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New Years resolution; the best time to declutter

Every year you set yourself resolutions, some you keep some you might not but if there is one resolution that should be attainable for everyone is the January de-clutter. In fact, there really is no better time to have a sort through, organize, and de-clutter than post-Christmas holidays. You and your family have no doubt accumulated an awful lot of new stuff and you need to make room for it. Don’t let your new belongings sit on top of the old ones, use this time to donate the stuff you no longer use or need and make room for your appreciately received new goodies. 

a women with a laptop sitting on the floor among many boxes

Photo credit Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

How to start your New Year declutter

To successfully undertake a declutter you need to be organized with a plan and agenda, and you need to stick to it. Here are some ways to help you organize your decluttering.

  1. List your areas for decluttering; do not just wander aimlessly around your house opening random cupboard doors looking for inspiration. List where you want to declutter and start with the easiest area first or the area that bothers you the most.  
  2. Have a deadline; decide on a time that you want each area decluttered by and give yourself sufficient time to do the work. It could be an hour, 10 minutes a day, or a full afternoon dedicated to one space. Whatever works for you.  
  3. Develop a system; when it comes to going through all of your stuff put in place a system of what you are going to do with your items. A good place to start is by having four stations, donate/recycle, sell, trash, keep. Everything should go into one of these piles but your keep pile should be dramatically reduced. Remember if you haven’t used it in a year – donate it. 
  4. Make sure everything has a place; if you are keeping it make sure it has a place to live and it stays there without causing mess or clutter. If it doesn’t have a place then make a place that is easily accessible and close to where you use it or don’t keep it. 

Benefits of decluttering

If you still are not tempted to declutter, consider some of these benefits to help persuade you.

  1. Reduce stress and anxiety. Mess, clutter, and chaos in your home can have a negative impact on your stress and comfort levels. It can cause a sensory overload, you might feel embarrassed or stressed at the prospect of not knowing where things are.  
  2. Easier to clean and tidy. With so much less stuff in the way, it will be easier to keep your home in order and keep things clean and tidy, which will inevitably make life easier when hosting and entertaining. 
  3. Positive impact on selling your home. Having a clean, tidy,  decluttered home will make selling your home easier. If listing your home is something you are considering doing a declutter is essential as all top realtors such as will conclude. 
  4. Help to remove allergens. Dust, pet hair, and pollen can gather in all kinds of places and there is no better place than on tops of items sitting around taking up space and gathering dust. Getting rid of clutter should help to improve the airflow of your home and remove gathering dust and allergens.

If you need help with decluttering and organizing your home, purchase my online course, Create an organized home. 

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

Contact her at

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

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Organizing your storage unit for frequent access

This week my guest blogger is Sophia Perry from Arizona Moving Professionals

There comes a point when any household or a business needs additional storage space. Many people use it during a move or for decluttering and organizing purposes. While storage units are often a necessity when running a business, in recent times, they are becoming increasingly popular for people who recognize the importance of having a tidy living space. Hoarding items can lead to feeling snowed under and consequently anxious and frustrated. Hence, storage units are a practical solution. However, if you intend to use storage and free up some work or living space, be aware that, without a mindful approach, you’re risking turning your unit into the ‘land of lost and found’. Therefore, you need a good strategy for organizing your storage unit for frequent access to optimize the experience of your stressless, clutter-free lifestyle.

It starts with setting your priorities

Storage units are a multifaceted solution for storing a variety of items. Apart from helping with organizing a business inventory or a loved one’s belongings and heirlooms, people also use storage units to keep their cars and vehicles during the off-season, such as boats or motorcycles. If you’re moving, planning a home remodelling, or have a knack for interior design and decorating, a storage space is a guaranteed way to simplify your life. First and foremost, it’s important to consider the intent and purpose of the unit you’re using or planning to use. Click To Tweet

Create a mindful picture, and even better, an inventory list, of what type of items you plan to store. This will help you adopt a more organized approach towards your storage solution from the get-go. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself piling up unnecessary odds and ends and just spreading the enchanted hoarding circle outside your home or office. A storage unit is a fantastic way to declutter and harmonize your space or offset the stress of a move, as long as you prioritize keeping your items organized and easily accessible.

To organize your storage unit with success, create a master inventory list and set priorities regarding the importance of your items.

A productivity planner next to a keyboard


Plan the layout of the unit

The idea of vast space available to be used for storing your items might be tempting. However, you’ll need to consider what goes where to ensure you’re organizing your storage unit for untroubled access to your items. With this approach, you might realize that you have a lot of clutter to let go of and will surely provide you with a perspective on your priorities. All it takes is some pragmatic consideration of how quickly and how often you will need something.

Items that you use less frequently, or hardly ever, should go at the back of the storage. For a smooth transition, let movers load these last in the truck, as they will be unloaded first and consequently dropped off at the back of the storage unit. This is a good chance to give these items a second thought. Try to determine why you are keeping them and what do you need them for. Not only will this help you to arrange your unit for efficient access, but it will also give you a clear picture of the scope of your possessions.

Have a practical idea about the layout of your storage unit to ensure quick and easy access to your items.

A man’s hands, papers, mobile phones, markers, and a PC monitor


Decluttering a storage unit

If you’ve been using a storage unit for a while, you know how fast and easy it fills up. However, with an effective decluttering and organizing method, you can have it sorted for smooth access to your storage unit. Without a doubt, decluttering is the toughest task, but it’s also rewarding in so many ways. A functionally organized, clutter-free storage area will enable you to find anything you need with ease, and you’ll save time and enjoy peace of mind. You can ask friends to lend you a helping hand or hire a professional junk removal company. Depending on the size of your storage unit inventory, you should plan accordingly on how much time you will need to get the job done. You can book a full day in your calendar to dedicate to decluttering your unit. Challenge yourself, commit and stay on task. The reward is a feeling of ease and relief once you see it through, and ultimately, effortless access to your needed items.

Decluttering a depot is a daunting task, so asking friends or hiring professional services can be of great help.

A woman in a uniform with cleaning supplies


Find creative ways to sort out items

Although decluttering can be a challenging task, with a good plan and a mindful approach, everything is achievable. Give yourself a little pep talk on the importance of organizing your space for some healthy motivation. Since the purpose of a storage unit is to keep your items, their safety and easy access to them can impact your mood. Hoarding or not even knowing what things you possess can lead you to feel overburdened. Use your master inventory list to determine what is relevant for keeping and what’s worth parting from. Divide your excess items into groups, and decide what to toss, donate or sell. For a smooth and efficient decluttering project, take out the items you intend to dispose of first. Subsequently, it’ll be much easier to deal with things you plan to sell or donate. With that being done, you’re one step away from fruitfully organizing your storage unit for frequent access.

Divide your items into categories to efficiently declutter and organize your storage unit.

Boxes stacked on shelves in a storage unit


A neatly organized storage unit

If you run a business, frequent access to your storage unit is a given. As a matter of fact, even if you use it to store items other than office inventory, an organized storage space will help you feel more in control of your life. Once you’ve carried out the decluttering project, you may have noticed how relaxed you feel. With no junk to obstruct your way, you’ll be able to organize your storage unit neatly and have everything you need on hand, without having to waste precious time and energy searching through the mounds. In your recently created clean storage space, stack and group your boxes from the least needed at the back to the ones you need more frequently accessed toward the unit’s front entrance. Allow some space in between rows of boxes to create aisles for easy navigation. Last but not least, label the boxes according to their contents, and make sure the tags are facing outward and are easy to read. This is the most efficient method for organizing your storage unit for frequent access, which will make the chaotic mess and clutter, and the anxiety that comes along with it, a thing of the past.

Share your tips for keeping a storage unit organized. 

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

Contact her at

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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Packing for college:What’s necessary and what’s not

Today’s post is by Jackie Heath of Allied Van Lines. Thanks for sharing your expertise with my readers.

Moving someone off to college? Here’s a quick list of what’s necessary, and what really isn’t.

college student deskYour first impulse when packing up and heading out to college will probably be to include all those creature comforts you’re sure you can’t do without. Sure, you’ve heard space will be limited, but you still need clothes to wear and books to read, right?

Not necessarily. If you’re like most new college students, chances are, there’s quite a bit you can do without.

What to Pack for College

Although every college is different (and your packing list will vary depending on whether you’ll be staying in a dorm room or apartment), almost everyone considers these items a necessity:

> Mattress/bed (assuming one is not provided)
>  Sheets and bedding for the bed
>  Pillows
>  Computer
>  Power strip/cords
>  Lamp
>  Alarm Clock
>  Garbage Can
>  Showering accessories (including towels)
>  Daily toiletries
>  Weather-specific clothing (note the weather-specific designation; for many students, it’s best to keep a closet rotation that allows you to store your seasonal items at home when not in use)
>  Hangers
>  Wall décor
>  Music/headphones
>  Laundry basket or bag
>  First-aid kit

Of course, not all of these items have to be purchased in advance and put onto the moving truck. If space is limited, you may want to make a list of items to bring with you from home and a separate list of items you can buy once you arrive. A last-minute trip to the drugstore can usually provide you with everything you need to get settled in.

What Not to Pack for College

More important that what to pack for college is what not to pack. These items tend to be bulky, heavy, or not relevant—which means that not only will they crowd your room, but you’ll pay more for the moving van, as well.

>  Air conditioner
>  Printer (the campus should have plenty)
>  Cooking appliances (with the possible exception of a microwave and/or mini fridge)
>  Stuffed animals
>  High value items, including jewelry
>  Books (with the exception of a few favorites and/or a well-stocked e-reader)
>  Furniture other than a bed and desk chair
>  Off-season sporting equipment (like skis during summer or a bicycle in winter)
>  Bookcases and shelves
>  Weight-lifting equipment

We also recommend not bringing things like school supplies, as you may not be sure what you need until you arrive and attend a few classes first.

Share in the comments what  you packed for college that was completely useless? 

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

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