Getting ready to sell your house?

Here are 11 Things Most People Forget to Do

Thanks to my guest blogger Jeff  Anttila of Redfin for sharing his tips on getting your house ready for the real estate market.

You’ve started on your lists of small repairs, you’ve contacted a real estate agent, and now you’re in the final steps of getting ready to sell your house. But before you put your home up for sale, and certainly before having your first open house, here are 11 things to consider that most home sellers forget to think about and could cost you a sale.

1. Declutter and Organize Your Closets and Cabinets

Sure, you went through your entire house and reduced the clutter in each room, organized your desk and other surfaces, and arranged your collection of antique ceramic kitty figurines to be facing perpendicular to the window. However, did you tackle your closets and cabinets? One thing you should definitely expect during an open house or individual home tours is that potential home buyers will be looking in your closets, kitchen drawers and cabinets. Will your walk-in closet fit all of his shoes and her summer dresses? Is there enough storage space in your kitchen for their cookware, bakeware, and all the kitchen gadgets that they seem to collect each year? These are all questions home buyers will be asking themselves as they walk through your home.

Of course, you as a home seller will have no idea what the needs are of a potential home buyer, but you can definitely showcase what your house has to offer in terms of storage. Start by decluttering your closets, cabinets, and drawers, and then keeping only enough belongings in each to really show off the potential that space has to offer. Think of it as an extension of staging your home, but for your storage areas.

2. Clean Stains and Eliminate Odors

We should all consider small stains, marks, and other imperfections as badges of honor for a house that has been lived in for years. Nonetheless, these slight bumps and bruises your home has encountered over time will stick out to potential home buyers, so tackle them head-on. Begin by trying to put yourself in the shoes of a potential home buyer and look at your house objectively. Start by going outside and then re-entering your house as if you didn’t actually own it but were an interested home buyer looking at it for the first time. What do you see? Walk through every room and take note of all the imperfections you notice. You might surprise yourself with how quickly your list grows. You can then add them to your list of repairs so you can make your house truly be at its best before your first open house. Also, if you have pets there is a strong possibility that your home has an odor which you can no longer smell. Deep cleaning your house is a sure fire way to help eliminate these odors, but also think about using an odor eliminating spray every day for about a week before your first open house. You can also place plugin room fresheners that offer a great crisp smell, like cucumber, to help infuse a sense of cleanliness throughout your house.

3. Replace Light Bulbs

Walk through each room in your house and look at every light bulb to see if it’s working. As homeowners, we sometimes forget to immediately replace a light bulb when it goes out. You want your house to be at its brightest when new home buyers are touring your home and replacing old burnt out light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to do it. Also, don’t forget to walk around the outside of your house to make sure all the lights of your home’s exterior are working as well. Depending on the time of year, your open house or home tours could happen when the sun is going down or when it’s already dark. So be sure to make your house shine inside and out!

Pro tip: Make sure all your light bulbs are the same color temperature inside your house as well as outside. A soft-white light LED bulb can create a bright but welcoming environment for new home buyers.

4. Think About the Small Details: Plants, Mirrors, Rugs

Consider each room’s individual characteristics, so you can really showcase the potential every room in your house can offer. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while you start prepping every space for an exceptional open house experience.

 Add a little green to your spaces

Nothing breathes life into a room more than a little greenery. A potted tree can work wonders in a living room, but for smaller areas think smaller plants such as a small potted herb garden in the kitchen or a miniature cactus on the mantel.

Open up even the smallest rooms

Mirrors can make small spaces seem large because they create the illusion of depth. Mirrors also work wonders in darker rooms as they reflect light deep into areas of a room that may not receive an abundance of natural light.

 Add character to an otherwise unimpressive space

While staging your home, think about adding character to various spaces with rugs. However, keep in mind that you want to use rugs to enhance a space, not be the focal point of it. Also, if you have a strange space that you never really figured out a good use for, a rug could at least offer a little personality while leaving the space and its potential to the imaginations of home buyers.

 

5. Enhance Your Outdoor Space

You’re probably already aware that enhancing your curb appeal is one of the most impactful things you can do to create a great first impression. However, you don’t want to forget about your other outdoor areas, such as your front porch or entrance, your back entrance, side yard, and backyard. You want to enhance your outdoor spaces around the house so potential buyers can see themselves living as much outside your house as inside. Simple enhancements like placing potted plants to your front entrance or adding fresh beauty bark around the base of your hedges and trees can go a long way. If you don’t already have a designated outdoor space for entertaining, think about building a DIY fire pit and adding four Adirondack chairs to create the idea of outdoor fun. Ultimately, your outdoor space can be just as important of a space as what your home has to offer on the inside.

6. Get Professional (Aerial) Photography

By now your research has probably shown you that homes with professional photos sell for more and spend less time on the market on average. What you may not have considered is adding aerial photography to your listing photos. Aerial photography can show off your entire property, a scenic view, and the surrounding area.  If you have a lot of property, an aerial shot can easily put into perspective the full scope all your land has to offer to potential home buyers. Furthermore, aerial photography has come a long way thanks to the rapid development of drone technology, resulting in reasonable pricing that is accessible for many homeowners today. For higher-end listings, drones can even capture video of your property, helping it stand out among the hundreds of other homes for sale.

7. Don’t Forget About Your Gutters

Imagine that you’re having your first open house and despite the rain, foot traffic has been steadily increasing all morning. Your house looks immaculate, like one of those home’s off of an HGTV show, and your real estate agent has been messaging you updates every hour about how great it’s going. But then the unexpected happens. A small stream of water starts coming down right in front of your large bay window in the living room. The stream is outside the house, but your would-be buyers watch on as it grows into a miniature waterfall. Red flags go up for the home buyers touring your house as the foot traffic thins then disappears altogether. What they didn’t see was that the spillage was the result of a clogged gutter, nothing more, causing water to spill over in a very inopportune place and at the worst time. Depending on where you live, you may not see as much rain in locations like Phoenix, AZ, but in many locations where rainfall is a common occurrence, such as Seattle, WA, this situation is more likely to happen. If you don’t have time to clean your gutters yourself—because you have a house to sell and a million other little things to do—there are professional services that can clean your gutters for you so this little oversight doesn’t drown out your hopes of selling your home quickly.

8. Paint Your Baseboards and Crown Molding

It’s pretty common knowledge that you should paint the interior of your home a neutral color to appeal to more buyers. Home buyers want to imagine themselves and their stuff in your space, so your red accent wall will need to be painted over with a more neutral hue. But what a lot of home sellers forget to do is pay attention to their baseboards and crown molding. Where crown molding may just need some cleaning and touch-ups, your baseboards most likely have seen a lot more traffic, especially if you have kids. It may be a toy truck that has repeatedly crashed into your white baseboards, crayons that went rogue, or the black rubber wheels from bikes racing down the hallway, most likely your baseboards have been marked with years of life experiences.

To correct these homely blemishes, you can try cleaning your baseboards with simple dish soap and water. But if it has been years of wear and abuse, you most likely will need to paint. Use a paint with a semi-gloss finish that will offer a light sheen but not glossy enough to distract attention away from your floors. You can also match your crown molding using the same paint, making every room pop to potential home buyers. Of course, if you end up hiring painters to repaint that accent wall of yours, you might as well have them paint your baseboards while they’re there.

9. Focus on Your Floors

Your hardwood floors were once beautiful and one of the initial reasons you bought your home, but after years of traffic your hardwoods have since dulled to a shadow of their former glory. Likewise, your once plush carpet has also now matted down into obvious paths that lead from room to room. One of the first things potential home buyers look at when entering a new home is the floors, so make yours a statement. If your carpet is approaching that 10-year mark, it is most likely looking pretty worn. Think about recarpeting your house to make it look fresh and ready for new homeowners. Such as you did with your walls, you’ll want to go more neutral in color to appeal to the majority of home buyers. If your carpet is only a few years old, however, getting it professionally cleaned can go a long way in bringing your carpet back to life.

If you have hardwood floors bring them back to their former glory by refinishing them. Refinishing hardwood floors typically includes sanding down the floors to eliminate the original finish and stain, then restaining with the desired color followed by a coat or two of sealer. Your floors will look brand new and really stand out during the open house.

10. Gather Your Documents

You might not be aware of this but you’ll want to gather all the documents you have in regards to warranties, manuals, service records, and repairs done to your house. These documents are hugely important for several reasons and certain ones are needed by different parties before you sell your house. Your agent is your best friend during the home selling process. They are also your homes’ first line of marketing and the more information they have about your house, the better they can promote it. They will write out the specific details of your home as well as an enticing description that will highlight key features that home buyers want. So, if you’ve made recent updates like a new deck, new roof, updated HVAC, or if your home has hot water on demand make sure your agent knows it and you have the paperwork to back it up.

During the home inspection process, home inspectors are going to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb. If your furnace or water heater hasn’t been serviced in years, they’ll let you know. Take a proactive approach by gathering all your service records so you’ll know ahead of time if something needs to be serviced before listing your home.

However, beyond the paperwork your agent and the home inspector would like to see, title companies require very specific documentation in order for you to even sell your home, including:

  • Mortgage loan information, which will show any outstanding mortgage balance and pay-off balance (if there is any)
  • Final purchase and sale agreement
  • Deed
  • Title report
  • Property tax information, including most recent tax statement
  • Homeowners insurance information
  • Lease agreement, if you’re currently renting the property
  • Any reports or documentation that relates to the property
    • Warranty paperwork, permits, service documentation, instruction manuals, dates of home improvement projects, and age of the roof, furnace, hot water heater, HVAC, and all the other major appliances.
  1. Pre-Sale Home Inspection

The last thing most people don’t think about before they sell their home is getting a pre-sale home inspection. Though it is not mandatory, a pre-sale home inspection is a proactive approach to understanding your home’s condition at that point in time, and if there are any repairs that need attention, you can address them now versus trying to do it during the home selling process. Home buyers will most likely get a home inspection of their own, right? So, why would you get one as a seller? A home inspection report will most likely turn up a list of repairs that will need to be fixed. Would you prefer to fix these issues now before you list your home, or after you’re in negotiations with a potential buyer? If you wait, you may push back the sale date of your house as repairs are being made. Or, home buyers may ask for concessions on your asking price in order to cover the repairs and the time it takes to make them. Ultimately, getting a pre-sale home inspection will leave you in a better position when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers. You may feel like spending a lot of time and money on your house is pointless because you’re just going to sell it anyway, right? Just consider that the more you appeal to the majority of home buyers the more bids you’ll likely see and ultimately help you sell your house quicker and for more money.

Which tip was most helpful for you? 

Originally published on Redfin

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie 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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Document organizing tips to keep you afloat

 

Document System

R – Read
A – Act
F – File
T- Toss

Paperwork, e-mail messages and electronic files  can overwhelm you making you feel stressed and ineffective.  If information has built up, look at the creation date on the document and decide if is the most recent version.  If the document was replaced by a more current version toss or delete the old versions.  If the document can be replicated, retrieved or is obsolete toss it, shredded it or delete it.

As documents arrive, paper or electronic decide:

R  –  Needs to be read or referred to later

If it will be read  or referred  to another person, place it in a folder (electronic or paper) labelled as read.  If the document is to be used by another person forward it to the correct person.

A – Needs to be processed

If the document requires:

  • an action to be taken,
  • a decision to be made,
  • a response conveyed or
  • has a deadline

place it in a folder marked Act.  Financial documents should have their own folder separate from the Act folder.

F – Needs to be filed

If  the documents  are completed, but must be retained ,then they are  filed.  If it is an electronic document forward it to the correct folder.  If it is a paper document place it in a file or basket for filing at a later date.

T – Needs to be disposed of

Documents  that you:

  • no longer need,
  • have no financial implications,
  • are out of date,
  • junk mail or
  • a copy can be obtained elsewhere

can be tossed, deleted, recycled or shredded.

All of your electronic communications and paperwork are now filed as:

  • Read
  • Act
  • File or
  • Tossed

and are ready to be handled at a later time.  Schedule time in your agenda/calendar to read documents, complete any action needed on documents and file paperwork.  This system helps you to:

  • know where documents are if someone has questions,
  • allows you to manage your time effectively by scheduling your paperwork at times when you will be uninterrupted and
  • be able to quickly  locate the papers/documents you need to complete a task.

Although much of your information is paperless there is still a substantial amount of paper to control.  Have 3-5 stacking trays or a desktopper with  folders.  Label the folders/trays: to do, to read, to file,  refer to other people, miscellaneous forms.  File the paper correctly and schedule time to process each folder.

3 black stackable plastic trays for filing and a white desktopper holding file folders for filing paperwork

At the end of the day:

  • Clean off your desk, leaving only papers you are going to process tomorrow in a stack on your desk.
  • In your calendar record the files you need to process.  Place e-mails/documents to be worked on in a folder marked with the day of the week they will be processed
  • Check your to do files (paper and electronic) for items that need to be completed the next day
  • Sort all other paper and documents into their appropriate trays/ folders.

Share how do you prevent emails and paperwork from drowning you?

POC Gold LeafJulie 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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Taking back your master closet

Asian lady surrounded by colorful clothes in her organized closet

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

Today I have a guest blogger, Haley Kieser of Zog Digital. She always shares an inspiring fresh approach to freshening up your home.

Organizing a master closet is one of those tasks that usually comes last on the list. Master closets are often where extra things get stored to be dealt with later. Instead of putting off this chore, make your closet functional right now by planning out what you’re going to do and then tackling the make-over.

Clean-Up

Take everything out of the closet. You won’t be doing yourself any favours if you tackle this project with all the things still in it, or by doing part of it at a time. You need to get a fresh start.

While everything’s out, do some paring down. You can use the Marie Kondo method, ask yourself these questions, or simply choose to get rid of items that you haven’t worn in a year or more. If none of these get you to point of decluttering, consult with a professional organizer.

Lighting

Next, make sure there’s a bright light near or inside your closet so you can easily see your clothing. This may mean simply placing a lamp close by, or if you have the room, installing a light inside. If there’s no existing fixture, you can either hire an electrician to run wiring inside, or choose a wireless lighting option. There are many strong, high-quality LED lights that you can add. Choose the center of the closet as placement for a larger light or pick two or three smaller ones to provide plenty of light across the board.

If there’s already a light inside the closet, consider whether it’s bright enough and whether you like the fixture aesthetically. This is the time to choose something decorative that goes with your personal style, like a fun crystal piece.

Paint

A new coat of paint makes a huge difference inside a closet. Not only will it rid the walls of the wear and tear closets always get, but it will make it seem bigger and brighter. First pick a shade and finish. WOW 1 Day Painting suggests using a semi-gloss paint. This is a shiny finish that reflects light better than satin or eggshell, so you can better see your clothes. Choose a light-toned colour. It doesn’t have to be white but go for the lightest color in your chosen colour family.

Organizational System

Decide whether your current shelving and clothing rod system is meeting your needs. Perhaps you want more shoe storage, or don’t have enough space to hang your clothes.

Measure your closet both horizontally and vertically and sketch out a plan. You can do this on paper (graph paper works best) or use a software tool. When planning, keep in mind that generally you want to have the things you use every day at your eye level. Little-used clothing, like formal dresses or overcoats, can go in a less-reachable space.

Consider whether or not you like to hang up or fold most of your clothes. If you like to fold them, then you’ll want shelves or drawers more than you want closet rods. Allow 40-42 inches of vertical space for hanging clothes.

There are lots of mostly pre-made closet systems available at home improvement stores these days. These come in single or multiple components, so you can mix and match them for your needs. For instance, if you have a lot of purses, you may want to install cubbies. The good thing about these systems is that they’re easy to install with some basic tools and are already painted.

You can also make your own shelving or hire a professional to do it. If you’re making your own shelving, then you’ll want to do this step before the paint, so you can paint everything at once.  You’ll also need some higher-level handyman skills and tools like a table saw to do the job well.

Accessorize

Even if you don’t have much room, you can choose some things like fancy closet hooks to give your space some personal flair when you hang up necklaces and robes. A small chair or pouf to sit on is both practical and can reflect what you like.

Now that your closet system is in place, you can put all your clothing and accessories back. A functional closet is a lot more fun to use, and the organization system will make it easy to keep neat.

POC Gold LeafJulie 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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How to organize to create joy in your home.

man and woman holding hands together with boy and girl looking at green trees during day

I had  a number of questions submitted to me about how to create joy in your home.  Here are my answers.  I hope you enjoy them. Please send me more questions or place your thoughts in the comments about creating joy at home.

How does tidying up a home help create joy?

Tidying up so you are able to find what you want, when you want it, use it to accomplish your task and know where to put it away relieves, stress, tension and frustration.  It also uses less energy to complete your work, leaving more energy, physical and emotional, for other parts of your life.  Feeling less anxious and overwhelmed makes room in your life for happiness and joy because your have time to spend on the important things, health, relationships and personal growth.

How can you use the idea of a happiness shrine to help someone to have more joy and  help reduce clutter?

A “happiness shrine” or “pride shrine” in a home is a shelf/wallspace/corner  used to display items that serve no utilitarian purpose but make you happy.  I have a space in my office where I post 1 picture from some  vacations with my family and a small shelf for interesting items, that remind me of my successes.  This corner certainly makes me smile with many memories.  By having a designated, limited and personal space for sentimental items,  people need to decide which things are really important to them. It allows other areas in the home to be organized purposefully reducing distracting clutter in the commonly used areas. Give each member of the home a “pride shine” area and remember what is in your shrine can change and evolve to reflect your life past, present and future.

White cupboard door with pictures on it.

How can someone organize their running shoes and workout gear in an attractive way  where they are visible but don’t wind up in piles on the floor? 

Exercise is one of many ways to help increase your mental wellness.  People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise   A study showed that people are more likely to exercise or make healthy habits if they can see their workout gear. Goals and habits are easier to accomplish if you are intentional about your plan, set a day and time to exercise.  Organize your sneakers and workout gear on a shelf so you can see them when you enter your room or open the closet. A shoe or pocket organizer hung on the inside of a door will also work well.  Roll your exercise gear, shorts, tops, warm up pants, warm up tops, running jacket, etc and place each item in a pocket.  It will make it easy to see your workout gear as well as limit the amount of gear you purchase.  Don’t forget to put the shoes in one of the pockets too. A drawer may keep your gear hidden from your view but if you prefer using a drawer also put items in the drawer that you use everyday so you will continue to notice your workout gear daily.

Books bring  joy to many people. How can we tidy up our book collections? 

Books are such a personal topic.  Some people read a book once and donate to their library while the book is current and in good shape.  Other people like to be reminded of the stories they have read and so keep books just to remember them.  Still other people like to have beautiful picture style books and enjoy them as entertainment, like watching a movie. Lastly, people like them as reference books on topics they have studied or want to learn about.  Think about why you have books and if they still serve you well.  Perhaps you can check out books from the library, download books, share books or trade books to reduce the number of books you own but still be able to enjoy them.  If you have more books than you can display on shelves in your home, I think you have too many.  Books that are kept in boxes can’t be used, enjoyed or experienced.  Reducing the clutter of owning boxes of books, reduces the time and energy spent on thinking and worrying about what to do with them. It frees up time to spend on the things that are important to you now and it frees up space.

How does donating unused or unwanted items help to create its own sense of joy?

Donating unused or unwanted items creates a sense of helping others.  Your items can be used to help raise money for community causes, given to charities to help people, develop relationships with organizations to make the world a better place for everyone.  We are so privileged to have enough to share with others.  Your sense of joy may come from protecting the environment by keeping useful items out of the landfill, by sharing your wealth to support people and projects locally or globally, by being an example for others to follow.  Joy comes in many forms.

Car trunk full of bags of things to donate

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie 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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5 Tips for getting the food onto the table

Y0u might be using an app to help you plan your meals and make your grocery list or paper and pen.  Here are a few tips to help you take that plan and make it happen.  The easier it is to get the meal onto the table the less likely it is that you will eat out.

 

grocery planning

menu planning

                 

1. Plan meals for a month or more and then repeat the plan.

2. Cook double portions so you can use the planned-overs on another day.

3. Have each family member participate in simple meal preparations that are age appropriate.

4. Cook together on weekends and prepare a number of meals for the week.

5. Partially prepare meat – dice it, brown it and then freeze it.

Share your best tip for making meal preparation easy.

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie 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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10 Tips to help keep your home organized when kids are out of school

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 starting 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 they only fought once. But one 3 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.

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.

7. Have an agreement about snacks and dirty dishes.  If the agreement is not kept then have them decide on a consequence.

6. Determine a schedule for their activities, whether they are in programs or at home. Include screen time, outdoor time, reading time, creative time. Also include in that schedule 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 help/play/be interrupted by your children so that things don’t get completed.

5. Have a routine for getting supper on the table and food and dishes put away. There are a number of tasks involved in eating supper: 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.

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 maybe different for each day of the week.   Tasks may include making their beds, making, eating and cleaning up their breakfast, tiding up things that were left out from the previous day, 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 there 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 out grown using, 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 are 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.

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie 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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How to organize your shopping

If you find that you spend too much time or money shopping here are some ideas from “Don’t Agonize Organize your Office” by Diane A Hatcher.

Buying for the Wrong Reasons                                                                                           

  • It was on sale
  • Too good a bargain to pass up
  • I may find a use for it some day
  • Someone else I know may need it one day
  • It feels good to shop

How to Buy

  • Shop for things you need not want
  • Shop for things that fit into the space you have
  • What am I going to use it for?
  • Where am I going to put it?
  • When you buy something new, give 2 things away.

Whenever you buy, make a plan first. 

Signs can encourage to purchase items, so follow your plan not their plan

What habits have you set for yourself so you don’t buy unnecessary items?

POC Gold LeafJulie 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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How to organize a yard sale

There are many ways to organize a yard sale.  You might find that this way takes less time and energy  to set up.

Get  number of boxes or bins to collect your items .  Mark each container with a price $1.00 $2:00 $0.25 $0.50 $5.00 etc.  As you are collecting your items for the sale decide how much you will sell the item for  and put the objects of the same price into the same box.  You are pricing items as you sort them so there is less work to do later.  How much should it sell  for?

Yard Sale

Easy Way to get Ready for a Garage Sale

Pricing

  • 2/3 of the original price for brand new or barely used items
  • 25% – 30% of the original price for the older items

Have a separate display areas /tables for each price grouping.    Place a sign on the front each of the table explaining everything on this table costs _______.  You are finished and ready to have a great day.

If you want to do a little more work to ensure that you get the right price for each item  you can  use stickers.  They are easy to find at a dollar store.

Tags

  • use tags one colour per price group.
  • red for $10.00, blue for $5.00 etc.
  • place a colour coding sticker on each item and when the person buys it you know exactly what to charge.
  •                 or
  • if the garage sale is for multiple families or multiple family members give each group their own colour  then you know which cash box to put the money in. Make sure to never leave the money unattended.

To ensure you get the sale have change.

Change

  • have $25 in change
  • $20 in $1, $4 in quarters, $1 in dimes and nickels
  • keep money in waist pouch so it can;t be stolen

Sometimes a garage sale seems like a great way to make money.  Make sure you are the type of person who likes to barter and is not offended when people tell you that something is not worth the value you have placed on it.  It takes time to set up and clean up from a garage sale .

Timeline for a Preparing for a Yard Sale

  • sort, clean, price                1 – 2 days
  • advertising                           2 hrs
  • arrange and display wares  4 hrs
  • get change                           1 hr
  • tag sale itself                       1 or 2 days
  • take unsold items to charity  3 hrs

Garage sales can be a fun way to get rid of your clutter, make some money and meet people.  If you feel you don’t have the time, energy , a good location, great items for sale or don’t like bartering you may want to donate your items to a charity and spend the day doing something else.

What is your best tip for making a yard sale a success. 

POC Gold LeafJulie 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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Moving students home – Make home life simple

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 expectation 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 less misunderstanding.

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?

Laundry

  1. Who is responsible for laundry ?

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 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 for safety reason, 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.

POC Gold LeafJulie 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?

Book your complimentary Organizing Breakthrough Session

 

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Get organized and donate to textile recycling

April 24th is earth day

The 3 R’s

When going green first became a movement it was called the 3 R’s, reduce reuse and recycle.  Thankfully we have become more aware of taking care of our environment.

We now have

  • reduce – buy less items that have packaging that needs to be recycled,
  • reuse – buy items that have more than 1 time use before they are recycled or disposed of
  • repurpose  – many items can be used in a new way other than what the items was initially intended to do
  • regift – some things you get or buy and don’t work out, can be regifted to a friend
  • renew – some items especially furniture can be refinished or restuffed and brought back to life instead of going to the landfill
  • rethink – your lifestyle so you use less energy and have a smaller carbon footprint
  • recycle – lots of things can be recycled but today I want to highlight textile recycling

Repurpose tin cans into lovely hanging planters

     

 

 

Textile Recycling 

Textile recycling is a newer idea.  The idea of  donating clothes, shoes, purses, belts blankets toys etc to thrift stores is well established in most communities.  What if those items have holes, are discoloured, very old and out of fashion you can still keep them out of the landfill though textile recycling. Canadians only divert 25% waste from landfills.

Textile Waste Diversion  ,Diabetes Canada in conjunction with Value Village are 3 companies that will gladly accept clean, dry ,odorless, clothing, shoes, boots, leather belts, purses, outwear, linens, drapery, soft toys. sleeping bags, yarn, pillows, hats, etc any thing made of textiles to recycle  them

reduce-infographic

graphic from www.textilewastediversion.com

North Americans only divert about 20% of waste from landfills, textile recycling can help to keep clothing out of the landfill. Click To Tweet

These 3 programs have bins for easy drop off.   Not only do they divert waste from landfills but they also put money back into the economy through their fundraising programs.

This problem is not limited to Canada.  In the USA it’s estimated each person wastes 32kg of clothing annually, with only 15% of this ending up in a recycling center. The rest is landfilled or incinerated, causing lasting damage to the environment.

With an increasing growth rate in Britain they also have low rates of waste diversion.  The article The Introduction to all things Recycling  by Monk and company explains the environmental benefits of recycling, the importance of recycling and the environmental impact of textile waste.

If you would like a 9 page recycling document, listing how and where to donate and recycle items, send me and email julie@mindoverclutter.ca and put in the subject line recycling doc and I’ll send it to you. 

In the comments, tell us what do you do to protect the environment and go green?

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie 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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