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Wednesday, September 26 2012

I'm wondering whether you have duplicates of items that you could donate to help you reduce your clutter.  Having doubles can be trouble!

Granted, having duplicates of certain items in your home, such as plates in your kitchen cabinets or reams of paper in your home office are very helpful.  However, if there are items that we don't use often, it might be difficult for us to find a way to store them.  We just might not have the room.  

We don't want to waste space on things that will take up valuable space in our home.  We want to be sure that we don't let those "every day" items get out of control.  You just might want to donate the excess of which you have duplicates.  Here are some examples:

  • Paper shopping bags.  How many do you have?  They do tend to accumulate and, although they can be useful, too many is too much.  Now that reuseable grocery bags are being recommended, you might find yourself with an influx of old paper shopping bags.  Consider giving them to charities that can use them.  (Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies and are looking for bag donations.  Just make sure they are not musty or carry an odor from pets or smoke.

 

  • Hotel toiletries.  If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you return home from a trip with travel-size toiletry items you got for free at the hotel.  If you don't use them when you get home, they can take over your closet, drawer or cabinet shelf.  You can, instead, donate them to a local shelter, or, why not just leave them at the hotel to begin with! 

 

  • Pens, pencils, markers.   I don't know about you, but these items seem to multiply in my drawer!  Do you come home with a pen you borrowed and forgot to return?  Do your kids come home from school with more writing utensils than you sent with them?  I bet that if you take a look around your home, you probably have more pens and markers than you will ever use.  Honestly, it's impossible to use them all, so donating them is a great option.  Be sure to remove the ones that don't work.  Give a bunch to a local school or community center or The Pencil Project.

 

  • Sheets/Bed Linens.  The number of linens you need depends on how often you do laundry.  If you change your sheets every week (or every two weeks), you likely won't need more than two or three sets total (including the one currently on your bed).  I wouldn't be surprised if you have sheets of various sizes that used to fit beds you no longer have.  If they are still in good shape, donate them to a local charity.  Perhaps the sets you have are just worn out.  Consider giving them to your local animal shelter. 

 

  • Coffee Mugs.  They tend to collect on our kitchen cabinet shelves without us even realizing it.  We get them as gifts, we travel somewhere and bring them home as a  souvenir, we get promotional mugs from marketers at events.  When was the last time you took at look at your mugs?  We might have a favorite mug along with the ones that came with our set of dishes.  Check to see which ones you never use and pass them onto someone moving into a new apartment or a college student who lives away from home.  Otherwise, donate them to a local charity. 

You may not realize that you have unused duplicates unless you are actively decluttering.  Check out your storage areas and start gathering like items togther so you can get a true sense of the amount you have.  Pinpoint those items that are good candidates for donation.  You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.   Avoid that "Double Trouble".

Let me know what you discover.  

In the meantime, have a great week!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:41 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 20 2012

Can you believe I just said that!  Well, it's true! 

It's true that decluttering can lighten your load.  If you wish to sell items you no longer want, you CAN make some money.  That's true.  However...

Have you ever thought about this?  Although repairing broken items instead of purchasing a replacement can save you money, you sometimes end up with more clutter than when you started.  It is likely that you will add new items before the old items leave your home and, if you don't get rid of them quickly, they can linger in your home and take up space.

Here are some ways to AVOID the "clutter build-up" that can occur:

1. Stocking up on coupons and sales flyers.  They can start to fill up precious space in your home if you do not have a specific space to keep your coupons (as well as the large quantities of things you get that you might not need - just to satisfy the requirements of that coupon).

2.  Buying in bulk.  It's true that shopping at BJ's, Costco or any other warehouse type store can offer big savings and the convenience of purchasing paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. is helpful.  However, be careful when it comes to perishables (meat, poultry, dairy) and other items that expire.  It's possible they can expire before you get the chance to use them and then you are just wasting your money.  Also, purchasing in bulk is great if you have the room to store such items.  If not, don't buy more than you can store. 

3.  Saving useless things to make something new.  We all have good intentions but saving scraps of wrapping paper, buttons that come with that new sweater or those single socks with no mates can create clutter.  If we do not have a clear plan for how we are going to use them and a deadline in which to do so, it just all becomes clutter.  Get rid of them!

4.  Saving things that need repair.  It's true that you can save money by doing your own repairs (like hemming pants or sewing on buttons) but if you don't continually keep up with the repairs, the items can become a pile of clutter.  I have seen this time and time again when working with my clients.  Sometimes the cost of having someone repair the item for you may be higher than replacing it.  (A zipper on a jacket, for example.)  Skip the repairs that cost more than 50 percent of what it would cost to buy a new one and immediately get rid of the old one.  

5.  Collecting items for consignment.  Clothing is a very popular consignment item.  Consignment can be great if you have the time to take the items to the consignment shop and it's exactly what the shop is looking for.  Otherwise, it's a waste of time.  Also, you tend to not get a great deal of money for your item.  Why not have a clothing swap party instead? 

Feel free to go ahead and turn your clutter into cash.  Just remember, your attempts at saving money just might be creating clutter.  Pay attention to your lifestyle and whether doing these things make sense.  Don't let your clutter consume your space or your time.

Let me know your thoughts.  In the meantime, have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:26 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 11 2012

As you may or may not know, this professional organizer was blessed with a son who has ADHD.  This month is National ADHD Awareness Month so I thought it appropriate to discuss time management.  It tends to be one of the bigger issues for adults with ADHD.

My son, now age 21, is notorious for procrastinating.  He loves to sleep, usually from 3:00 a.m. until whatever time he needs to get up, either for school or work.  The thing is, he waits til the very last minute to get up, grab a shower and run out the door.

Today he has classes from 8:00 a.m. until 2:45 p.m.  This morning I suggested, gently of course, that perhaps he take something to eat with him since it will be many hours until he gets home.  I suggested quickly grabbing a bagel, so he would at least have something.  He is not one to pack a lunch the night before, no matter how many times I recommend this.  (Since he is 21, I no longer make lunches for him. Call me a bad mom.)  His response was "But...I don't have any time!".  Seriously?  He didn't have time to open the fridge and grab a bagel, put it in a sandwich bag and head out the door.  (He doesn't do breakfast.)  I think not!

Here's my theory.  We all have 24 hours in a day.  It's what we do with them that counts.  If he would have just simply woken up 15 minutes earlier, he would have had the time to take his shower and grab that bagel to take with him. 

In other words, it does take some preparation and some thought as to what we need to do and how much time we need to do it.  Then we prepare accordingly.  Waking up 15 minutes earlier could have made such a difference for him.

I am still working with him on this issue, but here is some "food" for thought (no pun intended, well...maybe) for those of you that find that you are running out of time in the morning to get out the door.  Simply prepare. 

To start, make a list of what you need to do and then estimate how long it will take you to do it.  Then add a cushion of time to avoid that last minute rushing around. 

Simply by taking some time (of which we all have the same amount) to get organized and create a plan, you will find that you are no longer saying "But...I don't have any time!".

Try it out and let me know how you make out.  If you need some addidtional help, let me know.  I am here when you are ready. 

In the meantime, take some "time" today to remember 9-11-01.  I think we can all find a few minutes today to do so.

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
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