Archive for decluttering

Organizing a student’s move to university or college

Organize the right amount of stuff to take.

Panic maybe starting to set in.  This is the time of year for back to school.  Some of you maybe moving a student to a school close to home, some may have a long drive to the new school and others may have to fly.  Whether you may be able to make multiple trips to your student’s school or if you have one chance to get it right,  Anne Wynter’s    How to Cut College Clutter  shares many tips in this lovely blog post about:

  1. Clothes
  2. Documents
  3. Mini Kits
  4. Sentimental Items
Having an over abundance of possessions in your dorm room or apartment can contribute to poor time management and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, Click To Tweet

Make your move a successful, low stress enjoyable event.

dorm room organizing

How much should I take?

Organize your employment

Once your student is settled at college they may need a job.  Finding suitable work maybe easier than you think.  This article,  Ways to make money in college from Aaron Whitman of Careful Cents has many employment opportunities to suit any timetable.  Whether your student chooses to work a little or a lot any income helps to reduce their  overall debt that they might incur at the end of their education. Plan ahead with your finances. In addition balancing work and school also teaches time management skills.

If you need help packing up your student for their move to university contact Mind over Cluttter. julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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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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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Is Marie Kondo’s question, “does it spark joy”, the right question for you?

Most of us keep more than we will ever need.  This costs valuable storage space, makes retrieval of the items we actually need more difficult and adds to the stress of daily living.  The famous Japanese organizer Marie Kondo tells you to ask if the object sparks joy for you.  If it does keep it, if not donate it.  Sometimes that question doesn’t solve the dilemma if you should keep something or donate it.  The following questions might be more helpful when you ‘re making those decisions.

For Paper:

  • Are there any tax or legal reasons for keeping this?
  • Can I easily get a copy elsewhere?
  • Does someone else have this information?
    .
  • Can I identify a situation in which I would ever refer to this information?
  • Is it still relevant to my life?
  • What are the implications if I didn’t have this?
  • Shred papers that contain personal information.

For belongings:

  • Is it out of style, the wrong size or colour or mismatched?
  • Does it still work?  Do I have all the parts?
  • When was the last time I used this item and when would I need to  use it in the foreseeable future?
  • If  it is something I use rarely, could I borrow one from someone else?
  • Do I use it often enough to make it worth  the cost to store it?
  • Do I have more than one? Do I need more than one?
  • Has the collection outgrown the space or the container originally allocated to storing it?  Has the collector outgrown the collection?
  • Is it the best of the best?

Swedish Death Cleaning

A third way to decide what to keep and what to donate is conveyed in the Swedish Death Cleaning method.  Ask yourself:

Give yourself permission to let go of things. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake cause you to keep things you don’t need, love or use.

Tell us how you decide what to keep and what to let go

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 you get organized

10 Quick Tips to you get organized

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

1. Set aside a specific time and stick to your plan.  Schedule blocks of time  from 15 minutes to two hours until the project is done.

2. Set the mood to keep your spirits up.

3. Take care of your body by eating well and drinking and drinking lots of water.

4. Start small, one area at a time, “inch by inch things are a cinch”

5. Put items in their proper place, like with like.

6. Stay focused, work in one area at a times and don’t leave the room.

7. Open mail daily.

8. File papers weekly.

9. Put new things away the day you receive them.

10. Purchase things only if you know what you will use it for and where you are going to put it.

Schedule blocks of time from 15 minutes to two hours until your organizing project is done. Click To Tweet

 

Need some more tips download the booklet Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms ( top right corner)and join my newsletter list. 

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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Organizing a person with hoarding disorder.

What are the causes of hoarding disorder?

Pile of misc items stored in an unorganized fashion in a room

 

Here is a good article on hoarding.  Why do people like to live with so much stuff?  There is no one easy answer.  Some people feel it is part of a mental wellness issue and hoarding has been added to to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Others feel it is a learned trait because they see it in families.  Since people notice hoarding running in families they think it is a genetic trait.    A person with hoarding disorder once said to me, when the place was decluttered,”it feels like all my friends are gone.” Applying feeling of love and security to  inanimate objects may also account for keeping stuff.

What is hoarding disorder?

Hoarding is not about being messy. Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items regardless of the actual value of the items. Rooms and spaces become so cluttered that they cannot be used of their intended purpose.  A person with a hoarding disorder won’t be able to sit at their table to eat, might not be able to sleep in their, may not be able to sit on their couch etc because they are filled with stuff.  Hoarding is a very complex issue. Seek out information and help to guide you through the process of letting go of things.

Hoarding is not about being messy. Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them Click To Tweet

Where can I find some information?

You can download a Clutter Hoarding Scale from the Institute of Challenging Disorganization site (ICD).  This association has many resources that the public can access.  Go to https://www.challengingdisorganization.org/  Here is another  link to the article http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/conditions/hoarding-living-with-the-overwhelming-need-for-stuff/article4395448

If you find yourself in this situation please contact me at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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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4 Organizing tips for getting rid of piles of paper

A lovely colleague sent me this first tip.  Marie Mushing runs a networking group called People in Connection

1.Make the area a showcase

See what working with a professional organizer can do for you? Professional Organizers rub out junk. Where there was once chaos and huge piles of paper, is now a showcase. Thank you Julie! Replace the junk pile with something pretty as I did, then you won’t want to pile junk on that again. Great motivation to keep the filing done!
Keep your filing cabinets free of paper?

2.Prevent drop zones from forming

If you have an empty flat surface it sometimes  calls to people, “to fill me with stuff.” To prevent that area from becoming cluttered put a large object or two in that spot.  It will make the area feel full and then you won’t drop things there.  With only 2 larger objects, it is easy to pick them up and dust and clean.  If you use a number of smaller items it may make the area harder to clean.

3.Designate a paper collection spot

Assign a place to put papers that need to be read, filed, signed etc.  Place  a tray, lovely baskets, eye catching red container etc in a convenient location. Why red?  Red is a high energy colour, it increases your heartrate, your eye is drawn to red items.  Buy using a red basket it can help to  make dealing with paperwork a high priority activity.  Keeping paperwork consolidated in one spot makes it easier to find and work with.  When paper is all over the office or house it becomes visual clutter, causing anxiety, the release of cortisol and you feel stress.  Cut the visual clutter, collect the paper in one spot, and complete the tasks.

4.Avoid the L word – later

Piles of paper will continue to build up if you leave them for later.  Later will never come.  Schedule time to deal with paperwork: schedule time to read, file, and reply to paperwork that generates more work.  Schedule these activities according to your level of energy at different times of the day.  Scheduling reading after lunch at a low energy time of the day may not be productive but scheduling file after lunch maybe perfect because it gets you up and activity. Scheduling time at the beginning of each day to concentrate on work generated by email, letters, documents might work well when you are able to focus on single tasks.  Remember not to multi-task.

Schedule time for paperwork

If you’re interested in learning how colour can affect your productivity, this guide is free and you can find it here .

What tricks do you use to help you complete paperwork?

Related articles The truth about multitasking 

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 distracting 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 – Join my Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

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

 

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5 tips for digital hoarders

Let go of the anxiety over missing information 

Are you a digital hoarder?

Some people feel very anxious about missing some important news or information.  They will save all kinds of article, websites, reviews, newspapers etc.  With digitizing information becoming so quick and easy now, many people are putting everything into their laptops, Dropbox, cloud storage.    Before you continue to save everything sort through it and keep what you need and love so you will be able to find it again on your device.  If you have 11000 photos will you be able to share the one you want to find without becoming overwhelmed and frustrated? If you keep everything you will not be able to locate the information you want.  Once again you will feel anxious. It started will worrying about missing out on information and it ends up with having so much information it is useless.  The anxiety is still there.

Read it and delete it

It is ok to forget things, in the past you only remembered a few things that were important to you.  Most things were forgotten.

File it so you can find it. 

Make folders, files or date tabs so you can find things that you store.  Delete duplicate and out of focus photos and file the best photos with a name on the picture.  Use meaningful file names to help you set limits on types of material you will store.  Avoid file names like, to read, someday,  when I have time, next month.

When it becomes obsolete delete it.

Your interests change, jobs change, where you live changes and the information you have collected is no longer relevant or  of interest to you.  You can search your files to find that type of information  but that may take too much time, when you come across files that no longer interest to you, delete them.  It is ok.  You are changing and growing and you are moving away from past interests.  There are a lot more interesting things in your current life,  you can let go of the 10 year old information holding you in the past and taking up your time.  Look to present and keep moving forward.

Avoid temptation to save 

Melinda Beck  writes in the Wall Street Journal, “Nobody knows how many Americans have digital-hoarding issues … but the proliferation of devices, the explosion of information and the abundance of cheap storage have made it all too tempting for some people to amass emails, text messages, Word documents, Web pages, digital photos, computer games, music files, movies, home videos and entire TV seasons than they can ever use or keep track of.”

Click here to read the article Are you a Secret Digital Hoarder?

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

 Twitter – Facebook – Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

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

 

 

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Organize your clutter free gift giving list

There are many considerations when trying to purchase the perfect present. Sometimes the person has everything.  Some people may feel that they have enough stuff and they don’t want to have to decide how to store more items. Some people feel that they need to keep everything they are given whether they need it or like it or can use it. They are afraid of hurting the giver’s feelings.  It may feel like an impossible mission.  Consider the idea of a gift that self destructs

Give tickets to an event

Sporting, theatre, art gallery exhibit, musical event.  Give them tickets so it won’t be a gift card that they file or lose.  Most performances will allow tickets to be exchanged for a different date. Try giving tickets to a Toronto Rock Lacrosse game.  It is an experience, reasonably prices and you get to see the Air Canada Center. You can support your local community by purchasing tickets to a little theatre production, hockey tickets.  Give them the gift of entertainment.

Rent a sports venue

It can be an hour of ice time, indoor soccer, indoor tennis and indoor golf.  This type of gift usually gets people together to socialize and be active.  It is a gift of physical and emotional health.

Lessons

You can give lessons to a person.  Art lessons, wine tasting, golfing, scuba diving, music, craft, beading, the ideas are limitless.  It can be one lesson or a group of lessons. Give the gift of a new experience.

Food

Give a gift of a meal, prepared by you for them on a mutually agreed date.  You may want to give them a batch of muffins every month or whatever their favourite food is.  People enjoy receiving homemade Christmas cookies or a fruit plate.  You can go on line and search COOKIES in a Jar.  The recipient of the cookie mix adds water or milk and bakes the cookies. Give the gift of sharing your time with others.

A service

Someone may enjoy being relieved of performing a tedious job.  Arrange for a cleaning service, professional organizer, snow removal, lawn care.  Give them the gift of time for themselves.

Professional Organizing Services

Charities

There are many charities that can benefits from donations.  Select a charity and make a donation in the name of the person.    Look at one aspect of the person’s life and try to find a charity that represents their interests. Give them the gift of generosity.

Give the gift of Fun

One year a group of us rented a hot tub for a week and shared the use of it. Another year I bought rocket kits for everyone, we built the kits and shot off the rockets

Here are a few gifts that are clutter free, personal and thoughtful but the ideas are endless.

 Join my  Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

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

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Storage Solutions

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Storage Solutions

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

Over the Door Hanging Products

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

Magnetic Products

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

Unused / Hidden Spaces

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

Furniture with Storage

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

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

Join my Facebook Group Organizing Mind and Spaces

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

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Keep Clutter on the Run, Get Organized

Three Steps to Organizing

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

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

Follow Two Routines

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

Five Habits to Keep Clutter on the Run

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

Let me know your tricks to help you stay organized.

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

 

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On-line Lifestyle Organizing Coaching leading professionals From Clutter to Freedom
Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area