Latest Blog Posts

How to organize to create joy in your home.

By Julie Stobbe / January 30, 2024 /

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 can 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 you 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 have more joy and help reduce clutter?

A “happiness shrine” or “pride shrine” in a home is a shelf/wall space/corner used to display items that serve no utilitarian purpose but to make you feel 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.  People need to decide which things are significant to them by having a designated, limited, personal space for sentimental items. 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’s 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, and 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 every day 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 it to their library while it 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, and 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 landfills, by sharing your wealth to support people and projects locally or globally, and by being an example for others to follow.  Joy comes in many forms.

Car trunk full of bags of things to donate

Let me know in the comments how you bring joy into your home.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually over Zoom. 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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Virtual Organizing – who, why, where, what

By Julie Stobbe / January 23, 2024 /

Reading time – 5 minutes

Do you have a home or office that is creating anxiety and a feeling of stress and overwhelm? You know you want to change the situation. With a little knowledge, help and support you could start to feel happy in your home and organized in your office.  I have been offering virtual organizing sessions for 10 years, this may be the year for you to try it.

a nice pile of paper with a timer and coffee mug sitting on it.

Who would use virtual organizing services?

For clients who:

  • wish to do the “hands-on “organizing themselves
  • are uncertain about someone coming into their home,
  • want a cost-effective way to get organized
  • need to manage their organizing appointments to fit a complex schedule
  • need support to stay focused on the project
  • need accountability to help them reach their goals

Why would I offer this service?

Virtual organizing allows me to:

  • to provide support to my clients through prearranged online meetings
  • have clients all around the world
  • continue to work with clients who moved away
  • do organizing while coaching, teaching, supporting and mentoring clients

What would a virtual organizing session look like

There are probably as many ways to do virtual organizing as there are organizers.  Here are my 4  formats.

A series of mini sessions. 

This format starts with a one-hour session to establish the goals the clients want to achieve and is followed up with a series of 30-minute mini sessions to set steps to follow to complete the job.

a sign with blue letters spelling feedback

Be there with you

This format is for clients who don’t like to work alone.  I am with you on my computer helping you to:

  • know what to do next,
  • make decisions about what to keep and what to donate and
  • set up organizing systems to store your stuff.

picture of a lady in front of her computer

Complete Plan

This format is for the client who wants to work by themselves on their schedule. After you contact me,  I set up a 1-2 hour Zoom call and you show me the room you want to get organized. I develop a  customized organizing plan that you implement. If you have questions we can set up a support call to:

  • solve problems,
  • clarify the next step,
  • receive storage suggestions.
  • receive donation and recycling information
  • check in with you while you are working

a pad of paper with the title Action Plan

Develop Routines

A lot of organizing and maintaining a home, office or room is establishing routines and systems.  We work together to set up step-by-step systems.

These are the A, B, C, D’s of virtual organizing

For more detailed information check  Virtual Organizing Services on my website 

Virtual organizing allows an organizer to support your organizing projects by providing planning, coaching and mentoring. Click To Tweet

To book a complimentary 30 minute virtual assessment use this link   or contact me directly at julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of learning how you think and feel about your items to help you to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and 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 julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

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5 Tips for organizing a H.A.P.P.Y. holiday

By Julie Stobbe / December 12, 2023 /

Reading time – 3 minutes

Here are some tips for holiday planning to make a H A P P Y season.

Holiday Decorating

You may be feeling overwhelmed or disorganized by the number of items on display in your house.  Try putting the non-seasonal items away to reduce the number of items on display.

Think about decorating with fewer items but larger size items.  This means there are fewer items to pack and unpack which will reduce the amount of time you need to prepare your home.Red poinsetta in a red pot

Take advantage of using linens to cover tables or end tables and seasonal pillowcases to cover throw cushions to decorate couches.  They may be less bulky to store and cover a larger area making your home seem completely decorated while taking less time to get the job done.

Use items that self-destruct so you don’t need to pack them away, flowers, paper towels, and tissue boxes all give your house a festival spirit but don’t need to be packed away and stored.

When you go through your decorations part with the ones you no longer need early in the month so thrift stores have an opportunity to sell them and so they don’t need to store them until next year.  Some stores don’t take holiday décor in January and then you will be stuck storing them for another year.

What tips do you have for a H.A.P.P.Y holiday season? Click To Tweet

 Accept Help

Acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed and when people offer to do things say yes.  We all love to help people so let people feel good about themselves by allowing them to help you.

Parties may be larger again this year. It is a good time to try a new way of doing things.  Allow people to help clean up dishes on their way out the door.  Be ready for it.  Have a place to put cutlery to soak.  Have a container for compost.  Put glasses or coffee mugs directly into the dishwasher.

You may need to accept help with setting up a hybrid party.  Put one of those “youngsters” in charge.

Planning is important

Use a to-do list. Divide your to-do list into to pick up, to e-mail, to call, to buy then you can plan your day and route to get things done and not be driving back and forth all over town.  The trick here is to look at the list and use it not just make it.

Keep your plans from year to year, record your menu, grocery list quantities and timelines.  Each year you can reuse, revise and update the plan.  This year’s plan may need a lot of updating from the previous years.

 People and relationships are the reason for the season

Some people like to send cards in December.  I keep my cards and addresses and stamps together.  When I am going somewhere where I will be waiting I pick up the supplies and take them along and write my cards.  I have done it in many places including my van.   I usually leave replies to someone who has sent me a long letter until January.

Use your spare moments to write cards

You may want to send e-cards.  Jacquie Lawson is the site I use.   If you want to automate the card-sending operation there is a company called Send Out Cards.  You can attach a gift to the card.

Gift-giving may be an area where you are developing a system. Have you thought about Clutter-free gift giving?

Consider the idea of a gift that self-destructs.  See my post on Clutter Free Gift Giving .

Yes you can 

Being organized is more about an attitude than how something looks.  It is not about having the perfect home, party or gift. It is doing the best you can with the time and resources that you have. The only way to get better at organizing is to practice. It is a skill that can be learned and with practice, it becomes easier and easier.  This year’s challenge may be technology.  Ask for help and practice ahead of time.  You might want to play Yahtzee at your gathering.  Try using these 2 sites.

Score sheet http://www.playonlinedicegames.com/scoresheet/yahtzee

Dice roller https://www.elversonpuzzle.com/yahtzee-dice-roller.html

 

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, 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 teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and 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 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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What is the most stressful part of organizing the holiday season for you?

By Julie Stobbe / November 7, 2023 /

From now until January there are many celebrations. During the holiday season expectations are raised.  The food needs to be perfect, the gift needs to be thoughtfully purchased, the house needs to be tastefully decorated, and everyone needs to be happy all the time.  Record your expectations for the season.  Everything you can think of.  Look through your list and decide on a plan that makes each expectation manageable for you.  If your expectations align with practicality, this holiday will be less stressful and more fun.

Planning Food

Could you:

Make a simple Holiday meal.

Make a simple Holiday meal.

  1. Cook ahead of time and freeze the food
  2. Plan a potluck with everyone contributing
  3. Buy your holiday baking
  4. Simplify your menu, prepare fewer items

 

 

Gift Giving

Gift Giving 

Could you:

  1. Reduce the number of people you buy for
  2. Draw names so everyone gets one gift
  3. Set a price limit on the value of the gift
  4. Plan an experience instead of buying a gift: go to a play, go out for dinner, and go to a movie

 

 

If your expectations align with practicality, holidays will be less stressful and more fun. Click To Tweet

Decorating

Could you:

Plant a bulb and watch it grow

Use flowers to decorate.

 

  1.   Put out fewer items
  2.   Use more oversized items to make the space look decorated instead of using  lots of small items
  3.   Decorate with flowers; you don’t have to pack them away when the season is over

 

 

 

Be Happy

 

Be Happy

Could you:

Spend time together doing things you enjoy

Spend time together doing things you enjoy

  1. Plan your schedule so you don’t get over tired
  2. Plan downtime so each member of the group can spend time alone
  3. Plan things you like to do, not have to do
  4. Plan to exercise and get fresh air

 

Can you learn to ask for help and accept help?

Can you learn to ask for help and accept help? 

Virtual organizing allows me to support your organizing projects by providing planning, coaching and mentoring while both remaining safely at home Book a 30-minute complimentary virtual organizing assessment. https://mindoverclutter.as.me/virtualorganizingassessment

 

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

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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How organize an apartment when you’re running out of room.

By Julie Stobbe / August 31, 2023 /

Reading time – 10 minutes

Living in a small apartment has many challenges.  The biggest is the lack of space. Many people wind up in homes that simply aren’t large enough to house all their possessions.

Fortunately, it turns out that there are numerous strategies you can use to increase the amount of space you have available. In this post, you’ll find all sorts of ways to expand the space available to you, even if you live in a studio (or something even smaller)

Studio apartment with a galley kitchen, small table with 4 stools and a couch that becomes a bed.

Use Outdoor Space

If your apartment has any outdoor space, such as a balcony or shared shed, then use it. The more outdoor equipment you can keep outside, the less it will clutter up your home. You can purchase water tight chests to protect your items from damage and keep them safe.

You’ll notice that outdoor items and tools are often the bulkiest possessions you own. While you can stuff plenty of clothes into a drawer, rigid toolboxes, and bicycles are hard to keep out of the way. 

Use Multi-Functional Furniture

Another tip is to use multifunctional furniture. Doubling up saves space and reduces the need for duplication. Many pieces of furniture can be used to store your stuff,  coffee tables that lift up with storage below, use a cabinet instead of a table or bench a footstool where the top lifts off to provide storage.  If you have a two-bedroom apartment, get a sofa bed. You can use it as seating until guests come over, at which point you can transform it into a bed. 

and orange box with a lid

Add More Vertical Storage

You could also try adding more vertical storage to your apartment to increase the space you have available. Adding more vertical storage space is pretty easy. We recommend concentrating it in one room, like the bedroom, allowing you to declutter other parts of your space. When possible have the bookcases, cupboards or shelves the same colour as the wall.  When they blend into the wall the room looks larger since you don’t notice the furniture.  If they are a contrasting colour to your walls you notice the large pieces of furniture and the room looks smaller.   Focus on providing additional vertical storage in less noticeable places like above doors or adding an extra shelf in a closet.  There are many over the door organizing gadgets that provide storage on the back of doors. 

Leverage Out-Of-Home Storage Wisely

Even with the best efforts in the world, you sometimes still run out of space in an apartment, especially if you own sizable possessions, like a grand piano.  The most cost effective expense might be renting a storage unit.  Having a small apartment with a lower rent and a self self storage unit may meet your budget better than paying more for a larger apartment. Units provide space for your belongings, enabling you to free up room in your house to easily access the things you use regularly.  Decide what is important to keep and store and donate the rest.  You want to rent the smallest unit possible. Organize it so you can easily access your stuff.

A storage unit with shelves for boxes

Organize Your Small Kitchen

 Invest your time in organizing your small kitchen. These kitchens can be challenging to manage and significantly easier to take care of and use when you adopt the proper techniques. 

For example:

  • Use shelf risers and hooks to increase storage options
  • Consider placing magnetic racks on the walls or under the cabinets
  • Remove any unnecessary appliances from the countertops and store them in the cupboards
  • Use foldable and stackable kitchenware

Many cookware brands now offer two-piece sets that meet 99% of your cooking needs.  Reducing your cookware can free up space for other items you might want to use more often. If you have some appliances you use seasonally, barbecue, crockpot, dehydrator, deep fryer put them in less accessible places and make room for the items you use most in that season.  As seasons change rearrange the storage of your small appliances. 

If you have space put in a small island to have more counter space and storage space.  Buy one that you can sit around and use instead of a table.  If it has wheels even better, so you can move it around as needed.

Add Curtain Dividers

You might also consider adding curtain dividers to your space to make it more flexible. Having the ability to create new rooms is a great way to compensate for a lack of space and make your apartment more flexible. There are styles you can mount on the ceiling and roll down so that when you are not using it you don’t see it. You can mount a rod and hang the curtain as needed. The curtain may double as a bedspread so you don’t need to find a place to store it. 

For instance, you invite guests over but don’t have a spare bedroom for them. Adding curtain dividers to the living area is an excellent way to provide them with the privacy they want. 

Studio apartment with a bedroom separated by a curtain, a table against the back of the couch and a wall of kitchen cabinets

Be More Minimalist

You can also try living a more minimalist lifestyle if the above options don’t appeal to you. Reducing the number of possessions you own can be an excellent way to free up space and enjoy your living conditions more. 

Being minimalist doesn’t necessarily mean you need to adopt a Spartan approach or buy cheap items for the home. Instead, it means investing in quality belongings you will use regularly, and reducing anything that doesn’t fit into your routine or priorities. 

As you’re deciding what you can live without you may want to store it somewhere else. As you start to enjoy having less to take care of, organize and clean you can start to donate items.  Living well in the space you have is the best way to enjoy your life. 

Here are some of the ways you can get more space in your apartment with ease.

Share in the comments your favourite way to make more storage space. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. 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 teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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Towards a clutter free bedroom

By Julie Stobbe / July 11, 2023 /

A bedroom with a queen size bed and 2 night table and a cityscape picture over the bed.

The benefits of having a bedroom free of clutter are obvious to see. It is easier to move in the room without tripping on items left on the floor.  You can find things on your night table without bumping other items over. Have you thought about how a  clutter free bedroom might make you feel?  You will feel as though you have a clearer mind when you are in that room, and that might help you unwind and sleep more effectively.  When it is less cluttered, you might enjoy being there more and it can become a sacred place. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to gain a clutter-free bedroom, so let’s take a look at four steps you might not have thought of as a way towards achieving that.

Match The Bed To The Room

Have you seen a bedroom with a bed and furniture that take up all the space so that it is difficult to move around the room?  Did you ever think the cluttered feeling could be caused by the size of your bed? Try to match the bed to the room size.  A less crowded room is easier to keep clean and organized. When you have a huge bed, one problem is that you might struggle to feel relaxed in that room with no place to move.  You might need to visit a mattress store in your area to find better options for your space. Visually your room will look bigger, less crowded and more inviting. You will feel less anxious entering the room and have less stress. Practically it will be easier to get things out, put them away and make your bed every day. 

Store Items Under The Bed

This is a simple thing you can do which will make your bedroom less cluttered and visibly cleaner. Storing items under the bed is something that is not always possible – for instance, if you have a divan base that almost touches the floor. Captain’s beds are built with drawers under the bed for storage.   Some beds have a base that is hinged to create a storage area in the bed frame.  You can create storage under your bed by using bed risers to lift the bed up.  When there is space under the bed,  make use of it. It’s amazing how this space can be used so you have more room in your closets or dressers. 

Ikea bed with a mattress that lifts to have a storage space.

Minimize Wall Decorations

It can be tempting to go all out and try to decorate your bedroom in a way that is beautiful.  You might find it quite beneficial to not go overboard here. In fact, you’ll find that keeping wall decorations to a minimum will lead to a space that has less visual clutter and a much clearer appearance.   Put items on the wall that have a calming effect so it is easier to relax and clear your mind as you get ready to sleep. 

Store Things Elsewhere

Finally, there is something to be said about not letting the bedroom become a general dumping ground for random items around the home.  It is one of the most important rooms in the home and one that you need to care for and respect. It is a space where you rejuvenate your mind and regenerate your body for the next day.  It is easy at the end of a tiring day to bring things into the bedroom, put them down and say you’ll put them away tomorrow.  Take the extra minute and put them away so you don’t have a constant reminder of an unfinished task when you are trying to go to sleep.   Don’t end up with lots of random items cluttering up your restful space. 

Usually, I talk about the process of decluttering a room to have less unwanted stuff.  These 4 steps approach making a bedroom clutter-free in a different way, through the thoughtful selection of furniture, decoration and storage.  They also help to create a room with less visual clutter and mental clutter.

In the comments share how you make your bedroom clutter-free. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. 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 teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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Before hiring a moving company in St Catharines & the Niagara Region declutter and then organize with Julie Stobbe at Mind over Clutter

By Julie Stobbe / January 3, 2023 /

This article was first published by JR Moving Services 

Just because something brought you joy in the past doesn’t mean you should carry it forever. The possessions you keep should represent the person you are trying to become, not the person you were.  Keep this in mind when you start your decluttering journey. As you start to let go of things it will become easier and easier.  Here are steps to help you on your path to finding your treasures.

Planning the space 

Decide what the goal is for the room.  Is it to have a:

  • Beautiful compact space
  • Functional workshop
  • Sense of freedom and control
  • the Joy of financially exchanging stuff for new experiences and pleasures.
  • Clear out a parent’s home
  • Make things easier for the next generation
  • Streamline your lifestyle

Make a floor plan

Decide what you want the room to look like and be used for. Draw a floor plan and make a list of activities that happen in that space.  It will help you to know what to keep.

Decision criteria

Set up some questions to help you with your decision making.  Here are some examples:

  • How many of these do I have? How many is enough?
  • Does the item fit in with my values?
  • Is this item current?
  • Is this item really valuable?
  • Will owning this help to resolve my clutter?
  • What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t have it?
  • If I need it, can I borrow it from somewhere?
  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Do you need it?

How much is enough?

Look around the room and decide what percentage of stuff you need to give away so everything will fit into the room.  25% 50% 75%?

If you don’t schedule it, it won’t get done.

Schedule the time and do it when you are not rushed.   Do one area, room, box or even corner of a room depending on how much stuff you have to go through and your deadline.

Prepare the room for working.

You will need a series of boxes, bins, bags or containers for garbage, recycling, donations, items to go to other rooms, and items to return to people.

 

5 Methods  for decluttering the room 

I’m going to go through a number of ways to sort through your items and you can decide what method works best for you.  At first, decluttering is easy because you find items that you know you don’t want and just haven’t given them away yet.  Then it becomes more challenging. You must chip away at identifying which items are true treasures versus those you feel guilty about giving away.  Remember to reduce by the percentage you choose in your planning.

1. Have a box 

The simplest way to start is to keep a box in your closet and whenever you find something you don’t need put it into the box and you can start decluttering right away.

2. Skimming

  • Go to a closet/cupboard and select the best items in each that category.
  • Most cupboards/closets will have more than one category.
  • For example, in a kitchen, the cupboard might have baking dishes, casserole dishes, muffin tins, and loaf pans.  Pick the best 1 or 2 of each of these 4 categories and donate the rest.
  • Continue to open each cupboard and drawer skimming the contents and selecting 1 or 2 items from each category.

3. Sort then declutter

  • Go clockwise around the room sorting items into groups by function
  • Do the surfaces first and then the drawers and cupboards next
  • When you are done, the garbage and recycling will be collected and removed from the room
  • All the items in the room will be in groups
  • Each room will have different categories/groups of items. Here are some examples, books, electronics, tools, dishes, home decor, games, clothing, photos  etc

Look at one category/group and apply the questions and percentage you determined in the planning stage.  Start removing items you don’t need and donate them.

If that method doesn’t work for you and you are keeping everything, try a different method.

4. Grouping 

Keep the Best of the Best. Instead of thinking about giving things away, it might be easier to think about keeping the best.

  • After you have sorted the room make sure you are keeping the best one.  You need to see all of the items in one group together and keep only as many as you need or the percentage you set in the planning stage, keep the best ones.

5. Triage

  • Gather all your items from one category
  • Pick up the first three and remove the one you like the least.
  • Pick up 3 more and remove one again
  • After you have gone through the category/group you will have decluttered  by 1/3

If you are sentimental 

  • Try taking a picture of the items so you have the memory and let go of the item.
  • Find a good home for the things you are letting go of,  they are still useful just not to you anymore.
  • “Shrink it”, only keep one item from a collection instead of the entire collection, you will still have the memory
  • Ask yourself, what would be best, having a number of boxes with large quantities of unsorted keepsakes or a carefully assembled box of very precious treasures?

Mindset

Decluttering is about having a mindset of letting go and having less. Once you experience the joy of being unburdened from cleaning, organizing, buying, and repairing stuff you don’t need, want, use or like you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.   Enjoy the journey.

Moving Companies rely on businesses like Mind Over Clutter. If you are in the rightsizing process check out our partners at Mind over Clutter. They service St. Catharines and The Niagara Region and can give you some great insight and help you through this process!

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

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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Use these 9 steps to organize your home

By Julie Stobbe / October 25, 2022 /

Reading Time – 2 minutes

There are so many books and articles about organizing a room.  It can become very confusing. How to start, what to do first.  All those words on the page.  Here is an infographic to visually show you the sequence of tasks you need to do to reach your organizing goals.


a blue ladder outlining the 9 step to organize a room

Let me answer your questions.  Book a complimentary 30-minute chat online.  

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

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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7 Organizing gadgets I found on my travels

By Julie Stobbe / September 6, 2022 /

Reading time – 5 minutes

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

A Good Product 

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

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

 

Novel Solutions 

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

 

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

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

 

Fun inventions

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

A tap and hand dryer all in one

 

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

Glass coffee tables that slide under each other for storage.

 

Thought Provoking Artwork

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


A geometric painting called organizing

 

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

 

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

Donation

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

Donations tied to a fence for people to take.

 

Competition

I have not traveled to Nepal, a friend has.  She sent me this picture with the caption, competition?  It was fun to see a very similar logo in another country.

An orange sign with the word home with a roof drawn over it.

 

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

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

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

By Julie Stobbe / June 21, 2022 /

Reading time – 5 minutes

A drawer with messy junk in it.

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

What is a junk drawer? 

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

How many junk drawers may I have?

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

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

How to organize a junk drawer

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

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

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

I have containers for:

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

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

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

Why are junk drawers bad?

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

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

 

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

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

 

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