Archive for Cleaning Tips

Spring Clearing A B Cs

Yes, you read it correctly, spring clearing, not spring cleaning.  I attended a conference in London, England offered by the  Association of Professional Declutterers and  Organizers. (APDO).  This is where I first heard about spring clearing.  The idea made so much sense to me.  We no longer have to do the seasonal cleaning.  Our homes are much cleaner because of high-efficiency furnaces, paved roads, washing machines, vacuum cleaners.  Long gone are days of mud floors, dirt roads, open fires to heat your home and brooms for sweeping.

Activities

Clearing is a process that involves clearing out things you no longer need, use or want.  It is also more than that.  Clearing is about examining schedules, activities and commitments   Activities change with the seasons and that affects your schedule.  Some of those activities you may not be interested in anymore.  Clear them from your life and try something new. Revise your schedule to suit your new interests.

Commitments

There might be a lot of commitments in your life.  You might be volunteering, doing things out of guilt, involved in things that are no longer a priority in your life. Look at all the commitments and clear the ones that no longer interest you, you have outgrown or can be shared or delegated to someone else. Use your time in a way that allows you to you feel, fulfilled, passionate about the cause and excited to contribute.

Spring clearing involves clearing out things you no longer need, use or want. Also clear out schedules, activities and commitments that no longer suit your life. Click To Tweet

Possessions 

Clear items that you no longer need, use or want.  Decide how much is enough and start to let go of the excess.  Make contributions to charities, sell items, donate them to worthy causes.  Don’t pass things on to other people unless they want them.  Check first before you drop something off. Recycle broken, damaged or very old items.  Keep as much as you can out of the landfill.

Download your Spring Clearing Guide

Here is a sheet to help you with your Spring or Fall Clearing, download it and use it as your guide.
Spring Clearing Tips

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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Quarantine Relief: When Cleaning and Organizing Become an Escape

With spring arriving people are beginning to think about cleaning and freshening up their homes.  I enjoy organizing but cleaning? My guest blogger, Magda  Rae, Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Cash Cow,  loves cleaning and is here to help us get a fresh start.

Due to the self-isolation protocols necessitated by the COVID-19 coronavirus, millions of people are spending more time at home than they are used to. Some have enjoyed the freedom and an opportunity to relax, while others are quickly becoming restless and are looking to stay productive.

If you are searching for a way to escape the frustration of quarantine and keep busy amid the pandemic, cleaning your home could provide the perfect solution. A good spring clean will give you a great feeling of accomplishment, while also helping your family to stay safe at a time when hygiene has become crucial! Cleaning even has plenty of proven benefits for your general health, which is important when you need to keep your immune system healthy. Here is how to get stuck in and perform the home deep-clean of a lifetime.

The Health Benefits of Cleaning

Photo by Samantha Gades, Unsplash

Interestingly, spring cleaning also has several science-backed benefits for your mental and physical well being. According to a Scottish health survey, the practice can reduce stress and anxiety by up to 20%, as long as you spend at least 20 minutes cleaning. Clutter can also add to your stress and lower work productivity, but science says that a clean and neat desk can actually make you more productive in the long run.

Dust and pet dander can aggravate allergies and hay fever, but cleaning can help to reduce symptoms of asthma and chest tightness. A study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has also revealed that cleaning your home can improve your mood and even alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. Clearly, now is an excellent time to get out the scrubbing brush and the vacuum cleaner.Cleaning your home can improve your mood and even alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. Click To Tweet

Taking Advantage of the Extra Time

Photo by Volha Flaxeco, Unsplash

The current pandemic has presented the perfect conditions for a proper deep clean of your home. Many of us are now in unique positions where we have far fewer daily obligations to worry about than usual. This means that you can really get stuck in, move furniture around, and spread out as you clean. Now is the perfect time to get stuck into those jobs that you have been putting off for years!

You can begin by sweeping your walkways, patio, exterior windows, light fittings and patio furniture. From there, you can move on to washing the interior windows of your home, cleaning out cupboards and pantries, and deep-cleaning appliances and sinks. These are all easy tasks that you could rope your children into to keep them busy as well.

Making a List

Photo by Andy Fitzsimon, Unsplash

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning, why not make a list for yourself? Write down a wishlist of all the things you would like to clean and tidy up, starting with those tasks that are a top priority for you. Many experts find that cleaning bit by bit is more effective than doing the whole house at once. Take your time, and begin with the rooms or areas of your home that need the most attention.

You could also devise a calendar for cleaning to help keep your routine organized. For example, Mondays could be bathroom cleaning days, Wednesdays could be dedicated to vacuuming, and Saturdays could be laundry days. This is a fantastic way to incentivize children to chip in with the cleaning too. If they do all of the weekly chores on the calendar you set out for them, you could offer them a treat or extend their leisure time as a reward. There is no better time to teach your children about the value of teamwork and cleanliness, so we recommend making the most of it.

Take Inspiration from Marie Kondo

Photo by Nathan Fertig, Unsplash

Is your home feeling unnecessarily cluttered? Perhaps it’s time to assess whether or not your possessions are functional, useful, or bring you joy. Marie Kondo’s famous technique includes picking up an item and deciding whether or not having it in your life brings you happiness. If not, put it aside to sell, donate to charity, or pass on to someone who will appreciate it. You may well find that if you sell your unwanted vintage jewelry, appliances, books and other items that you no longer use, you’ll pocket a sizable sum of money.

Again, you can also get your kids involved in this process. Many people think that children would want to hold onto everything they own, but Marie Kondo says that this simply isn’t the case a lot of the time. Remember, things don’t have to be in poor condition for you to pass them along to a new home. Charity stores are always grateful for goods in near-new condition!

Keep Cleaning Fun

Cleaning can be a fantastic escape, especially during lockdown. However, for some, this can be an arduous task – so make it fun! Put on your favorite music, rope in your family, and dance or sing as you work. Remember not to work yourself too hard, and to take regular breaks as you see fit.

You can also take before and after photographs of your efforts to incentivize yourself and show off on social media. Some people have even taken to making TikToks of their cleaning work to show the world just how powerful a deep clean can be!

A Good Way to Get Through Tough Times

No matter what your approach may be, the trick to enjoying cleaning and using it as an escape is to make it an enjoyable and rewarding activity that you can look back on with pride.

Need help with your cleaning and organizing project? Book a 30-minute complimentary virtual organizing assessment. https://mindoverclutter.as.me/virtualorganizingassessment

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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How to organize hockey gear.

My guest blogger this week is from ProStock Hockey.  It can be difficult to keep hockey equipment organized, dry and clean.  Do you want your child putting on equipment that was stored in a moldy hockey bag?  Imagine having 15 hockey bags in a small room containing equipment that is not taken care of properly.

Click arrows in the bottom right corner to expand full screen

Infographic created by Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey shop offering pro stock hockey equipment

Post your best tip for organizing your sports equipment in the comments. 

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

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Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

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3 Tips for organizing your spring clearing

I attended the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organizers annual conference in London England this year.  It was enlightening to learn and share ideas with Professional Organizers from England, Scotland, Wales, Netherlands, Japan, Dubai and the United States.  This is where I picked up the phrase “Spring Clearing”.

If spring clearing happens first then spring cleaning is much faster. Click To Tweet

Start with clearing out the items that are:

Broken 

They are the easiest to let go of but may be hard to get transported to the waste depot.  If you can’t take them yourself can call a junk removal company or make a trade with a friend or neighbour.  They can take your things to the dump and you can ….. bake a pie, mow their lawn, help with their gardening, have them over for supper…..

Donations

There are things that you might not have used in a while, your children have outgrown playing with certain toys, you have a new one and you can let go of an older model of the same item, or interests and hobbies have changed……. Take these items to thrift stores or call and see if they will pick up your donations.

Want them but don’t need them

This group of items are hard to let go of.  Try to let go of 2 or 3 items that have some sentimental value but you don’t need them and you don’t have space for them.  It takes time and practice to be able to let go of these things.  With time it will get easier and you will enjoy having less things are taking up space that you can use in a new way opening up new and exciting adventures in your life.

Here is a video of my adventure doing spring clearing.

A flood started the clearing process and then I just continued deciding what things were around my home that I didn’t need.

If you need information on where to donate and recycle items send me your email address and I will send you a 9 page resource document.

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

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Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Need more information to help you understand the many ways you can work with a Professional Organizer read this blog post.

https://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

 

 

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Checklist to get your home in tip-top shape in just 30 minutes.

A reader sent me this link to a great article on cleaning, Alyson Voss  a Freelance Writer – Lifestyle.  I hope you enjoy these tips on how to keep your house clean.

In the day-to-day hustle and bustle, keeping the house clean can seem about as likely as winning the lottery—but it doesn’t have to consume hours of your daily time. Aside from the occasional in-depth cleaning sessions, you can stay on top of daily dirt and grime in just 30 minutes a day (or less!). With just a little organization and pre-planning, you’ll breeze through basic cleaning tasks in no time.

Follow this checklist to get your home in tip-top shape in just 30 minutes.

Set the stage

  • Conquer clutter: Keep random objects out of your way by assigning each family member a “collection station” (use a large laundry basket or unused trash can) for corralling things that don’t have a home. Everyone is responsible for emptying their stations once they’re full.
  • Gather your weapons: Use a cleaning caddy to bring your main supplies from room to room as you clean. Stock it with Lysol Disinfectant Spray, disinfecting wipes, cleaning cloths, and any other necessities. If your home has multiple levels, create one full caddy for each.
  • Map out your route: Systematic patterns can shave serious time off your cleaning. One recommended method is to start each room at the top, to the left of the doorway, and move clockwise and down. Use a logical room-to-room path with no backtracking to save even more time.

Start your engines

  • Focus, grasshopper: When you’re ready to start speed-cleaning, focus on the task at hand by putting down the phone and turning off the television. If you can’t stand the silence or need motivation, tune into your favorite radio station or kick up your most energetic iPod playlist.
  • Skip the little things: Give yourself permission to ignore tedious, time-consuming tasks that don’t need to be performed daily. Extend tasks like dusting off knick-knacks, scouring spice racks, rearranging shelves, and wiping down window treatments to once a month.
  • Wipe away germs: Instead of breaking out the spray and scrubber for every surface, use Lysol disinfecting wipes to quickly clean frequently touched or trafficked surfaces that are already relatively clean. You’ll save time, and you can give these areas a proper weekly cleaning with Lysol Disinfectant Spray to maintain pristine conditions.
  • Banish the broom: If you vacuum carpets but sweep hard flooring, save time and energy by leaving the broom in the closet and vacuuming everything. It’s just as effective, and eliminates one bulky tool. Invest in a 50-foot extension cord, and you can vacuum room to room without unplugging and re-plugging.
  • Finish with a refreshing scent: As a final touch for each room, use an air freshener. Your home will look and smell amazing.

The more often you follow your speed-cleaning checklist, the easier and faster it will be. You’ll save hours of time, and the dirt, germs, and odours won’t have a fighting chance.

Need help getting your home  organized so it is easier to clean.  Contact Mind over Clutter to help simplify things to  make cleaning easier.

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

 

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Sage Home Organizing Advice from 1961. Could it possibly work in 2016?

1961

1961

I was given article by Janet Barclay of Organized Assistant that was from 1961 in the Toronto Daily Star.  It is advice to a new bride on how to keep the honeymoon going forever by keeping her home neat and tidy with organization and know how. It was a delight to read.

Here are some highlights

  1. “Because you are working there is little time for housekeeping chores so they must be done consistently.  If you  get in the habit of leaving things until later the apartment will soon be a mess an you’ll be frazzled and bad tempered.”
  2. “Enlist your husband.  With a working wife he will likely be only too glad to pitch in for a few minutes a day”
  3. “Plan a grocery list.  Bridegrooms are usually helpful if you can plan the shopping for Thursday or Friday night or during the day on Saturday.”

Forming habits and sharing responsibilities are good advise for then and now. 

The article continues by describing a way to stay organized.  We can learn a lot from this writer in 1961.

Have a daily cleaning schedule.

It helps to have habits so work gets done without having to put much thought or energy into it.  Making beds, tidying up dirty dishes, clean up messes as they happen.  But do you need to quickly dust , including pictures with a special cloth with the polish already in it, wipe off the stove, refrigerator and counter tops?

Silver had to be polished regularly to keep it looking clean and shiny

Silver had to be polished regularly to keep it looking clean and shiny

The next thing in the article talks about things to take care of every 2-3 days. 

If you have a list of things that need to be done once or twice a week it makes it easier to stay on top of things instead of spending a lot of time on the tasks later.   Do laundry, sweeping/mopping the floor, taking out the trash or recycling.  But do you need to polish several pieces of silver 2 to 3 times a week or clean the bathroom thoroughly?

Scheduling things weekly makes it easy to give others a chance to take responsibility for keeping the home organized.

Planning menus for the next week can make grocery shopping easy and more economical.  Anyone can make supper if the menu is planned and the food is available.  Carpet cleaning companies suggest vacuuming rugs once a week to extend the life of your carpets.  Perhaps doing your laundry is a once a week task.  Checking the refrigerator to see what food needs to be used before it goes bad will also save you money.  But do you have to mend the socks for the man of the house, get the dry cleaning ready, wax the kitchen floor, clean the oven including the racks or change the sheets?

To keep floors shiny they needed to be waxed and you couldn't walk on the floor until the wax was dry.

To keep floors shiny they needed to be waxed and you couldn’t walk on the floor until the wax was dry.

Think about the things that should be done twice a month.

For some people it is grocery shopping, changing the beds, cleaning the house, repairing things that are broken.  Make a list that suits you and keep up with your organizing. But do you need to clean the windows, clean out your appliances or clean out your coffee maker regularly?

What would be good to do once a month? 

Perhaps you would want to do more extensive cleaning in one room each month.  Cleaning walls, window coverings, windows , blankets or furnace filters  .  If you spread out the work over a year, you will have cleaned each room by the end of the year but  you will never have to spend a lot of time all at once.  No need for a spring or fall cleaning blitz that can cause people to procrastinate because the job seems so big and  overwhelming.  Some people like to do food preparations, browning meats, dicing and freezing vegetables and / or baking once a month to make food preparation on a daily basis easier.  You may decide to organize an area of your home each month.   Some of these monthly tasks that may take minutes,  some may take a couple of hours.  Plan what works for you. But do you need to oil the furniture  or take down and wash the fixture?

Furniture needed to be oiled to protected it from drying out and cracking.

Furniture needed to be oiled to protected it from drying out and cracking.

Lastly look at things that only need to be done twice a year. 

Perhaps they are seasonal tasks.  Put way or get out patio furniture, toys, car tires,bikes etc.  But do you need to wash rugs, clean Venetian blinds or take all the clothes out of your closet and give them a good cleaning and airing?

The interesting thing about this article written in 1961 is how much things have not changed.  A lot of things they suggested to do daily, weekly monthly or yearly have not changed. Doing a little each day, week, month or year makes it easier to stay organized.  Having the tasks scheduled makes it easier to avoid procrastination. Although we hardly ever use silver, we have self defrosting refrigerators and self cleaning appliances, we don’t do a lot of ironing, we have now added to our schedules, software and hardware maintenance, cleaning more than one vehicle, pools, lawns, etc.

Cleaning Schedule / Organizing Schedule

When my mom died my sister made a cleaning schedule for my dad.  It was similar to the ideas in this article.  It was based on what needs to be cleaned each week and then one additional thing to clean each week which changed each week, and then a thing to do each month with each month different.  By the end of the year the entire house, walls, drapes, cupboards, baseboards, appliances had been cleaned with only a little extra effort need once a month.

Some of you may sit down and make a list of things to do each day week, month, semi annually and annually.  For others make the lists as you go.  At the end of the year you will have good ideas of how to schedule cleaning and  maintenance tasks to have a life that runs  smoothly and leaves more time for fun, joy and happiness.

What things did your parents or grandparents do, that you still do, to keep your life and home running smoothly?

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

 

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Solve the Mystery of Laundry Tags

Kiersten Bush is my guest blogger this week.

Laundry is a chore, but there’s no way around it. There is, however, a better way to do laundry, one that will save your clothes, save your appliances, and save your energy. To do that, it’s necessary to get to know your clothes a little bit better by studying the tags.

Tags aren’t just a window into the fabric makeup of your clothing. Every tag has to have certain care information that tells you what temperature water, what wash cycle, and what dry time to care for your clothes. Those same tags also tell you whether or not laundry additives like bleach are appropriate, or whether you should skip self-wash and self-dry altogether and go straight to the dry cleaner. Use this infographic to learn more about the right way to do your laundry. How to read laundry tags

launder-like-a-boss.jpg (770×5128)

Thanks to Kiersten Bush of  http://ghergich.com for writing this article. You can contact her at
kiersten@ghergich.com

_________________________________________________________________

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. 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.

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Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air

Spring is in the air

Perhaps Spring Cleaning should be thought of as Winter Clean up.  To make your life easier start by sorting through the things you are going to store for next winter.  If they are:

  • broken, get rid of them
  • if they were not used donate them
  • if you have out grown their use, clothing or toys, donate them

Sometimes donation sites will not take winter items in the spring.  If you are finding it hard to donate your winter items, box them up and label it to donate next winter.  When you see those items next winter they will be ready to leave your house making your life easier.

Now that your space is empty and ready for spring and summer items apply the same rules:

  • if they are broken, get rid of them
  • if you didn’t use them last year donate them
  • if you have out grown their use, clothing or toys, donate them

Donate these items early in the season so donation sites can sell them when people are looking for these types of items.

Finally, you have the things you want to use this spring.  Store them close to where you use them for example,

  • gardening items can be stored in the garage, a shed or near the backdoor
  • patio items, dishes, candles, table cloths, napkins can be all stored together so it is easy to entertain
  • toys for playing with outside, chalk, bubbles, sand toys, trucks, bikes, scooters can be stored so it is easy for children to  get them and put them away without help. This makes cleaning up before they come inside quick and easy.

Make your life easy by keeping only the things you need and love and find the best spot to store them so you can get them out quickly and put them away easily.

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