here you can find out the mistakes you could be making with your wardrobe, while also finding ways to actively try and fix the issue. If you want to find out more, then simply take a look below.

A build in closet with white shelves and hard wood floor

Start with a Big Clear-out

It is suggested that you have a big clear-out as this is the best way for you to try and get things nice and organized. You need to decide what you want to sell, what you want to keep,  what you want to donate and what you need to throw away. Try things on as you go.  If you leave a big pile of clothes to try on until the end, the task may seem overwhelming. Some clothes may have fit once upon a time and may not fit anymore, an item may need to be repaired, your tastes may have changed, or you never know, there could be a gem that was lost at the back of the closet that does fit you. If you can be mindful of how your body and style change with time,  it will help you to keep only the clothing that suits you and prevent you from having a lot of items that do not fit anymore or items that are dated.

Adopt a System for your Wardrobe

Try to adopt the policy of one item in, and one item out. For every new item you buy, you need to make sure that you give one away. If you want to test yourself, then make it two items that you give away.  If you have a good clear-out, when you bring something new home, it will fit nicely in your closet, match other clothing, be the correct size and make it easier for you to get dressed in the morning.

Make Some Money

You might not like something anymore, that doesn’t mean that someone else will feel the same way. To reduce your shopping buy something new only when you have made money from selling something old. Make sure that you use sites such as eBay when you’re researching what your items might sell for. There are also consignment shops that focus on high-end pieces as well.  If you are trying to sell clothes to a store, they should be no older than 6 months.  Stores, like Plato’s Closet,  want to have current fashions and items that will sell quickly.  You may find that you are able to make more than you think, and it is a fantastic way to remove frustrating clutter.

Organize Everything

If you can take the time to organize everything then your wardrobe will look neater and you will save a lot of time choosing your outfit. When you need to get changed in a hurry, having your clothes organized can work wonders. There are many systems for organizing a closet. 

You can group clothing by type, pants, shorts, shirts, ties, sweaters, blouses, dresses, suits etc.  Next, you can group each category by colour.  This is a great way to see how many you have of each colour.  In my closet, I have enough black items (pants, tops, dresses).  So when I go shopping I don’t even look at anything black.

You might prefer to put your clothes into outfits.  Placing a top, bottom and third piece together makes it easy to pick your outfit for the day.  This system allows you to see how many single piece items you own.  Those items are the ones that don’t get worn often because they don’t go with anything.  That is a good category of items to donate. 

Thirdly, you might organize by purpose.  Group together all your work clothes, workout clothes, party/fancy clothes, casual clothes and lounging clothes.  This system lets you see how much you have in each category compared to how much time you spend doing these activities.  For example, if you work 40 hours/week, workout 5 hours/week, spend 15 hours/week doing things and 1 evening/week getting dressed up you can see that your wardrobe needs mostly work clothes, a few casual clothes, less fancy clothes and some workout clothes.  Check and see if you have a balanced wardrobe for your lifestyle. 

 If you find it hard to stay then organize your wardrobe 3 or 4 times a year to see if it is balanced by lifestyle and colour as well as how many unused single items are hiding. 

Don’t Forget about Shoes

As you get older your feet change.  You lose the strength in your arch and your foot flattens making your foot wider.  Try on every pair of shoes to see if they fit, if they are in good repair and a style you like. Group your shoes to make it easier to find what you need.  They might be grouped by season, colour or style. If you have a lot of shoes in boxes then tape a picture to the outside of the box.  It will make it easier for you to find what you need without having to go through endless boxes. You might want to purchase clear shoe boxes for storage.  There are many shoe organizing systems, over the door, under the bed, wall units, cupboards, racks etc. Look for an option that suits your needs and space. If you purchase expensive shoes get them repaired.  Zippers can be replaced, heels can be reheeled, soles can be replaced and once they are polished professionally they will look like new.    You may find shoes that have never been worn and can be sold  like these shoes. Shoes can be donated too. 

Invest in the Right Equipment

Many people like matching hangers, purely because it means that you do not end up getting distracted by a messy looking wardrobe. There are many styles of hangers and sometimes you need specialized hangers for certain garments, pants, skirts, ties, belts, scarves etc.  If you have a small closet you will need to use less bulky hangers.  Wooden hangers take up a lot of space.  Felt covered hangers prevent items from slipping off but it takes patience to get a garment hanging smoothly.  If you’re not a patient person only purchase a few felt covered hangers.  Whatever style of hanger you like (plastic, metal, wooden, felt), purchase a good quality one so they don’t break, crack or bend. Try using boxes in the drawers or on the shelves to keep clothing organized. They prevent items from “moving” all over and making it difficult to find what you need. They work well for belts, bags, scarves, socks, smaller items etc.  If you invest in the right systems, that match your closet and personality,  you will find it is easier for you to stick to your system. 

Separate Clothing by Seasons

You may find it helpful to divide your clothes into summer and winter options if you have a smaller closet. Having only half your clothing displayed at one time makes it easier to find what you need.  When you change the clothing displayed for the next season, it is a good time for you to go through everything, donating items you didn’t wear, don’t like or don’t fit.  In some places, people have more items they wear year round and with climate change, there is becoming less of a need for 2 seasons of clothing.  This means you will need fewer clothes and it will be easier to keep everything organized. 

When you are deciding what clothes to keep and what to donate ask yourself:

  • Do I get compliments when I wear it?
  • Does it fit and do I feel good when I wear it?
  • Does it send the right message about the type of person I am? (confident, fun, honest, knowledgeable, healthy, etc)
  • How much is enough?

Reducing the amount of clothing you own, having a great closet space, and using good organizing devices will help you to have an organized wardrobe.  I think I have addressed many concerns about organizing your wardrobe.  Have I left anything out? Let me know in the comments.

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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10 Tips to help keep your home organized when kids are out of school

Summer fun with 5 children swimming at a lake.

Putting some planning into the time when your children are out of school will make life at home easier.  Don’t over plan activities for the children. Give them time to appreciate being at home and then going back to school. Share the planning and the fun.  Make it a special time together full of joy, learning and excitement not stress, tension and arguments.

10. Make a list of things that need to be done around the house.  For example, sweep out the garage/shed, break down boxes and put them in recycling, etc.  When the children start fighting or complain about being bored, tell them to pick a task from the list.  You get small jobs done and they are separated and not fighting.  I used this one summer.  It worked so well that they only fought once.  They found things to do so they were not bored.  Three things got completed from the list.

9. Pack the backpack with the necessary items for the next day the night before and place it near the door. Make your morning going off to day camps, activities or childcare easy to get out the door quickly.

8. Have a routine for wet swimming towels and bathing suits. They might hang them up, give them to you or place them in a specific spot. It is an easy way to help them learn about responsibility. No one wants to get into a wet bathing suit or reuse a damp towel.

7. Have an agreement about snacks and dirty dishes.  May a list and post it with snack choices.  Set a timer for snack time if you have young children.  Are dirty dishes put in a dishwasher, placed in the sink, washed or left on a table?  If the agreement is not kept then have them decide on a consequence.  Children are very good at deciding on consequences you might never have considered.

6. Determine a schedule for their activities, whether they are in programs or at home. Include screen time, outdoor time, reading time, and creative time. Also included in that schedule, is a time when you will be “unavailable to them” when you are all at home.  Use this “unavailable time” to get necessary tasks done around the house so things don’t get disorganized.  It is easy to always put off household tasks and to help, to play, or be constantly interrupted by your children so that things don’t get completed.

5. Have a routine for getting meals on the table and food and dishes put away. There are a number of tasks involved at mealtime: setting the table, food preparation, cleaning up leftovers, clearing dishes from the table and washing dishes.  Give everyone a task to do.  Record the tasks on a calendar and assign a person to each task.  The task assigned each day will depend on who is home before supper and who may have an activity after supper and they have to quickly get ready to leave.

4. Have a morning routine. Getting things done in the morning before the day gets busy is the best way to keep things organized.  Set a time for the latest children can sleep in.  Waiting for people to get up can be very frustrating if people are on very different schedules.  This agreed upon time may be different for each day of the week.   Tasks may include making their beds, making, eating and cleaning up their breakfast, tidying up things that were left out from the previous day, and completing a household chore.  Pick tasks that will help to make the day easier and keep the living space neat and tidy.

3. Declutter as you go.  If children aren’t interested in some toys (inside or outdoor) collected them and donate them.  If their clothing is too small or they won’t wear it, start a bag or box so they know where to put things they no longer need. They may have books or craft supplies that they have outgrown, collect them too.  You may decide to give them a challenge, find 5 things each day that you no longer need, use or love.

2. Try new ways of getting things done at home that is fun, simple and easy.  Summer is the perfect time to change the way things are done.  There is a little more time to teach children new skills and routines because there isn’t the pressure of getting homework done and getting to bed.

1. Sit down and have a family conversation about the expectations for the summer. Include when bedtime will be, responsibilities, consequences, special trips, activities and events that everyone would like to do.  Let the children help with the summer plan and take ownership in developing it.  When everyone is happy, things go a lot smoother.  Enjoy the time together.

Add tip number 11 in the comments. What do you do to help stay organized with the kids around the home? 

A family walking in the trees enjoying time together in the summer.

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Ask a Professional Organizer – How many junk drawers may I have?

Reading time – 5 minutes

A drawer with messy junk in it.

When I am working with clients one of the first things they tell me is how many junk drawers they have.  I can tell they usually think they should have none.    Depending on how you define junk drawers they may be right.  Why are they keeping junk?  Most likely they are referring to the drawers that contain many items, from a number of categories, that they don’t know where to store so they put them all in one drawer.  Does that sound familiar?   Let me relieve your discomfort and say a junk drawer is ok.

What is a junk drawer? 

When I am working with clients I know that they need a drawer to place things that they need to access quickly.  It may be a screwdriver, takeout menus, a lighter for candles, string, tape for labelling leftovers or light timers etc.  What is in your junk drawer?  The problems arise when the junk drawer has junk in it.  Spilled expired pills, pieces of ribbon, miscellaneous hardware, unwrapped candy, unneeded receipts etc. These items need to go to the garbage or appropriate recycling.  Clean out your junk drawer and make it a quick access drawer. Rename your junk drawer so it is easier to determine what should be stored in it to make your life easier. What is the new name for your junk drawer? 

How many junk drawers may I have?

Now that we have established you don’t keep junk.  You want things accessible. With my clients, I think that junk drawers in the kitchen and home office are common. It is easy to have a drawer on the main floor, usually the kitchen, for items that you commonly use and don’t want to go to other areas of the house to get.  In the office, there is a drawer that holds things that are used frequently and you don’t want to go searching for them, tape, glue, paper, envelopes, and electronics.  Make sure that your office doesn’t become a junk room,  storing everything that has not been assigned a storage space somewhere else in the home.  I would suggest one junk drawer per floor in your home.   How many junk drawers do you have?

Are junk drawers a bad thing? Only if they contain junk. Click To Tweet

How to organize a junk drawer

A junk drawer should not be disorganized.  You won’t be able to find what you need in the drawer.  I have seen junk drawers so stuffed full that they can’t be opened.  Use containers to organize items so that when you open the drawer you can access what you are looking for.  There are lots of products available to keep the drawer organized:

  • containers
  • expansion drawer dividers
  • expandable trays
  • jars
  • ziplock bags

Whatever your preference is, sort, remove unneeded items and then purchase your organizing product or repurpose items you already own.

I have containers for:

  • pens, paper, pencils  and makers,
  • twist ties, elastics and bread tags,
  • light timer and electrical outlet power bar
  • string and tape
  • first aid items.

That is what I need in my junk drawer.  What do you need in your easy access drawer?

A well organized office drawer with markers, tape elastics, stamps

Why are junk drawers bad?

Junk drawers are not bad.  Everyone needs a place to put items they don’t know where to store.  Junk drawers are only bad when they store items you don’t need and are afraid to let go of.  Look through your junk drawer on a regular schedule and clean it out.  Remove items you don’t need, take items to their proper storage place and put the real junk in the garbage. Junk drawers are bad when they give you an excuse to procrastinate and not take the time to put things away properly or make decisions about what to keep and what to let go.   Does your junk drawer let you procrastinate?

Let me help you with your junk drawers. Book a complimentary virtual organizing chat with me. 

 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

 

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What does a professional organizer do?

 

 

2 blocks building block followed by a gold maple leaf The second line is 3 red building blocks sitting on top of Gold Leaf Member

Perhaps you are familiar with the Professional Organizer industry.  It is an unregulated industry.  Anyone can call themselves a Professional Organizer.  Professional Organizers in Canada  (POC) was established about 23 years ago and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) the American organization is about 40 years old. Look for organizers listed on these directories.  Most Professional Organizers have their own business and specialize in areas of organizing. As you read their websites you will be able to see their years of experience,  type of training and continuing education.

What happens when I call an organizer?

Usually there is some type of conversation over the phone, Zoom or email to discover what type of organizing dilemma you want solved.  It might be to have a space organized, help with moving, develop systems to make things function more smoothly, downsizing, coaching or virtual organizing etc. Then there is a description of how the job will be completed. This is about the only common business practice.  Since we all own our own businesses we have varying ways of continuing.

When you contact Mind over  Clutter:

Can I get an estimate on the cost for the work to be completed?

Most times it is hard to estimate how long a job will take during the conversation.  I offer a free one-hour assessment to my in-person clients to see what the job entails and give you an idea of how long I think it might take and what we will do.  I also offer a 30-minute assessment to my virtual clients.  One of the biggest factors on how long a job will take is how easily and quickly you can make decisions if items stay or go.  The second factor is, sometimes the job expands to include unforeseen work: filing papers, assembling shelving or bookcases, corners and areas not discussed during the assessment. I work on an hourly rate and offer a package of 10 hours at a reduced rate.

How does it work?

My virtual clients have 4 ways of working with me.

  1. A series of mini sessions
  2. Be there with you online as you work on your project to support, coach and mentor you
  3. Complete plan is developed for you to do on your own timeframe
  4. Develop routines and systems to help manage your time

80% of my in-person clients work with me to go through items and decide what will stay and what will be donated or recycled.  Then we discuss the best place and way to store the items so they can be easily found and used. Most clients like to learn  the skill of organizing and so working together helps them to learn where start, how to sort, how to decide what stays and what goes, how to store things in containers and where is the best location to store different types of items.

What if I don’t want to help or can’t help?

If you don’t want to help, I can work alone sorting items based on our conversation on what you want to keep and what you want to donate.  Then I create a donate pile  and a garbage pile and recycle pile.  Nothing leaves the house until you have looked through each pile.  If you can’t help, you can sit with me and I can bring you things to do and you can answer my questions.

What if I need some guidance but can do all the work myself?

We can work together virtually.  You show me the space to organize over Zoom and I send you a plan and you complete the work.  Here is more information about virtual organizing.  Or I can coach you through the process in a conversation in-person or virtually by discussing what you want to accomplish and how you can accomplish it.

Maybe you don’t want me to see your home.  You can purchase my online course, Create an Organized Home and use the step-by-step videos, worksheets and checklists to complete your project.  You will have access to me through a Facebook group.

What happens with donations and recycling?

At the end of each work session I take the donations.  I will drop them at centers that will take your things.  I can take them to the donation center of your choice too.  I take non-curbside recycling at the end of each session. Usually that includes, batteries, paint cans, small electronics, small appliances, textile recycling, medications, and plastic bags.

Why wouldn’t I just do it myself after the one hour free assessment?

Some people do.  They have enough information and can continue with the job.  Most people feel overwhelmed and stressed by doing it on their own.  They find it easier to work with a professional who can guide them through the problem, help solve it and reduce the stress they feel about the situation. Working with someone makes you block time out for the appointment and helps you to stop putting it off.  It is always more fun working with someone than working alone.

My virtual clients find that working with me makes them accountable to themselves and to me, especially in the mini-session program.  We work together weekly, biweekly or monthly.

Will you give me homework to do?

Only if you want it.  Some people like to keep going with the work and get it done quickly.  Some people don’t want to work alone or would feel bad if they didn’t get the homework done so I don’t that person anything to do.  There are some tasks that are very time consuming and if you can do it on your own it makes it more cost effective for you, sorting paper, going through books, CDs, VHS tapes, clothing.  However, those tasks can be difficult to figure out what to keep and what to donate, so it might be easier for you to do it with me present.

Let’s chat

If you need more information book a complimentary 30-minute virtual chat with me, whether you want to work in person or online.  I hope to hear from you soon.

Portrait of young smiling shocked business woman wearing suit sitting at home office desk using laptop, looking at computer screen with happy surprised face expression, showing euphoric funny reaction

 

Please post your questions in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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What should I do with clothing I no longer need?

Clothes that are old and out of style are hard to donate so when you no longer want to have them in your closet make a plan so they can be loved by someone else.

1. Adopt a family

If you have children sort their clothes at the start of each season and put the clothes that no longer fit in a box or bag.  You may find it easier to put clothes that now longer fit into the donation box or bag right after they come out of the dryer.  Make a connection with a family that has children a year or two younger than your children and give them the box of clothes at the beginning of each season.  This helps both families to know what clothes they have and what they need to buy and you don’t need to figure out where to donate them because they go to the same family every season.

A little girl cleaning.

2. Selling 

There are many consignment stores that sell clothing.  You can find them online.  Each store will have its own niche market.  Contact them to see if they want high-end clothing, teenage clothes, baby apparel etc.

Clothing can be sold through consignment stores

Clothing can be sold through consignment stores

3. Theatres 

If you have unusual pieces of clothing like a nurse’s cape, old-fashioned outfits or accessories take them to your local little theatre group.  They may be able to use them in their productions.  It would help the theatre company to save money on their costumes.

Vintage and unusual items can be donated to theatres

Vintage and unusual items can be donated to theatres

4. Clothing Drives 

Sometimes communities have special clothing drives.  You may find that formal wear can be donated to groups collecting clothing for proms.  In the late fall, there may be a winter coat and boot drive for homeless people.  Running shoes can be donated at some running stores and they donate them to organizations that send the shoes overseas.

5. Shelters

Clothing can be donated to women’s and men’s shelters as well as thrift stores in your community.

6. Textile Recycling

For clothing that is too old, stained or ripped google textile recycling.  There are businesses that recycle fabric, leather, bedding and clothing.

Where do you donate clothing that you no longer wear?

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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The Psychology of Clutter

Reading Time – 7 minutes

Here are 5 scenarios about why people have clutter.  Clutter is different for everyone but most people have some clutter in their lives. Let’s look at the psychology of clutter.

Scenario 1 – Retail Therapy

I was talking with a friend about people who buy something when they are sad to make themselves feel better and how this can cause clutter, financial problems or health problems if it is food.  She said when she had a bad day at school her mom would take her to a store and buy her a teddy bear.  So she understands her joy in shopping.

Why do people shop and create clutter in their homes and offices? It’s the process of assigning the emotion of fulfillment, satisfaction or simply “non-depression” to an item.  You were feeling sad and now you bought something and feel better,  for a while.

 This quote is from a book called Living More with Less:

“As someone once said

  • we have bought into the foolish obsession of buying stuff we don’t need
  • with money we don’t have
  • to impress people we don’t even know.”

I think we can all relate to a purchase that we have made fitting this description.

Three ladies shopping in a shopping mall

Scenario 2 – Fear causes clutter

Perhaps it is fear that helps people 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 or headache?
  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

Afraid of being wrong

Scenario 3 – Sentimentality and Clutter

I have clients who if they touch an object 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 goodbye to it.

The sentimentality can be associated with

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

Being able to separate an object from a person can be difficult. Make sure to keep only a few objects that are the best representation of that period in your life period or moment.  Learning that you can still have the memory and the corresponding feeling without having the object will help you to be able to donate items.

Scenario 4 – Control 

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

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

Scenario 5 – Keeping your Stuff to Sell

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, eBay or Facebook Marketplace.  Sometimes they hold onto it for so long that it has lost its value. They think I paid good money for it.    The reality is the money has been 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, then reconsider their ‘value’.

I summarize these 5 scenarios into

  • Social – learning that you can’t always feel happy and that acquiring things will not make you happy
  • Psychological – trusting yourself helps you have the courage to let go,
  • Emotional – learning you can have that wonderful feeling without  the object
  • Personality – people need control over their decisions, you can’t make it for  them
  • Financial – The value of an object in the enjoyment it brings to your life

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

Which scenarios do you relate to the most?

If you need help clearing the clutter contact me julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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Moving students home? Make home life simple with a contract

Reading time – 5 minutes

It is that time of year when your young adult moves back home or the summer.  You might think of them as your kid.  They might think of themselves as an adult now that they have been living on their own for a year.  Each of you has changed over the year and so has your relationship.  Here are some tips on avoiding the conflict that might happen.

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectations are. Click To Tweet

Expectations

It is a big change in lifestyle when students move home for the summer, for the students and the parents.  Sometimes students think

Share your ideas

What are your expectations?

  • It will be just like before I left
  • I will have the same responsibilities as I did living away from home
  • I am on vacation for 4 months
  • and so on…

Sometimes parents think

  • they have lived on their own so they should have no problem contributing around the home without being asked
  • now I have someone to help with all the work
  •  things have changed and we do things differently now
  • and so on…

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectations are.  My daughter presented me with some rules when she moved back home for a few months.  She asked me to look at them and see if they were suitable and to add any rules.  It made things very easy and simple because there were fewer misunderstandings.

Your contract/ agreement might cover the following ideas.

Sharing the car

May I have the car?

Car                                                                                                                                                

  1. Who pays for gas?
  2. When can they use it?
  3. Do they have to ask to use the car or can they just take it?

Food/ Groceries

  1. Who buys the groceries?
  2. Who pays for the groceries?
  3. Do you buy everything on the list?
  4. Do you buy only the things you need from the list when you go shopping?

Cooking

  1. Who cooks?
  2. Who plans the meals?
  3. Do you cook for everyone or only yourself?

    Where do I start cleaning?

    What needs to be cleaned?

Kitchen

  1. Who cleans up the kitchen?
  2. What needs to be cleaned,  floors counters, stove, sink?
  3. Who does the dishes?
  4. Who empties the dishwasher?

Schedule

  1. Do you record your activities in a specific place, electronic or paper?
  2. Do you need to tell where you are going and when you will be back?
  3. Are there any activities you are expected to attend?

Your young adult may feel like you are trying to “keep tabs” on their activities.  They have not had curfews and anyone to report to in a year.  Explain that you want to know when to expect them back for safety reasons.  If they don’t return when they are expected then it is time to start worrying and start looking for them.

Laundry

  1. Who is responsible for laundry?
  2. May they use the supplies at home or do they purchase their own supplies?

Cleaning

  1. Who does the cleaning, is it a shared task?

This checklist of ideas makes it seem like working out an agreement will be a lot of work.  The agreement only needs to cover areas that cause conflict, tension or have changed since the student last lived with you.

Our agreement looked like this:

Food                                                                                                                                                                                 

Family agreements about house rules

Make a contract/agreement with everyone in the family to reduce stress and misunderstandings

  • Buy groceries: give Mom the bill,  buy everything on the list
  • Weekday meals:  First one home cooks, Mom will try to plan the meals for the week

Car

  •  Mom will pay for gas

Kitchen:

  • Clean and wipe counter and island and stove
  • No dishes in the sink or on the counter, put them in the dishwasher before going to bed

Schedule:

  • Record your evening activities and times when you won’t be home for supper on the calendar
  • Politely and conversational let us know where you are going and when you plan on returning. This is for safety reasons, if you don’t return we need to know where and when to start looking for you

2 weeks ago I wrote about Moving a Student Back Home 

Tell me what items you put on your contract in the comments below.

 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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