Posts Tagged home-organizing

Step-by-Step Guide to Decluttering Your Fridge

The end of the summer is a perfect time to declutter your fridge. All those impromptu barbecues, ice cream parties, late night fast food runs, TikTok recipe experiments, and leftover vacation foods have probably filled your refrigerator with all kinds of random items. If a funky, unidentifiable odor is emitted each time you open the fridge door, it’s definitely time to do some clearing out. Follow our step-by-step guide and in a few hours, your fridge will feel spacious, clean, and fresh. Just in time for the busy holiday season that is just around the corner!

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Mental Health Benefits of Decluttering

by Dan Brennan, MD
October 5, 2021
from WebMD.com

If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce stress, decluttering your environment may be a good place to start. Getting rid of excess stuff can benefit your mental health by making you feel calmer, happier, and more in control. A tidier space can make for a more relaxed mind.

Benefits of Decluttering

Untidy environments often increase stress for most people. In one study, women who described their homes with positive language had a lower level of the stress hormone cortisol than women who described their homes as cluttered or unfinished. Still, the case for decluttering isn’t clear-cut. Another study found that, while orderly environments are more linked to healthy choices, disorderly environments promote creativity and fresh ideas. If you value creativity, you may want to allow yourself to be a little messy in certain areas of your life.For most people, decluttering can promote productivity and improvements in mental and physical health. Benefits of decluttering include:

Better focus. Clutter makes it difficult to find what you need. It may also distract you. Getting rid of visual clutter can help you focus better on any task at hand. 

Higher self-esteem. When you have trouble staying organized, you may feel out of control. Improving your living space can restore feelings of competency and pride.

Read the rest at WebMD.

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A Week in the Life of a Simplify Experts Organizer

Simplify Experts professional organizers handle a wide variety of situations. Decluttering and organizing, downsizing or upsizing homes, packing and/or unpacking a move, estate sale preparation, garages and garden sheds, businesses and home offices—you name it, and we’ve probably done it! To give you more insight into what our organizers do in a typical week, here are excerpts from our CRM. These entries are input by the organizers themselves, and all client names have been redacted. Keep in mind that these are mostly 3-hour sessions! We hope you’ll find it enlightening.

“Such a great day with 2 of us! We rocked through the whole kitchen and got the countertops cleared and made homes for everything so [client] can do the dishes and put them away. We moved the coffee station next to the fridge alongside the blender. Teas/coffees/accessories went in the drawers. Then all appliances went in the next drawer….We were such an efficient team that the kitchen took about 2.5 hours so for the last 25 minutes or so, I convinced [client] to let us at least get the recycling out of the garage so that there was more room. She consented to letting me do a recycling run….we helped break down boxes and I loaded my car with as many as I could fit.”

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How to Pare Down Your Books

Books are seriously one of the hardest things to part with! Even if you’ve only ever read it once, having your books within reach keeps you tied to the thoughts and feelings they evoked, to the far-off, magical adventures they took you on, to the breathtaking or heart-wrenching stories they told. We hold onto books that were passed down from a loved one, or purchased at a tiny bookshop in Cairo, or read during a particularly good or bad time of our lives. We also hold onto books that were gifts, or from your college days, or have been on your “to read” list for a long time. The reality is that books also create clutter, take up a lot of space, are hard to move, and collect an amazing amount of dust. Paring down your books doesn’t mean getting rid of all of them—it just means you’ll keep some of them. Our guide will help you get going!

Where are all your books?
  • Are they all on a couple of bookshelves in the family room?
  • Or do you have books in many places—your nightstand, your home office, the guest room?
  • Do you have books in boxes that are stored in the garage, the basement, or a storage unit?
  • Write down all the places where your books are kept, so you can go down the list and check each area off as you declutter it.
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Clever Tips for Finding More Space at Home

Whether you’ve got a large home or a small apartment, it may always seem like you’re searching for more storage space. Too bad you can’t just magically expand your home’s existing areas with a wiggle of your nose! Check out these clever tips for finding and creating storage spaces in your home.

 

Go behind closed doors.

Over-the-door hooks have 4 to 6 hooks for hanging lightweight, non-bulky items such as belts, scarves, and hats. In the bathroom they are super for hanging towels and bathrobes. Use that extra space behind your doors for storage space, and it may give some things a better “home” than the floor: in my kids’ rooms they’re for hanging PJs! Just don’t use them for hanging heavy items such as school backpacks, or items so bulky, like a puffy coat, that the door can’t stay open. For behind the laundry room, pantry, or bathroom door, this white mesh shelf rack is wonderful—helps clear off your counter space!

Check under the bed…

…and you may see more than just dust bunnies. It’s an excellent space for storing your seasonal clothing and accessories! There are so many styles and types of under-bed storage to choose from. We like the ones with wheels and handles to make pulling them out easier. Pop in a dryer sheet before you put the lid on and keep it fresh-smelling.

Not everything needs to be bought in bulk.

If you’re a big Costco shopper, you know you can really save by buying in bulk. But do you really need to get everything in large amounts? Take stock of the items you buy in bulk and decide if you’re better off buying regular sizes. For instance, if you use very little oil when cooking, does it really make sense to buy a gallon of cooking oil? Or will it go rancid before you get to the “Use by” date? If you have a couple of large dogs, though, buying their food in bulk will definitely save you money. Check your pantry and freezer, as well as the extra freezer and shelves in the garage. Check your other storage areas, too. List the items you buy in bulk—toilet paper, detergent, canned goods, butter, rice, etc.—and make those determinations based on your usage and this detailed food storage chart.

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Goodwill Doesn’t Want Your Broken Toaster

from NPR.org
May 6, 2021
by Todd Bookman

Cars begin lining up outside the Goodwill donation center in Seabrook, N.H., around 10 a.m. most mornings.

Well-intended patrons are here with truckloads full of treasures.

“We hope everyone brings great things that help our programs, but we know some people make some questionable judgments about what is good to donate,” explains Heather Steeves, spokesperson for the 30 Goodwill locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

She holds up “a lampshade, which is stained and disgusting and literally falling apart.”

There’s a small table missing a leg, cracked purple food-storage containers and a used sponge. They’re just a representative sample of the useless stuff dropped off the day before.

Along with simply being gross, these items cost Goodwill money.

“All this trash adds up to more than $1 million a year in a trash bill, and it’s been growing every year for the past five years,” says Steeves. And that’s just for the 30 stores she oversees.

Read the rest on NPR.org.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing Your Photos

Remember when we used film in our cameras? (Kids now: “How retro!”) We had a finite number of photos to take: 24 or 36. There was work to be done before you could see those pictures. A trip to the Fotomat or Pay & Save, then later, Costco, to drop off the film. Days later, you’d go again to pick up the photos and the negatives. I recall being so excited to see the pictures from a family vacation, or birthday party, or holiday! Out of that 24- or 36-roll, you’d get a handful of really good ones (or at least, good enough for the photo album). The rest went back in the envelope and got put in the shoebox with the other photo envelopes.

With digital cameras and smartphones having bigger and bigger storage capacities, the infinite nature of photographing anything is now standard for most people. A child’s birthday party could have a few hundred photos; a long trip abroad could have over a thousand! The advantage is you can re-take photos several times to get it just right; the disadvantage is you end up with an enormous amount to cull through later. How to begin organizing your thousands of printed and digital photos? Use these five steps to help ease this task.

1. What Are Your Goals?

Before you begin, decide on what your photo goals are. A few examples:

  • Organize my old printed photos and create photo albums.
  • Combine all my digital photos into one storage drive.
  • Scan my printed photos and combine them with the digital ones.
  • Label my photo storage system so I can find what I need quickly.
  • Cull my digital photos and create a storage file system plus a backup.

When you have decided what it is you’re looking to achieve, it will be easier to work on your photos with these goals in mind. 

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Organize Your Financial Documents

Even though we are in the Digital Age, paper remains a constant in our lives. While junk emails have replaced junk snail mail (trees happy, inboxes…not so much), one of the major paper generators of all is personal finances. Last summer my husband and I sold and then bought a home—the amount of paper those two transactions took was mind-boggling. We all have bank records, loans, credit cards, and utilities…and that is just the beginning. So much of our money-related information enters our homes as paper! Organizing paperwork can definitely be overwhelming. Let these guidelines help you get your financial documents in order.

Review what documents you have.

Before you can organize your documents, go through them and see what you have. Organize them into categories, such as To File, To Shred, To Read, To Pay, and Needs Action. You may discover unpaid bills, receipts for tax deductions, and all sorts of other paperwork you didn’t realize was in that big stack. If you’re uncertain about what to keep and what to shred, refer to our thorough guide on paper retention.

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How to Practice

from The New Yorker
March 1, 2021
by Ann Patchett
I wanted to get rid of my possessions, because possessions stood between me and death.

I started thinking about getting our house in order when Tavia’s father died. Tavia, my friend from early childhood (and youth, and middle age, and these years on the downhill slalom), grew up in unit 24-S of the Georgetown condominiums in Nashville. Her father, Kent, had moved there in the seventies, after his divorce, and stayed. Over the years, we had borne witness to every phase of his personal style: Kent as sea captain (navy peacoat, beard, pipe), Kent as the lost child of Studio 54 (purple), Kent as Gordon Gekko (Armani suits, cufflinks, tie bar), Kent as Jane Fonda (tracksuits, matching trainers), Kent as urban cowboy (fifteen pairs of boots, custom-made), and finally, his last iteration, which had, in fact, underlain all previous iterations, Kent as cosmic monk (loose cotton shirts, cotton drawstring pants—he’d put on weight).

Read the rest on The New Yorker.

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My nest is empty, but the stuff remains. Why is decluttering so emotionally fraught?

From The Washington Post
March 4, 2021

 

Last March, when most people were wringing their hands about the shutdown, I felt positively giddy at the prospect of finally getting organized. Time — the rarest of commodities — was now being served up on a silver platter.

So how can it be that, almost a year since the pandemic began, the basement, attic and garage remain as overstuffed as ever? Why can’t I empty my empty nest? I have to confront an uncomfortable truth: It’s not about time; it’s about me.

Although the story about how younger generations have no use for their boomer parents’ stuffhas been well-documented, my lack of progress has nothing to do with dining room tables with seating for 12 or display cabinets. It’s the photo albums, the well-loved baby blankets and the shoe boxes full of letters that have left me paralyzed.

Follow me into my cobwebbed basement, and you’ll find a museum of memorabilia still untouched, despite a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. The bedroom set is a lot easier to shed than the 17-by-20-inch wedding portrait of my mother, who has been gone for 10 years now. It’s too massive and shrine-like to put anywhere else, and yet, how can I just cavalierly toss her in the trash?

Read the rest on The Washington Post.

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