<![CDATA[ - BLOG]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:28:37 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[Reclaim Your Space]]>Wed, 06 Jul 2016 20:29:21 GMThttp://lifedeclutteredpro.com/1/post/2016/07/reclaim-your-space.htmlTen Tips to Reclaim Your Space


If organizing is an ongoing action...Where do you start?  

When you feel your space owns you, rather than you owning your space, where do you begin?  

How do you make sense of the clutter?

Friends...here are Ten Tips for Reclaiming ANY Space (even your time)!
LET GO OF DUPLICATES
It happens.  It does.  It has happened to me.  You suddenly realize that you own 8 Spatulas, 5 flats sheets, 4 irons, 2 coffee makers, a toaster, a toaster oven...and the list goes on and on. I offer that you ask your self one question about these duplicates:  Do I use them or just own them?  If you aren't using all those spatulas or flat sheets...LET 'EM GO!  


LET GO OF ITEMS NOT USED IN A YEAR
If your struggling with what to let go of ask yourself:  Have I used it this year? If the answer is no, then consider whether to Toss, Sell, Donate or Relocate that item (see further on down the list).  In general, we will use 20% (Pareto Principle) of what we own 80% of the time...so if you haven't used an item in a year, chances are your aren't ever going to use it again!  LET IT GO! 


LET GO OF ITEMS KEPT DUE TO GUILT
If an item was given to you as a gift, and you HATE it...exchange it for something you love. Gifts are just that, GIFTS.  If the giver attaches a qualifier to it...then it was NEVER a gift in the first place.  Gifts are about you, not the giver.  If you hate it, already have it, don't need it...LET IT GO. 

LET GO OF ITEMS YOU WOULD NOT BUY TODAY
If you bought it in 1982 and you would never buy it today, DON'T KEEP IT.  Sometimes we even forget we have 'it', we've tucked 'it' so far into the back of a closet, basement, attic or storage area.  So, why are you keeping 'it'...really, I'm asking you...why???  Friend, just LET IT GO.

GIVE EVERYTHING A HOME
The old cliche holds true: 'A place for everything and everything in its place'.  If your space doesn't get messy sometimes, then friend, YOU AREN'T LIVING!  If every item in your mess has a home, no problem, easy day, its super simple to put it away.  But, if it doesn't...well...this is the intersection where life meets clutter.  Give everything...even the paper clips a home. 

PUT ITEMS AWAY EVERY DAY
And, when you are done...PUT ITEMS AWAY, EVERYDAY.  I hate to sound like your mother here, but take 15 minutes at the end of the day to put things away.  This is the simplest, easiest tip I can give...and it brings the greatest reward. 

THINK VERTICALLY ABOUT STORAGE
Look up.  Storage can be created almost anywhere.  Don't confine yourself, think outside the box.  Mount shelves.  Buy the bigger bookcase.  Hang hooks from the ceiling.  Use the entire back of that bathroom door.  Go for it! 

RETHINK YOUR SPENDING HABITS QUARTERLY
How do you spend your money...on things? Experiences?  What things?  What experiences?  Why?  Check with yourself to ensure that what you are buying is what you need.  Wants and Needs are easily confused.  For certain, there is ALWAYS a new gadget or gizmo to buy.  A cool new place to visit.  Ask yourself:  does it really enhance my life.  If the answer is yes...great.  If the answer is no...great.  Be a mindful consumer of life, checking in with yourself every 3 months to stay on track and reduce clutter!

THINK:  TOSS, SELL, DONATE or RELOCATE
Sometimes items just end up in the wrong place (ahem..because we didn't put them away). Relocate them, back to where they belong.  I do this action daily.  Even a Pro Organizer gets distracted and leaves items here and there.  
 
But, when you find yourself staring at a pile of items discard, this can be just overwhelming as trying to decide where to begin in the first place.  My advice, keep it simple.  If it is broken...Toss It.  If you can recoup some of its value...Sell it.  If you hate garage sales, Craig's List or Pawn Shops...Donate it.  

SAY NO
The challenge is real in our postmodern American culture.  Saying NO to requests for your time from your child, your spouse, loved ones, friends, your boss....THIS IS HARD WORK. Your time and space are valuable...evaluate your priorities and learn to SAY NO!  It will bring you peace.


These tips have helped me own my own space, rather than have my space own me, and they drive my professional relationships with clients, as well. You can be certain that I am running through this list in my head, each and every session, assessing which of these tips might be most beneficial for you.

And once we finish a space (or two, or three, because clutter happens) my goal is to have helped you internalize these tips, too...making the next decluttering project you undertake seem a bit less overwhelming, lifting you up and encouraging you forward to living a LIFE Decluttered!  
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<![CDATA[My Top Five...]]>Wed, 08 Jun 2016 13:56:29 GMThttp://lifedeclutteredpro.com/1/post/2016/06/my-top-five.htmlMy Top Five Tools & Supplies,
To Be and Feel Organized

So what are my favorites….my go tos…the tools or supplies I use daily, to be and feel organized???  

GREAT QUESTION! 

There are alot of organizational products out there to choose from. But there are only a few that I have found to be flexible, adaptable and useable in any space I have lived in. 

I give you my TOP 5 tools or supplies for living a daily, LIFE Decluttered.

#5 LAZY SUSANS


Lazy Susans...the unsung hero of kitchen, pantry, bathroom and craft shelves!

I use lazy susans in my...

 Kitchen Medicine Cabinet 
Pantry
And I’m willing to use them just about anywhere.  

They don't have to be expensive either. Alejandra from Alejandra TV made one from dollar store cake pans and marbles!!!! She spent $3. Check it out HERE.  

#4 PORTABLE SHELVING UNITS

The most helpful pieces of furniture that we have ever purchased are our chrome and white 4 tier metal shelving units.  

Depending on where we live and our storage space they have held board games, sewing materials, linens, pantry items, and a laundry system, just to name a few. 

They are adaptable, sturdy, durable and worth every last cent!  We have moved them 6 times! 

In our current home we use them for our linen, laundry system, and as a pantry. 
And yes friends...I posted a picture of our dirty laundry...I'm all about keeping it real here at LIFE Decluttered. Wouldn't have it any other way!

(Psst....You can see my lazy susans hard at work on the top shelf of my pantry.) 

Laundry System
Pantry


#3 LABELS

I am addicted to labels. If I could, I would label everything.  

EVERYTHING.  

My label maker is my friend. Those crisp white labels with their black lettering make my soul smile! But you don’t need a fancy label maker to benefit from them. Tape, Index cards and a Sharpie work just as well. And Avery makes a tons of products as well.  Google "labels" and the options are endless!

Whether you are a ‘stuff in’ (I need it all put away) or ‘stuff out’ (I need to see it all) person, labels let you know where your stuff is...and that is a WIN in my book!  


#2 BASKETS

I LOVE BASKETS (almost as much as I love labeling them!)

I use baskets EVERYWHERE… under the sink, in the pantry, the laundry room, on counters, in bathrooms, in the garage. EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE that items need to be corralled, I rely on a basket to do the work for me! 


Kitchen Medicine Cabinet
Laundry Room Shelves
Under the Kitchen Sink


#1 A PLANNER

The number one product I can not live without…a planner.  

I can not say enough about the value of a planner! Any kind of planner will do. Simply put, you need some way to record what you are doing, when you are doing it, and whom you are doing it with. Use of time has a DIRECT impact on organization. There is just no way around it.  


I could write an entire post on the options for planners out there...they are endless and could set a newbie’s head spinning. Keep it simple in the beginning. A wall calendar to record your obligations and a note book for a to do list are a great way to start.  

I also Bullet Journal. But that is a whole other post for another time. You can read about what Bullet Journaling is all about Here!

I will have links to where you can find my current planner, as well as, links to products similar to the tools and supplies I use at the end of this post! 

But first, lets take a moment to review...My Top 5 Favorite Tools and Supplies are: 


These items have kept my family and I glued together over the past 17 years and 12 moves. No matter what type of home we are in, these 5 tools/supplies and our ever evolving use of them have allowed us to live a LIFE Decluttered!    


Supplies and Tools*
*Note:  Life Decluttered receives an affiliate fee from Amazon should you purchase products through these links, with the exception of the Plum Paper Planner (I just really like mine and had to share!)
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<![CDATA[Before & Afters - Chapter 1]]>Wed, 25 May 2016 14:36:42 GMThttp://lifedeclutteredpro.com/1/post/2016/05/before-afters-chapter-1.htmlA Professional Organizer's 
Kitchen Command Center, Reinvented
I love a set of Before & After pictures. They make my heart smile.  

Why?  

B & A’s let us see our progress, allow us to bask in the glow of our success. Clutter is overwhelming. Starting can be what stops us from beginning. A view of where we were versus where we are now can motivate us to take on the next project!

B & A’s are inspirational. If you can do it…well…Gosh Darn It…so can I. If you can start it…well…Ehh Gad…So Can I! If you have found success with it...Jumping Jehoshaphat...SO CAN I! Motivating others with your authentic struggle...that is the good stuff of lifting others up!  

Finally, B & A’s are Pretty, Beautiful, and Simply Magnificent! 
So, here are the B & A's of my personal Kitchen Command Center. That's right, mine.  
I was stuck when we moved to our current home in the summer of 2015, wrongly trying to recreate what we had in our last home in a completely different space, that did not have remotely the same configuration...and it wasn't working...no matter how hard I tried it was just wrong. 

This was a BIG MISTAKE and what often leads to situation disorganization. We liked how an old space worked, try to recreate it in a new space, overlooking what is right in front of us and we end up a hot mess!  Which is what we were...A HOT MESS!

We were spread all over the place. It felt, looked and was CLUTTERED!  

Very unbecoming of a Professional Organizer. Shame on me. Tsk-Tsk.
 
And then, one day, walking through the kitchen I saw it...EMPTY SPACE.

Unused, Overlooked, Beautiful Empty Space. I'm quite certain I had one of those giant cartoon light bulbs over my head!


I got to work. IMMEDIATELY.

Step One:  I gathered together everything we use to manage our time. 
                          - Wall Calendar
                          - My Daily Planner
                          - My Daily Routine 
                          - Our Family Battle Rhythm
                          - Monthly Tickler File Holder 
                          - Menu Board
                          - The kiddos 'Do You Have?' Checklist
                          - School Year Calendar
                          - School Menu
                          - After School Activities Schedules
                          - Chore Chart (inspired by Confessions of a Homeschooler)
                          - Highlighters, Pens, Pencils, & Expo Markers

Step Two:  I laid it out on the floor to determine what and how it would best fit on the wall. 

Step Three:  I borrowed that little green table from our hall, creating a new counter space for what would not be on the wall.

Step Four:  I measured, nailed, used a few command strips and...VOILA! 

Check out the final result...I LOVE IT! And I didn't spend a penny! Not even a dime!



Everything in one space, ALL TOGETHER...Like with Like!  

Counter space is restored...& We FEEL organized. My husband has even taken to writing the weekly menu on the chalkboard. 'Gotta love how a refreshed, organized space creates buy in from the whole family!


Occasionally my personal planner makes it way back to the end of the that counter there, but...hey...organizing is an ongoing action...even for me! We will be moving again this month (such is active duty military life). I've learned my own lesson...and will be sure to give you a peak at where this gem relocates to in our new home.  

Keep your eye out for Chapter 2 of B & A's. In June I will be sharing how I helped clients RECLAIM their unfinished basement for more than just storage, walking with them on their journey towards a Life Decluttered!

What space in your home do you want to RECLAIM?!

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<![CDATA[Children and Their 'Stuff']]>Mon, 09 May 2016 17:43:58 GMThttp://lifedeclutteredpro.com/1/post/2016/05/children-and-their-stuff.html8 Tips For Helping Our Children 
Let Go of Their Stuff!
If you have one child or ten, I don’t need to tell you that they have stuff.  A LOT OF STUFF! And, inevitably, when you’re ready to get rid of that stuff...THEY AREN'T!  

That stuff they haven’t so much as touched in months… toys, art work, clothing, books, gadgets, and birthday party goodie bag whistles INSTANTLY become prized possessions. WHAT!? WHY?! HOW?!

The challenge is real here people.  And without getting lost down a rabbit hole discussing macro level causes of how and/or why our kiddos have so much stuff…well…I’d rather just share with you practical tips that I have used with my own children, or know others have had success with! So, without further delay:  


Lets start at the top, and work our way down the list, shall we...

1. DON'T LET IT IN.  

Whether you have bigs (the 6 and over set) or littles (the 5 and under crowd), just don’t let it in!  I know, this is easier said then done.  Family and friends can be more excited than we are to shop for our children, often buying the biggest, loudest and newest toys or gadgets on the shelf!  And let's be honest...sometimes, we like all that stuff too.

But I argue this: We are the purveyors of the world to our children.  We set the tone.  And for our littles, setting that tone right out of the gate is priceless and will make life for you a whole lot easier in the long run.  Even if you are just now changing course, those bigs will follow your lead!  Stay consistent and they will come along for the ride.  Pinky Promise!

So how do you set the tone?  
Encourage family and friends to buy experience gifts for your children.  Here’s a few great websites that allow you to buy experience gifts for others: VayableUnstuff Gifts, and the Fun Sherpa.  Just browsing the myriad of ideas listed at these sites can gets the creative gift giving juices flowing! 
OR
Encourage family and friends to make donations in your children’s names to your favorite charitable causes, or theirs.  When your littles graduate to being bigs, let them choose a worthy cause.  Children are capable of remarkable compassion and experience great pride when they know they can make a difference in the world.  

Ok...Ok...I hear you: "That’s all great and good... But what do I do with the stuff that is already in my house...The Toys, Artwork, Clothing, Books, Gadgets, Birthday Party Goodie Bag Whistles and just stuff…TONS OF STUFF!"  

Your in LUCK...we've not even scratched the surface yet friends!
2. BOX IT UP.  

Engage your child(ren) to sort through their toys, clothes, art and school supplies, books, magazines, and those annoying birthday party goodie bag whistles (I hate those things!!)

Guide your child(ren) to create two piles: 'Keep' and 'Box'.  The ‘Box’ items go in a box (or two, or three or ten) and are stored in a garage, attic, basement…anywhere that is out of sight, with the understanding that if your kiddos don’t ask for items from those boxes over the course of a designated time frame, the items will be donated.  'Keep' items stay out. You are teaching them a valuable life skill here:  what to Keep, and what Not to Keep.  


Make sure to set clear guidelines with your children, mismanagement of expectations here can lead to tears...and lots of them! 

3. TRY A TOY ROTATION.  

The Box Method can be a touch challenging for the under 8 crowd and their toys. A toy rotation is a great option for these littles!  Bigs like it too, actually! 

The toys in your home are remarkably reduced when using a toy rotation and you guessed it...your children are again, learning early organizing skills as they practice deciding what to keep out now and what to put away for later! The Blog at Playful Learning describes beautifully how to master this method. 

Parenting Bonus: seeing little eyes light up when a new box of toys materializes! 
  
4. CREATE A TREASURE BOX.  

Children LOVE their little treasures.   But those little treasures add up...QUICKLY.   A treasure box is a great way to meet them in the middle, so to speak, and another great way to help them develop those early organizing skills! 

A decorated shoe box is a great way to begin using this strategy! My Kids Adventures has a wonderful blog post on making DYI treasure boxes with your children. Treasure boxes hold their tiniest possessions: ticket stubs, pez despensers, rocks, gems, stickers, figurines, leaves, pine cones and yes, and yes...even those darned annoying birthday party goodie bag whistles.  That little stuff we grown ups hate having to pick up but they just can’t part with it. 

Encourage your children to look through their treasure boxes regularly and use the box to help guide them in making...you guessed it...those all important keep/not keep decisions.  That leaf may have been super important last month, but now they can’t even recall why have kept it.  Awesome… cheer them on to 'LET IT GO' and
make room for their latest collection of pinwheel seeds!

NOTE:  I never purge this box without their consent.  NEVER!  Fight the urge to purge …or you risk breaking your children’s trust.


5. MAKE IT A GAME

Have a family with a competitive streak.  Make letting go a game!  Set a goal and a reward. Then, let your children loose on the clutter.  

The added benefit to this method:  you get to know your children a bit more, discovering what toys, items, clothes and knick-knacks they truly treasure.   You’ll be amazed at what they chose to let go of!  

Just be sure you are ready to follow through on the reward you have agreed on. 


6. LET 'EM SELL IT.  

Are you a yard sale junky?!!  Yes?  Fantastic.  Let your children in on the fun.  Let them keep the proceeds made from the sale of any toys, clothes, art and school supplies, books, magazines, and yes, even those darned birthday party goodie bag whistles (ya know, the ones we HATE!).  

Money is a great motivator…even for children!  This strategy works great when coupled with making it a game!


Make sure that you have your children actively help you at the sale.  Follow through is key here.  They aren’t consigning the object to you for you to sell...unless your willing to set that arrangement up.  And if so, great…another great opportunity for your children to learn ways to discard unwanted items!

7. THE RULE OF FOUR.  

Once all that extra stuff is gone, it's time to manage what is left and what else comes in!  

The Rule of Four is an increasingly popular way to manage the flow of items gifted into your home. 

The core of this method, children receive: 


A Gift they want,
A Gift they need,
A Gift to read & 
A Gift to wear.  

Engage your children, littles or bigs, in writing wish lists for these categories.  Again, you'll gain valuable insight into who your children are becoming: their likes and dislikes.  This strategy also helps you manage their long term gift receiving expectations and your purse strings.  

Its what they call...a Win-Win!

8. ONE IN...ONE OUT.  

Adopting a one in, one out rule is another great way to manage stuff.  Does your child want the newest or latest toy, gadget, gizmo, book or clothing.  Have them look through and donate/sell an item of their own that no longer brings them the same joy and excitement as the new item will.  

This is a great rule of thumb for grownups too! 

For every item that comes in…one item goes out. 



Starting early helps tremendously...but starting where you are is equally as effective.  Be honest with your children about your goals for owing less and becoming more organized as a family. I have said it before and I will say it again: Organizing is an ONGOING ACTION, not an end state.  And it requires buy in from your entire family.  

Do you have a strategy you have used with your children to help them let go?  Share it is the comments section below! 


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<![CDATA[Your are a what?]]>Mon, 25 Apr 2016 14:47:44 GMThttp://lifedeclutteredpro.com/1/post/2016/04/psstexcuse-mewhat-is-a-professional-organizer-anyway.htmlExcuse Me…But what is a 
Professional Organizer Anyway???

As I embark on this new adventure called, LIFE Decluttered, I have been asked one question more than any other: 

What is a Professional Organizer???

Fabulous question.  


The simplest answer... A Professional Organizer is:

A Helper, 
A Teacher 
&
A Coach


Professional Organizers HELP.  

We physically assist individuals, families, and businesses manage their stuff!  Objects, files, photos, time…STUFF. Clutter happens in many forms and keeping it all straight might not be your forte. That is A-OK. To be fair, decluttering and organizing is never as simple as Keep or Not Keep. 

It’s an ongoing action that is tied up in all sorts of...well...intangible STUFF!

Often, having an objective third party walk with you, side by side, through making Keep and Not Keep decisions...well folks…that can be PRICELESS!


Professional Organizers TEACH.  

We teach you methods and give you information so that you can organize your stuff, today and in the future, whatever that stuff might be.  What works for one person or business, doesn’t always work for another.  

I know…I know…Kon Mari® is all the rage, advising that her way is the BEST way to BECOME and STAY organized.  For many, her way is INDEED the best way.  

But, in my opinion, there’s room for everyone and Professional Organizers will assess and teach to your Strengths and develop storage solutions based on your Needs.  So that you can work towards living a LIFE Decluttered.


Professional Organizers COACH.  

They encourage and cheer you on along the way.  We point to your forward progress, push you through backslides and plateaus, and most importantly, we celebrate your successes!  

To ask for help is HARD business.  

To invite someone into your private space can be TERRIFYING!  

Post Modern Western Culture tells us that armed with the right self-help books, blog posts and/or Pinterest boards the individual can succeed by their own true grit and determination.  

For some this is very true, but on the whole, I believe that we do better together…lifting each other up, sharing our gifts and encouraging each other forward.  


So that friends, is what Professional Organizers do. 

How do you find one??  
I am so glad you asked!

Click the NAPO Logo below to find the pros near you that are members of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Ok ...now that you have found one, how do you know if this person or company will be a good fit for you?

Another fantastic question!   Y'all are on your toes! 

Click Here to arm yourself with a list of questions to ask a Professional Organizer once you’ve found one! 

Still have questions about Professional Organizing? 

Check out my FAQ, Send me an Email or Leave A Comment below! 

And as always, Thanks for stopping by!


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<![CDATA[Welcome]]>Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:43:39 GMThttp://lifedeclutteredpro.com/1/post/2016/04/april-11th-2016.htmlHello And Welcome To The Blog At 


So, a lot is going to happen here on the Blog.  ALOT!  And I wager you are wondering what you can expect here ('cause really...another blog about getting organized). Sure, there will be tips, ideas, & projects and very likely a touch of wisdom from other organized obsessed souls like myself, but you'll also find Encouragement and Motivation because being organized is not, I repeat IS NOT an end state. It is an ongoing action, friends. Uh-Huh... you read that correctly, ONGOING! Come on, lets say it together...




Wonderful, well done!  And clutter, clutter is nothing more than a problem with a solution. Yep, you read that correctly, as well!  There is a SOLUTION. I promise! And that is what LIFE Decluttered provides...in your home and on this Blog.  So folks, we're going to say this one together, too. Here we go...





Nicely Said, Good Job!  Hmmm, but I suspect that you're thinking, that is all fine and good. BUT....




Great question. 
 



Even Better Question! 

I got my start in organizing when I began moving around the country with my husband, an Active Duty Service Member. With each move, we've added pets and children to our family, creating the need to become, and more importantly FEEL, organized. Each move, I have honed my craft and continue to discover new ways to keep our same stuff in spaces that are NEVER the same, while also learning to let go of the stuff that just doesn't hold value any longer.  That includes what we do with our time!

I have turned a skill into a career I am passionate about!  With a background in Social Work, earning a Masters of Social Work in 2003, I have had the privilege of working with families in their homes and in the Mental Health field. These experiences inform the way I approach the Professional Organizing relationship: starting where you are with no judgement.  And that’s what you’ll get here on the Blog too!

 
So What does Home mean to me? 



I believe home should be your REFUGE. The place you RECHARGE. Whether you have lived there for 20 years or 2.  For many, this is NOT a reality. Home is a cluttered source of daily stress, and just another item on an already unmanageable to do list. Your home and your belongings should be in service to you, not the other way around. And that is what LIFE Decluttered is all about really…helping you reclaim your space and the time you spend in it!




I am truly glad you’re here!  Keep an eye out...in the near future I'll be sharing posts on:

 
My TOP 5 Favorite Tools, Supplies & Books for Staying Organized 
(Check Out the Amazon Link on the Shop Page for a Sneak Peak!)

How to Help Your Children Let Go of Their Stuff
(Always a Challenge) 

Tips for Moving Day 
(Ours is Coming Soon, AHHHHHH!) 

AND

What Do I Do With All the Stuff I Don't Want or Need Anymore!
(Can you really recycle a Keurig...WHERE?)

Hey, and I want to know ...what would you like to hear about...as you move towards living a LIFE Decluttered



P. S  Need more LIFE Decluttered ...check it out on Facebook and Pinterest!
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