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Wednesday, January 16 2019
USE WHAT YOU HAVE

Another year is underway. Have you made any resolutions? (Honestly, I hate that question.) I don't make resolutions anymore because I have a tendency to fail. I stop exercising after about a month, I start eating more desserts than I should after a few months of eating healthy. It's just too much pressure!

Instead, I set a goal or an intention. I find I am much more successful that way and it makes me feel much less pressured.

Last year, my goal was to declutter and upgrade my entire home, from top to bottom. Yes, one whole year to do so. I focused on one room a month, for twelve months. I planned it out in great detail at the beginning of the year. I decluttered what needed to be, did some cosmetic upgrades and tweaked some organization in my home. By year's end, I was thrilled with the results.

Although I did not get to the basement like I had planned, (mainly because some things took longer than expected), I am setting a goal for the next two months to finish decluttering and organizing the entire basement. With being as busy as I am, this goal is reasonable and achievable.

This year, I decided to have a theme. I decided to name my theme for 2019 "Use What You Have".  I am fortunate to live in a nice home and have what I need. Last year's project re-aquainted me with all that I have. I realized, I have enough. As the saying goes "Enough is enough". I am going on a buying diet. I am going to focus on using what I already have, instead of purchasing more. This is especially true for me when it comes to clothing and shoes. I am resisting the urge to purchase more and simply use what I have.

I plan on making more use of my serving dishes and trays, which have been stored away since my wedding in 2002 and infrequently used.

I plan on burning the candles I have been storing. I love candles and love to use them but I have aquired a lot and have not made it a habit of burning them. Now I will!

I plan on reading the books I have aquired without getting more. This is particularly true for my fiction books. I love books! People give me books! I can't resist accepting their offers to take their books they no longer want. I have enough!

Honestly, now that I am in my late 50's, I recognize that I have to be honest with myself and need to make sure I will have enough time to get to make use all of my possessions. Trust me, storage is not an issue. I have plenty of room, but, I don't want to run out of time before I have used what I have.

Hopefully, this is food for thought. Is it possible for you to go on a purchasing diet, like me, this year, and "Use What You Have"?

I am curious as to what you believe you have enough of and what you can avoid purchasing more of this year. Post a response to this blog below and share your thoughts. Let's all inspire each other to Use What You Have.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with too much stuff in your home and want to simplify, don't hesitate to contact me.

I am here for you!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, January 11 2019
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEED vs. WANT?

Well, Hello!

Happy New Year!

Admittedly, I was very lax last year in posting blogs, but, the good news is...I'm back! I actually enjoy writing so I am looking forward to providing new, updated blogs in 2019 on a more regular basis.

I thought it would be a good time to start with the topic of "NEED vs. WANT".

When it comes to decluttering, these terms can be confusing. Sometimes, we get overwhelmed with the process.

Just imagine that you want to declutter your storage room. You have all types of items in this space and you want to make sense of them. The storage room can easily become a dumping ground for clothes, tools, kitchen items, holiday decorations, toys and memorabilia, just to name a few. You find that your head is spinning when trying to determine whether you should keep something. That's where "Need vs. Want" comes into play.

When I work with my clients and they are feeling overwhelmed with trying to decide whether to keep something or not, "Need vs. Want" can cause confusion. So what is the difference?

The term Need is defined as " necessity, something required that is lacking". The terms Want is defined as "something that is desired". In other words, Need vs. Want equals Require vs. Desire.

There are various factors to consider when determining whether you need or want something.

First, is it for the right reason? 

When you look at an item, do you ask your self whether it's something you need in order to function somehow? Is it a tool that you use for home repair, for example? Is it a small kitchen appliance that you use infrequently, but do still make use of? For example, you might have located a large crock pot for larger dinners and you plan to entertain more this year. Do you exclaim, upon finding it, "I've been looking for that! I need this!" 

Do you, perhaps, look at an item and consider whether it's something you want to keep, such as an old photo album or your grandmother's dishes? Why do you want to keep it? 

Second, can you downsize? 

Let's use the example of small appliances. You have found several crock pots that you have acquired over the years. You don't need all of them. Can you narrow down your collection to one, or two at the most?  Do you have a large set of Grandmom's dishes that you no longer need, but want to hold onto, because it evokes a memory of Sunday dinners with the family when you were a kid? Did you ever consider reducing the 12 place settings down to 4? Can you reduce the amount by half or more? If so, you can still hold onto the memory, make use of the dishes from time to time, but not have to keep the entire large set.

Third, are you keeping it out of guilt? 

Sometimes we purchase something and it cost us a lot of money. Sometimes, someone gives us something as a gift and we don't really like it. These are two common examples of why people hold onto things they don't want or need. When determining whether to keep something or not, do not keep it out of guilt! Remind yourself that you are to only keep things that you need or that you want. Also, remember that everything cannot be your favorite! If you spent a lot of money for something and you no longer need or want it, see if you can give it to someone else who would enjoy it or, perhaps, see if you can sell it. The same holds true for items you get as gifts. Determine right away whether you like something enough to keep it. Otherwise, let it go! (The money was already spent. The item gifted to you is now yours and it is your decision whether you want to keep it or not, not someone else's.)

Keeping these points in mind as you begin your journey of decluttering an area of your home will help you to determine whether you really should or want to still keep it.

If you are overwhelmed with your clutter and have a hard time determining what to keep and where to put it or what to toss and how to get rid of it, don't hesitate to contact me. As a professional organizer I can help you get through the process and make it less overwhelming. 

I am here for you!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 28 2018
ORGANIZING IS CONTAGIOUS!

Spring is finally here and the flu season appears to be behind us. I spent the entire Winter season doing everything possible to avoid getting the flu and the good news is, I was successful. That is something that is very contagious in a bad way.

However, there are things that are contagious in a good way! For example: laughter, smiles, a good mood and even a yawn. Did you know that contagious yawning is a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding?

Also, getting organized can be contagious! Yes! That's right. I have seen time and time again how, when I work with a client in their home, other members of the family get the "organizing bug". 

I tend to work mostly with busy moms who are struggling to find the balance in their physical space as well as in their heads with time management, etc.

On many occasions, I work with Busy Mom and in the beginning, Dad is not on board. It is interesting to watch how they begin to see the transformation and want a piece of that. They start organizing a sock drawer or getting rid of some paperwork, simply by seeing what is going on.

Most recently, I began working with a family who has several autistic children, one of which is very sensitive to change. I have no intention of pushing that child to straighten up their room or move anything around that they do not want touched. However, Mom recently got in touch with me and told me that her child has observed the changes being made in her master bedroom and took it upon himself to go into his own room and remove the trash and straighten up his video games.

Needless to say, I am thrilled! I want nothing more than for the children to enjoy an organized and peaceful environment in which to live. Whether I help them or they take it upon themselves to do it on their own, it's a positive outcome. 

This is a perfect example of how getting organized can be contagious - in a good way!

If you and your family are struggling with clutter and want to get organized, consider starting the process yourself or with a professional organizer such as myself and you just might find that your family get's the "organizing bug" and starts organizing their spaces on their own.  

How great would that be!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 02 2017
MEMORIES vs. CLUTTER

I was recently listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and heard a story about a book called "Salthouses" -https://www.halaalyan.com/salt-houses/.    

“The war may have only lasted six days, but its impact echoes through generations of a Palestinian family in this ambitious debut novel…This is a moving story about a family’s battle to salvage what remains when their home is taken away.” - —Booklist

Aside from the interesting topic, I was drawn to the fact that the author spoke about how the family in this story was so traumatized by their experience that it had lingering effects that lasted for years to come. 

They felt that because they had been displaced for forced to move away from their homeland, they did not "belong" anywhere. They could never return. As a result, their photos and other physical momentos are so important to them, so much more than others might find themselves to be.

I began to realize that aside from refugees, people who have had a great loss in their life - whether it is a loss of a home due to fire, the loss of a beloved family member or other type of trauma could experience the same intense need to hold onto their possessions in order to feel a sense of identity and belonging.

There is a direct correlation between traumatic loss and the need to fill a space with physical contents. An example of this is a hoarder.

As a professional organizer, I recognize the need to be sensative to my clients' individual experiences and life history when helping them eliminate the clutter in their homes and their lives. I then can help them get organized. My goal is always to create an environment for them where they can function efficiently and create a home in which to live and enjoy.

There is a difference between memories and clutter and I help my clients go through the process of making those determinations in a supportive and understanding way. 

If you are struggling with determining what to keep and what to get rid of, contact me at A Better Space. I am here to help. 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 22 2017
LET YOUR BOUNDARIES BE YOUR GUIDE

Do you struggle with how many or how much of something you should keep? This is a common problem many of my clients experience. 

There is no clear cut answer to these questions but there are guidelines. 

One of the most common guidelines is what you have and where you intend to store it. When I am evaluating a situation for my clients, I always take into consideration the space in which the item or items will live.

It is important to let your boundaries be your guide.

What do I mean by this? It's simple.

We all have boundaries we need to follow - whether it's on a personal level with other people or with our possessions.

Take for example your hamper. It's a boundary! When you fill it, you know it's time to do the laundry.

The same is true for many other spaces in our home.

Here are some examples for you to consider and incorporate into your home and in your life:

1. Clothes Closet - You need to make sure that your clothes hang and/or fold in an area that provides sufficient space so as not to crowd your wardrobe.  It is easier to store your entire wardrobe in a closet to avoid having to do a "seasonal switchout", but that is not always possible. However, we do want to limit the size of our wardrobe based on the space in which we have to store it. This might mean downsizing it to make it work for you in an easier way.

2. Cabinets and Drawers - Whether they are in your kitchen, bathroom, home office, bedroom or bathroom, you need to be sure that they are not so stuffed with items, you cannot easily select what it is you want from them. Drawers should be able to easily open and close without items getting stuck. Cabinets should be set up neatly so you can easily see what they contain.  Storing similiar items together will make it easier to find them.

3. Donation Bin - Every household should have them. I tend to use 18-gallon plastic containers. I especially like to use them in kids' bedrooms so that when they outgrow their clothing, they are easily identified and can be donated or passed on to another family member or friend. However, when the bin is full, you need to clear it out and start again! If you are storing clothing for a younger sibling to use. Containerize them by size. 

4. Storage Room - This room needs to be as organized as any other room in the home that your family and friends see on a regular basis. It is not a dumping ground for everything you want to hide from public view. The use of storage shelves can go a long way in setting boundaries and zones for the various items you wish to store. Be sure to review this area on an annual basis to determine what might no longer be needed or wanted. 

5. Garage - The same holds true for the garage as the storage room. It is not a dumping ground. Remember, the original intent of a garage is to store your car. Although there are other items that need storing, such as trash cans, recycling bins, bicycles, lawn care, tools, etc., you need to zone out the various areas and no exceed the size of the garage. You need to be able to easily navigate throught out the space so try your best to avoid filling the center of the room with items. Think vertically and use storage options that help keep your possessions around the perimeter of the room, instead.  

Whether it is something as small as a clothes hamper or as large as a garage, pay attention to its boundaries and let them be your guide as to how much space you have in which to store your items.

If you need guidance or assistance in determining how to maximize the space you have or wish to utilize, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space. I am here for you!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:36 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 15 2017
IS YOUR LIFE HIGH MAINTENANCE?

Almost every woman I know or have met has created a crazy, busy life for themselves. They tend to have a house, husband or significant other, kids, full-time job and lots of responsibility around the house and obligations to their family. 

Life is complicated enough. We don't need it to be high maintenance. 

What do I mean by that?

Often times, there are ways that we can streamline our responsibilities and our possessions to make our lives easier. 

As a professional organizer, one of my responsibilities is to help my clients identify where they can change either the way they do things or reduce the amount of possessions they have in their life. Sometimes, we can identify items we possess that could be replaced by items that are simply easier to maintain and use.

Some examples could be:

1. Vacuum cleaner -  Is your vacuum cleaner easy to use? Is it portable enough that you can easily move it from one floor to another? Are there tons of attachments? Is the bag easy to replace when full? Does it store away without taking up a lot of room? If not, you might want to consider purchasing another vacuum cleaner that would be lower maintenance.

2. Paper Shredder - Is your paper shredder sufficient for your needs? Does it shred paper efficiently? Does it accommodate credit cards? Does it have a cross-cut feature to ensure confidentiality of your paperwork? Does it jam easily? Does it overheat quickly? Consider these points to avoid wasting time and energy when it comes to shredding your paperwork.

3. Clothing - I don't know about you but I do not like to iron. (I have had the same iron since 1983!) I do anything possible to avoid ironing. One way you can reduce the amount of time you spend ironing is to purchase clothing that is not 100% cotton. Another time-saver is to put your clothes into the dryer - even on a low setting - and hang it up while it is still warm so the wrinkles fall out.  

4. Kitchen - One area of the home that tends to accumulate clutter is the kitchen. How many times have you purchased a small appliance only to determine that it is never used and it just sits on your counter, collecting dust and taking up space? How many items are you not able to put into the dishwasher to clean and have to manually wash them? Do you have a set of silver from your grandmother that sits in a box and is never used? 

5. Knickknacks - An abundance of knickknacks could easily qualify as a high-maintenance item. Do you have a collection of knickknacks that someone gave you and youa re not even fond of? An abundance of knickknacks can mean having to take more time to dust. Consider downsizing your collection to reflect only your favorites and truly special to you.

Items that are hard to maintain are often unused.

What items do you possess that are more trouble than they're worth? Take a look around and share your thoughts. I bet a lot of you have the same type of items!

In the meantime, if you are struggling with "too much" and your life is "high maintenance", it might be time to declutter and organize your home. Give me a call or send me an email and lets talk about your "high maintenance" life.  I can show you how to have A Better Space instead!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 03 2016
THERE IS SUCH A THING AS AN ORGANIZED TEEN

I know it's sometimes hard to believe but teenagers can be organized.  We need to guide our kids in various areas so the whole picture comes together.  There is the physical and mental aspects of disorganization which need to be evaluated.

During the school year, keeping teenagers focused on everything that needs to be accomplished in a day can be a challenge. Here are some ways you can help them: 

1. If you have trouble getting your teen up in the morning, buy the most annoying alarm clock you can find and put it far from the bed. That way they are forced to get up and turn it off.  Limit their access to electronics as the day winds down to get their mind to relax, providing a better night's sleep, making it easier for them to get up in the morning.  

2. To keep bathroom time to a minimum, place a timer inside and set it for 15 minutes. Teenagers are notorious for getting lost in the shower.  Once the timer goes off, time's upperiod. This is great for siblings who share a bathroom.

3. Help your teen navigate their school roster by copying their schedule on a copy machine to fit in a wallet or backpack. They can also keep a copy in their locker.

4. List activities on a large calendar and color-code them. Keep the calendar in a central location in the home for all to see. Use a different colored highlighter for each member of the household.  This is a great way to make sure everyone knows where they have to be and when, as well as assisting parents with carpool schedules.

5. My son never liked sitting at a desk in his bedroom when he was in school.  Determine where your teenager would be prefer to do their homework and study.  It might be a dining room table, kitchen table or even a comfortable couch with a loveseat. The important thing is that they like where they are working and are productive.    

6. Help your teenager develop good time management skills by mapping out a weekly schedule of responsibilities.  If they have a larger project to get done, schedule out blocks of time that will enable them to complete the project on time.  

7.  Provide organizing tools such as a clothes hamper in their bedroom, hooks on the back of the bathroom door for towels, and containers to hold desk supplies, sporting equipment or other items for easy access.

8. Create a chore chart that schedules blocks of time for them to do their own laundry, take out the trash, do some light housekeeping or any other responsibilities you want to assign to them to teach them responsibility and lighten your own load.  

Utilizing physical organizational tools and good time management tools will help your teenager to become an organized and productive individual. 

 

 
Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 24 2016
THE BENEFITS OF RAISING AN ORGANIZED CHILD

Being organized does not just pertain to adults.  It benefits children as well.   

Did you know that you can actually boost your child's confidence, their ability to learn and their maturity level by helping them to create order in their life? 

Being organized is more than just a clean room.  For adults and children alike, it is essential for learning.  If you don't have the materials you need to ace a test or you are surrounded by clutter, it affects your ability to focus.

Organization encourages responsibility.  For children, it can be as simple as cleaning up their toys and putting them into clearly marked containers.  When your child is organized, they become more independent and their frustration level is reduced.  If they know what they want and where to find it, they can do more things on their own, which gives them a great sense of independence and self-esteem.

A few habits is all it takes to help your child develop organizing skills.  There are techniques that work for younger children as well as older children.  

1.  Neatly storing their things:

Younger children can get involved with cleanup. Make it fun by setting a timer and creating a pick-up game that lasts about 10 minutes. If you have more than one child, get the entire family involved.  Get your child used to cleaning up as they go and doing a final sweep at the end of the day.  By the time your child reaches grade school, they will be able to keep their toys organized on their own.  Using simple containers set up by category and labeled with pictures of the type of toy or game will make clean up a breeze. 

When it comes to older children, pointing out their successes will encourage them to do more.  Your grade schooler or tween can clean up toys and games, help clear their dishes off the dinner table, dust and hang up their jacket.  Show them examples of what they are already doing and what else they could also be doing. Make it easy for them to be successful.  When your child sees that they already know how to be neat, the task will feel more doable to them.  

2. Time Management and Routines:  

Younger children do not have a concept of time. However, that does not mean they cannot be taught promptness; it's just a matter of creating routines. For example, every night is "bath, book, bed". If it is verbally stated before the routine is to start and implemented each night, they will get accustomed to staying on schedule. 

Older children need to learn not to procrastinate. This can be taught by requiring your child to lay out their clothes the night before or plan out a long-term school project a week or so in advance.  

3. Completing the task

Younger children can learn this concept as young as 1 year old.  Read them a story from beginning to end at bedtime.  They are taught that things have a beginning, middle and an end. Referring back to what I mentioned above, having your child put away a toy after they play with it before pulling out another toy will teach them task completion, as well.  When they are working on a larger project, like a Lego structure, however, you might decide it's okay to leave it for another time to complete.  This will teach them how to manage long-term projects.

Older children need to learn rules and limits.  Older children get distracted by technology, which is a big hindrence for teens when it comes to completing homework or a chore around the house. Set up tech-free zones in the home and create a quiet place for your child to study. Set time limits as to how long and when they are permitted to use a gaming device or their phone for texting.

Lastly, practice what you preach.  Children learn by example, so be sure to follow the rules when it comes to these areas.  

If you are overwhelmed with your own clutter or your child's, I can help.  I work with busy moms to organize their homes and their time, as well as working with their children to create an organized bedroom or playroom and create time management plans for the family.  Don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your particular clutter issues.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:36 am   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, June 09 2016
THE EVOLUTION REVOLUTION

In a few months, I will be celebrating another birthday.  As I get older and reflect on my life, I recognize how much we, as adults, evolve and change.

Our ideas about how we want to live our lives, our priorities and other decisions we are confronted with as we get older naturally change.

One of the ways we change, and might not recognize, is our priorities.  Think about it.  It is not only about who we socialize with, live with, spend time with, things we want to do or achieve, but the items we feel we want to hold on to.

Our priorities change as to what we want to keep.  

When working with my clients who have gathered items for a long period of time, I find it interesting how we go through those items and they find that some of what they felt was so important to hold on to, is no longer that important.

Sometimes, it's not the item itself, but the number of items we keep.  For example, do we need to hold onto such a large number of a particular item, or is it possible to pare it down to a smaller number which can be appreciated and perhaps still evoke a fond memory of the person it once belonged to? 

Interestingly enough, my son created a Memory Box when his father died. He was six years old at the time. We make a habit of reviewing that Memory Box once a year.  Not only does he get to go down memory lane, but he sometimes finds that there is an item or two that no longer hold the same significance as they once did, and he can part with them.  

I once had a client who had held onto a box of handkerchiefs that belonged to her deceased husband's deceased parent.  When we found the box on a shelf in her coat closet, we opened it up and she looked at the handkerchiefs she had not seen in years.  When I asked her why she had held on to so many, she said because they belonged to her late husband.  I explained that now they belonged to her.  What connection did she have to them?  Did she need to hold on to almost 100 handkerchiefs?  She realized she did not and reduced the box down to ten of her favorite, instead. 

Is it possible that you have items in your home that you have been holding on to for years and have not looked at for a long time that do not carry as much significance as they once did? Have your tastes evolved? 

The next time you are decluttering and organizing your home, take this into consideration.  Are you ready to participate in an "evolution revolution"?  If so, you will find that those items you are saving will take up a lot less room if they are pared down to what means the most to you.

If you need assistance in determining what to keep and what to donate or trash, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:20 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 07 2016
HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?

The other day I heard an oldie on the radio and it prompted me to think about clutter.  Strange, I know, but hear me out.  

Do you know the song "How Long Has This Been Going On?" by Ace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAVl_IJV5eI

I find that I ask this question with so many of my clients when I first speak with them and now, I want to ask you the same question.

Do you have ongoing clutter issues that won't go away?  Do you think your situation can be remedied overnight?  

The fact remains that if your clutter has been accumulating for quite some time - months, even years - it will take some time to eliminate it and get organized.

The good news is, however, that it can be done!   

I know how overwhelming it can be.  Sometimes you feel that it is just easier to ignore it. Is that the real solution?  No!

At some point it needs to be dealt with, so why not now?  

Just imagine what it would be like to walk into a particular room (or perhaps many rooms in your home) and feel that immediate sense of calm.  Eliminating clutter and getting organized can do just that!  

Sometimes it is so overwhelming that you don't know where to start.  Sometimes the answer is to reach out for help and hire a professional.  

You and I both know that if we cannot do something on our own, the best solution is to engage the services of a professional.  I do it!  I hire an electrician, plumber, handyman.  Why? Because I don't always know what I am doing and it will take too long for me to figure it out on my own. Also, I want it done once and I want it done right.

The same applies when it comes to clutter and disorganization. Don't you want it done once and for all and don't you want it done right?  Wouldn't it be great to have someone come in who can provide a new perspective and create a solution that meets your specific needs and provide ideas you might never have thought of before? 

As a professional organizer who has specialized in residential organizing for so long, trust me, I know how to do it once and do it right!

So, ask yourself.  HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?  If your answer is months or even years, and you are ready to get past this obstacle and commit to the process, it's time to reach out for help.  Simply pick up that phone now and contact A Better Space.  You'll be so glad you did!  I would love to provide you with a space that you love. 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:50 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 02 2016
ARTWORK - THE BALANCE BETWEEN BEAUTY AND CLUTTER

As a professional organizer, I work with a lot of very creative people.  Many of my clients have so many creative talents or have a passion for creativity, including artwork.

One of the more common issues that comes up is how and where to display their artwork.  

I love art in many forms and can appreciate the passion to collect it.  However, it can become clutter.

It is very important to keep in mind, when purchasing artwork, that you are able to visualize where it is going to live when it arrives in your home.  

Just like everything else in life, all of it cannot be your favorite.  If you tend to hang everything you own on all of the walls in your home, you are defeating the purpose of featuring the art that you love.  It just becomes clutter.  Artwork needs to be appreciated and it cannot if it is surrounded by lots of other pieces.  It does not stand out from the crowd.  When viewed, you are distracted by all of the other pieces around it.  It is important to hang your artwork sparingly and in a way that complements your decor.  You want to be particular about what you display on your walls

Here are some basic rules to follow:

1.   Use your artwork to balance your room's visual space.  Sometimes large art can feel overwhelming but, if you are aiming for it to be your room's focal point, the rules can change.   Rows of smaller pieces in idential frames and mats make the arrangement a piece of art in itself.  The symmetry draws your eye into the frame itself, emphasizing the art inside.  For a more eclectic arrangement, try mixing and matching size.  Also, aim to keep your art at eye level.  Most people tend to hang their art too high to be truly appreciated.    

2.  Determine the format you wish to use.  Most interior designers airm for a rule of three or an odd number when hanging art arrangements.  Interestingly enough, odd numbered displays tend to feel more balance.  If you choose to go with even numbers, a grid can help balance out the display's visual space.  If you want to make the room look longer, make the display horizontal.  If you want the ceilings to look higher, hang your display vertically. The other alternative is to simply arrange your artwork organically.  Just do what you think looks best, but be sure to plan it out first.  You can arrange the pieces on the floor in front of your wall first, and then move to the wall and mark their places lightly with a pencil. 

3.  Select your style. You can stick with one style, color or artist for a more cohesive look.  This tends to work best in a more refined space with a single framing style.  If you want to be more playful, hang clocks and mirrors on the wall along with other 3 dimentional elements.  Although variety can be interesting, try to find a way to have some elements tie the display together, whether it is frames of the same color or art with the same type of finish.  

4. Tell a story.  A gallery wall should depict who you are and what makes you happy.  Be sure to build your wall with meaningful items.  Start by using one inspirational piece that can be the guide to choosing all of your selections.  You don't necessarily need to put this piece in the center.  Be creative!   

5.  Now you are ready to hang it up.  Groupings look best when the items are spaced close together (approximately 1 to 2 inches apart).  Begin by hanging your middle pieces at eye level (about 5 feet off of the floor) and then build around them. 

Artwork is an easy way to enhance your home decor if it is done correctly and does not end up looking like clutter on the walls.

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:57 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 09 2015
WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?

I have been working with clients for over 11 years, and over the course of that time, I have spoken with hundreds and hundreds of people.  

Although I have been able to help so many people over the years, sadly, there are still so many who chose not to move forward and get organized.  Are you one of them? 

When it comes right down to it, it's not the money nor the time involved that is used as an excuse to not move forward.  If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it.

The real reason is fear.  There are so many reasons that fear gets in the way.  Here are some that I think are most common.

1.  Fear of losing the memory if you let go of something.  I always say the memory will remain in your head and in your heart.  Taking a picture can help remedy this, as well.  

2.  Being afraid you will upset the person who gave you something that you are not particularly fond of.  I call that "Gift Guilt".  Why not pass that "something" onto someone else who can make better use of it and enjoy it instead of storing it somewhere, unused.  

3.  Envisioning that it will be difficult to make changes in the way you do things and have to build all new habits.  It is not as difficult as you might think.  I make it a point to provide solutions that are customized to my clients' particular style, so the changes feel more natural.

4.  Focusing more on what it will cost - in time, money or effort.  The value in getting organized quickly becomes obvious and outways the cost.  Investing in yourself is invaluable.  Making positive changes can last a lifetime.   

5.  Feeling embarrassed to show anyone, including a professional such as myself, the fact that you live in such a cluttered or disorganized home.  From the first time that we meet, my clients recognize that I am non-judgmental.  I find that it is not as bad as they think it is.  That is because my focus is on the potential of a given space and formulating a plan of action to provide "a better space" that we can envision for a particular room or an entire home.  Although I do see the present condition, I can see "the forest through the trees"!  

6.  Being afraid of letting go because you think you will end up needing that item again some day. I call that "someday syndrome" and explain how that can be detrimental. 

7.  You have a fear of failure.  You think that your attempts to get organized won't work. On the contrary, the systems that I put into place do work because they are so easy to maintain.  Again, that is because they are customized, so they are a natural solution that meet your specific needs and coincide with how you function.   

Which of these sound familiar to you? What are you afraid of?

On a day to day basis, living in fear only results in people remaining in a cluttered environment.  

As we work together to create longlasting results, I spend time coaching my clients and get them past their fears.  This is what creates the positive changes in their lives that they can experience for years to come.  

Unfortunately, some never experience that change because of their overwhelming fear. Are you familiar with the quote by Albert Einstein: "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"? 

If you want different results, you have to do things differently and that involves change. Admittedly, the fear of the unknown can be scary, but with the proper guidance from a professional organizer, such as myself, can you past your fears and onto a much more organized and happy life that is much less stressful.

We have all been there.  I have certainly gotten past fears stepped out of my own comfort zone throughout my life, so I know how it feels.  Getting to the other side of fear, however, provides a profound sense of relief and freedom.  Opportunities open up when you open yourself up to change.  

This holds true when you let go of the obstacle of fear in relation to getting organized. What waits for you on the other side is peace, serenity, time, room to breathe, reduced stress and control of your surroundings. It's so freeing!  

If you want a life without clutter, you need to know that it is possible if you just get past your fears.  You simply need to take action!  Take that first step and don't be afraid to reach out for help. I am here for you.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:20 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 01 2015
SO, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO, EXACTLY?

Most people these days understand what a Professional Organizer does.  We have come a long way from the days when people thought we were a cleaning service or an interior designer.  We have magazines, newspaper articles, social media and the like to thank for that.  Over the years, since I began my business in 2004, you cannot miss seeing tips on how to eliminate clutter, get organized, set up a garage sale, etc.  

However, I still get the question from time to time "So, what is it that you do exactly?".  

I thought this might be an opportunity to explain in greater the detail just exactly what a Professional Organizer, such as myself, does to help my clients get and stay organized, and the advantages of hiring a professional, as opposed to going it alone.

First of all, you do not need to be a packrat or a hoarder to need the services of a Professional Organizer.  Although most professional organizers are skilled in these areas, there are so many other areas that we help with.

For example, there are those that are overwhelmed, not sure how to begin, too stressed out, too limited with their time causing an organizing project to take them too long to complete on their own, unable to envision a room or an entire home that is de-cluttered and organized, or in need of new ideas for space planning, interior redesign, paper management systems, tools for better time management.    

Sometimes, a husband and wife will hire a professional organizer because one of them tends to be neater than the other and is frustrated.  They cannot motivate their spouse to "get onboard".  A third party like me can be objective and provide an unbiased, new perspective of the situation and find the middle ground that works for both spouses, relieving the strain this issue is causing in the marriage.

What you see on TV shows such as Hoarders or other reality TV shows sometimes provide a distorted idea of what is involved. In reality, your clutter problems cannot be solved in a 30 minute episode.  

There is more to being a professional organizer than just setting up three containers marked "Keep", "Toss" and "Donate" and shopping for product that will magically transform your space into a home that looks like a designers catalog. The key is "comfort".  Providing a space or a home that you enjoy spending time in is the goal.    

A misconception is that you are "lazy" if you cannot get organized on your own.  I hear this time and time again from women who tell me that their husbands cannot understand why they just can't do it themselves.  I always say, if they could, they would have by now.  

As a Professional Organizer, I am trained and skilled to help people overcome the obstacles they are facing and create order in a comfortable setting and put in organizational systems that will work in the long term.  I always provide customized options to meet my clients' specific needs.  I have many resources available to me that I share with my clients, including contractors, organizing products, donation sites, etc. that they might not be aware of.  I help make those decisions about "what" to keep, trash and donate when my clients are not sure.  

One of the biggest benefits of working with a Professional Organizer is their ability to set up a system that will prevent you from falling back into old habits that no longer serve you.  My focus is not on the "stuff", but the person and tapping into what works best for them.  

Sometimes, I work with clients who are preparing for change in their life - whether it be a new baby, empty nesters, new business, downsizing and staging a home for sale.  The list goes on.    

Organizing is more complex than just "picking up your stuff" and paying someone to haul it out of your house. It's about dealing with tangle items, time management issues and the anxiety of finding a solution. 

These are some of the top reasons that I am contacted to help get people organized:

1. They don't know how to get organized or where to start.

2.  They don't have the time to spend doing it all on their own.

3.  They want that accountability partner and motivator to keep them on track to get the job done.

This is not a situation where, like on TV, you leave, I do all the work, and you come back to a big reveal.  We are a team and we work together to provide you with the best solutions that meet your specific needs.  No television show, book or magazine article can provide that.  

That is what A BETTER SPACE provides and now, you no longer have to ask "So, what is it you do, exactly?"

If you are ready to get past that feeling of overwhelm and frustration that the clutter or lack of systems in your home which is keeping you from moving forward, don't hesitate to contact me.  I am more than happy to speak with you about your particular sitation and provide you with solutions that work.  

You deserve A BETTER SPACE!

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 17 2015
THIS IS A WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM WE CAN ALL BE SUCCESSFUL AT

So, now that the kids are back at school and the Fall season is just days away, many of us are looking to shed a few of those pounds we gained over the Summer.  Blame it on the Summer treats such as ice cream, those barbecues and parties with friends and family and perhaps lack of exercise due to the hot temperatures outside. However it happened, you are considering going on a weight loss program.

Well, I have a weight loss program we can all be successful at.  Are you ready?

I would like to see you shed the "pounds" of clothing in your closets and dressers!  Yes, you heard me.  You can loss pounds.  

So many of my clients have an abundance of clothing in their wardrobe.  It is easy to put on the pounds (of clothing) but, just like other weight loss programs, not always as easy to shed them.  

We go to the store or go online and start shopping.  We come home with those new items we just can't live without and, boom, over time, our wardrobes grow to the point where we no longer know what we have or no longer wear all the clothing we have.   

Do you know that statistics show that we wear twenty (20%) percent of our clothes eighty (80%) percent of the time? That means that eighty (80%) percent of our clothing we purchase and never wear or keep and no longer wear but keep it anyway.  I find that astonishing!  

I guarantee that if you went through your wardrobe, you could identify "pounds" of clothing that you've bought and have never worn or purchased a long time ago and no longer wear.

I challenge you to see how many pounds you can shed just by going through your wardrobe and eliminating those items.

This is a guaranteed weight loss program you can be successful at, and reach your goal very quickly.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, I am here to help.  I can help you to go through your wardrobe in a systematic way to help you make choices about what to keep and what to donate or toss (or in some instances, consign) so that you can have a wardrobe you make use of and enjoy. I will help to create a wardrobe that fits your current lifestyle.  It will feel like a brand new wardrobe!

Let's eliminate about eighty (80%) percent of your weight when it comes to your clothing.  Just imagine how good that will feel!

Contact me if you want to discuss your particular situation.  I want nothing more than for you to be successful! 

Take the first step to shedding some pounds today!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:57 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, August 05 2015
PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS OF CLUTTER

You might not realize that you are living among clutter because you see it every day. Sometimes we cannot see what is right in front of us because we have become accustomed to it being there.  

It is possible that you might need to pay closer attention to the signs of clutter in your home. Here are some of the signs:

1.  Your guest bedroom requires that you move junk around so your guests have a place to stay. More often than not, because your guest room is used infrequently, it becomes a dumping ground for items that do not have a home elsewhere. The day comes when guests are planning on arriving and you need to provide space for them to stay. All of a sudden, it's a race to get the room in order for their arrival.  Learn to put things where they belong and not just throw them into this room.

2.  You know you have an extra set of car keys, but you can never find them.  If you have trouble finding that extra set of keys or any other everyday item, it's a sign that its time to get organized. Your small items might not have a place of their own. Locate a place in your home where the item is used frequently and dedicate that spot to the item. Be sure to teach the other members of your household to put the item back into this spot after they have used it.  

3.  You find that you are having to constantly return home when trying to get out the door in the morning.  You walk out the door to get the kids to school or you are running out the door to get to work and you have to run back inside for your cell phone or the kids' homework. This is a sign of disorganization. Plan what you need the night before and set up a station by the front door where school bags, purses, keys and anything else you need can be placed. Use a sticky note on the front door to remind you of those last minute things you need, such as school lunches, etc.

4.  You are paying late fees and interest charges every month.  Think about what it is costing you each year that you are paying those annoying late fees and interest charges because you do not have a system in place to pay your bills on time. Simply set up a bill paying schedule and designate a place for your mail. Create a consistent time to sit down and pay your bills each week or every two weeks to avoid this situation.  

5.  You never seem to have time for yourself.  It is vital, no matter how busy your life is, to create some "me time". You get up early and go to bed late. You are exhausted. Take a breath. It is okay to schedule blocks of time for yourself on your calendar.  It is a great time management tool. You need to create some time to do the things you enjoy doing, whether it's reading a book, taking a yoga class or even getting together with some friends for a few hours. Life is about balance; it's not all about work and getting things done. "Me Time" can be so empowering.

Take a look around. Pay attention to the signs of clutter in your home and in your life.  

If you are having difficulty with any aspect of getting organized, feel free to contact me. I am here for you! I can show you how to eliminate the clutter in your home and in your life.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, May 10 2015
S P A C E - The Final Frontier!

Okay, let's get this straight! I am not a Star Trek fan.  Sorry, but it's just not my thing!  However, S P A C E is something I can definitely relate to. Especially when it comes to getting organized.  Finding a good home for your things is the final frontier, the final goal. Interestingly enough - S P A C E is an acronym.  

It stands for Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize.   This is vital to getting organized.  Let me explain.  

1. Sort - When organizing a room, you want to go through the things in that room and determine whether they fit the theme of the room.  For example, you should not be keeping children's toys in a master bedroom.  Out they go!  Do you have a purpose for the item and do you like it?

2. Purge - Now that you have identified the items that do not align with the theme of the room, either throw them away, donate them, sell them or move them to another room in the home where they will serve their purpose.  Yes!  Get your kids' toys out of the master bedroom and put them in the play room!   

3. Assign - All of your "stuff" needs to find a home.  When things don't have a home, you don't know where to put them and they end up laying around, on top of a counter, a desk, a table, the floor, etc.  The place you select needs to be convenient.  Think about it.  If it is difficult to put away, chances are you will not put it away.  Think of where you would logically look for that item - that is where it belongs!  (Your answer might not be the same as someone else's, and that's okay. Just be sure to let others in the household know where they are being stored.)  

4. Containerize - The organizing product industry is extremely lucrative for a reason.  Why?  It's simply - because things need to be containerized and stored. Make good use of drawers, storage bins and shelves in your home.  Put like things together by how you use them, not how someone else tells you they should be used or stored.  Make sure the container fits the amount of items being stored, it should not be too large or too small.  

5. Equalize - Start using the rooms in your home for their intended purpose.  Use the bedroom for sleep and relaxation.  Do not use it to store items you want to hide from guests when they announce they are stopping by!  Use your home office to pay your bills, file your paperwork and be productive.  

Keep these concepts in mind and if any room in your home is not working for you, change it!   

Do you want to have A BETTER SPACE?  If so, contact me.  I am here to help.  I can help you to create the room you envision by eliminating the clutter, getting it organized and putting in customized systems that work!  

Yes, SPACE is, in fact, the final frontier - it is my goal for getting you organized, once and for all!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 24 2015
IT'S TIME TO SPRING CLEAN YOUR WARDROBE

Spring is finally here.  The cold temps seem to want to hang around, however.  The time is now to start Spring cleaning your wardrobe and start putting your Winter wardrobe away.  The warmer temps are just around the corner, I promise.  

Do you have bulky items hanging in your closet that are taking up the space you could use for lighter weight clothing? 

Do you have items that you bought and intended to wear this past Winter season but never did?

Are your drawers stuffed with articles of clothing that are now too warn out to be used again next year?  

Do you have pieces in your wardrobe that no longer fit?  

Now is the time to clear them out.  

Here are some steps you can take to Spring clean your wardrobe:  

1.  Start in your closet.  Eliminate the articles of clothing that should be thrown away because they are now worn out. 

2.  Eliminate articles of clothing in your closet that you did not wear this past Winter season that can be donated.  Bag them up and make an appointment with yourself to either have them picked up or dropped off at a Thrift Store or non-profit organization that takes clothing.  

3.  Pull out and store bulky items from your closet elsewhere which you think will take up too much space in your closet.  Clothes need to breathe so make sure they have enough room in your closet to do so.  You can use an under-the-bed plastic container, a cedar chest, a garment bag or plastic 18 gallon container for storage in your attic or basement.

4.  Take out the items that no longer fit you.  If your weight tends to go up and down, store that size in a container.  Keep only the clothes in your closet that fit you now.  You can always retrieve them later if need be.  Do not keep more than one size larger and one size smaller.  You are not a department store!  

5.  Go through your drawers in your dresser and do the same thing.

6.  Pull out clothing that you might have stored away during the Winter months for use in warmer weather.   

These steps will get you ready for Spring so that when those warmer temps hit, you will be ready with a wardrobe that suits your needs.

If you are overwhelmed and need help, don't hesitate to contact me.  I am here to help.  

Happy Spring!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:31 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 17 2015

This blog is geared for those who have already gone through the process of eliminating their clutter and have organized their home and/or their life.  

It is very important that once you go through this process, you are able to easily maintain it.  Of course, from time to time, we need to tweak some areas, but it should not become a large project.  That would defeat the purpose of the work you have already done.  

Maintenance can come in many forms.  When checks bounce or bank accounts are overdrawn, it's because we didn't balance our checking account properly to always know what we have available to use.  When we run out of clothes to wear, it's because we failed to do the laundry.  

Home and office clutter tends to result in the "no maintenance" approach to living.  It tends to be the "toss, pile and deal with it later" approach that gets us in trouble.  Avoid dumping and you will avoid procrastinating (putting off what can be done now for later).

It is not difficult to maintain your "organizing mojo".  If this is a problem for you, here are some tips to help:

1. Put items away in a pre-designated location, each and every time.  When you initially organized a particular space, such as a drawer, closet, shelf or an entire room, you created places for your items that should make the most sense for them to be.  If you should discover that the place you selected is not working for you and you "dump" your stuff elsewhere, I recommend that you re-evaluate the location you selected to see if it is, in fact, the right place for the item to be.  If not, change it.  

2. Some items require more maintenance than others.  Items such as paperwork, dishes, food items, clothing, etc. are examples of items that might require daily maintenance.  If systems are not created to control your clutter, you end up creating more work for yourself in the long run. It could be as simple as creating a basket that is designated for magazines near the coffee table in the living room and making a point to read the magazines on a weekly basis.  Clearing off your desk at the end of each day will help to control your clutter and avoid creating a larger project for later.   It is vital that you have the right organizing tools in place.  

3.  Make it convenient.  If you commonly use a particular item, store it in a place that is easily accessible.  Less oftenly used items can be stored high up on shelves or in a storage area as opposed to the main living space.  

4.  Create a routine.  On a daily basis, schedule 15 minutes or so at the end of the day to put away items that are laying around. Sort your mail daily.  Do your filing weekly.  Determine what routines work best for you and your family and stick to them.  

5. Consider hiring help.  If the idea of maintaining your organizing mojo is overwhelming to you, consider hiring someone to help you. From time to time, your needs change.  Items have a way of building up in the home and you need to bring some balance back into your life.  Consider hiring a professional organizer who can tweak certain areas of your home or office to get it back to the way it should be or create a new, updated system for you and your family to help you regain balance.  

Remember, your home or office does not need to be perfect.  It needs to be functional and feel comfortable and maintaining your organizing mojo can help make that happen.   

Contact me if you want to talk further about maintaining your "organizing mojo".  Have a great week!   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 09 2015
GOING DOWN MEMORY LANE

Have you heard of the concept of having a Memory Box?  I personally feel that everyone should have one (or a few).  Everyone goes through life and gathers fond memories of people they have met, places they have gone or things they have done.  You should have a designated place to store those memories, hence...A Memory Box.

The first time I created a Memory Box was back in 1998 following the passing of my husband the previous year.  To this day, it contains fond memories of photos, letters and other items I collected during our 15 year relationship.  I also created one for my son who was 7 at the time to contain his fond memories of his relationship with his father.  Both of us open up our boxes from time to time and go down Memory Lane together, reflecting on our special times with my late husband and his father.     

Memory Boxes are great, however, there are guidelines you should follow:

1. Store your own memories in your own box.  This box is not intended to be shared with others.  It is personal.  Moms often want to store their kids' memories along with their own in one box.  Keep in mind that you have your own memories of your kids and your kids have their own memories and they should be kept in separate Memory Boxes.  Do not co-mingle!  

2. Be selective.  Just like anything else that you keep, "everything cannot be your favorite".  Using an appropriate-sized memory box is great for setting boundaries as to how much you keep.  When a box gets too full, it is a sign that you are saving too much and you need to go through the box and eliminate what is not longer relevant.  Pick your favorites!

3. Do an annual review.  Contrary to popular belief, what was important at one point in your life might not be as important now. Your memories and emotional attachment to things change.  I have found that over the course of the years, what was once so important and relevant is not so much any more, and that's okay. This is especially true with children.  That macaroni art from Kindergarten was so amazing when it came through the door ten times that year, but now, your child is in 6th grade, and that macaroni art is not so incredible anymore - at least not all ten!  I highly suggest that you go through your Memory Box once a year and do a review.  (For kids in grade school, I recommend the end of the school term.) Make room for the new memories that you will gather in the coming year.     

4. Don't confuse a Memory Box with a random storage container.  Your Memory Box is not intended to be a place to put things that you don't know where else they should be stored.  It is not to be used as a catch all.  If you have different categories for memories such as I do (I have one strictly relating to my relationship with my late husband and another more current box of memories), that is fine.  Don't keep memories that evoke sad or bitter times in your life.  You want to be sure they are "positive memories" that evoke happy times in your life.  

I encourage you to create a Memory Box for you and every member of your family.  Store them in a place that is accessible for those times when you want to go down Memory Lane and relive those happy times in your life.  

Remember, it's a Memory Box, not a random storage container.  Fill your box with happy memories that you will enjoy for years to come!

Wishing you an organized week filled with fond memories!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:50 am   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 02 2015
WHEN THE ORGANIZING TRAIN HAS DERAILED

Have you found during your lifetime that you have been organized and other times not?  It is very common but can be frustrating. When your organizing train has derailed, how do you get back on track?  

Here are a few recommendations:

1.  When feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and just not sure where to begin, don't try to take on the whole project at one time. Make a list of the things you need to do to accomplish a task or project and do one step at a time.  Stay focused on a particular task and it will get done before you know it.  

2.  Get the family onboard. Have a family meeting that focuses on the tasks that need to be accomplished and determine who will be responsible for those tasks and when.  You can set a time each day for everyone to help get organized.  For example, at 7:00 p.m. every night, everyone will spend 15 minutes putting things where they belong.  Creating a reward system for the kids is a great motivational tool.  

3. Taking that sentimental journey can cause the organizing train to be delayed. If you find that you are having trouble parting with belongings, keep in mind that holding onto belongings for the wrong reasons can create clutter.  There is no need to suffer from "Gift Guilt".  Set a timer to go through the items in small segments.  Determine what is most important to you and only keep those items that mean something special to you.  If you have inherited items, be sure that they mean as much to you as the person who passed them onto you intended. When your emotions are involved, it can be more difficult to part with items but be selective. Considering donating the items you choose not to keep to a charity so someone else can make use of them.  

4.  Stop drowning in paper.  Your computer can be a huge paper clutter eliminating machine!  Instead of a large paper filing system, consider purchasing a scanner and scan documents into your computer.  Setting a limit on how much space you allow for certain paperwork will help, as well.  Paper is something that is constantly coming through the door.  You need to create a system that can easily be maintained.  You need to go through your mail and other paperwork on a regular basis.  

5.  Someday Syndrome.  Do you keep telling yourself "I will get to it someday"?  If so, you have what I call "Someday Syndrome". If you find that you are having trouble getting started with becoming organized, perhaps you should consider contacting a professional organizer.  A good organizer will help you identify the reason you are collecting and hanging onto your stuff and can customize a plan to get you onto the train to success!  

There is no need for your organizing train to continue to be derailed.  Get back on track.  If you are having difficulty doing it on your own, I am here to help.  Contact me and let's talk about what is going on and I can explain how I can help.

In the meantime, have a great day!

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:12 am   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 18 2015

Usually it is fairly easy to get rid of certain types of clutter:  food storage containers with missing lids, broken items that you don't intend to repair, clothing that has not been worn in years, etc.  

However, when it comes to items that you have inherited, that can be another story.  

The rule of thumb is that you don't need to keep something just because it belonged to a beloved relative.  If it's something you don't like and don't use, and you've stored it in the back of a closet, in your garage, basement, or anywhere else (including a off-site storage unit) for years, it's not serving anyone.  If it is sitting on a shelf, a table or any other flat surface and collecting dust, you are not honoring that possession and it should go elsewhere.   

Are you really honoring the memory of that person if the item is not being used? It's much better to get the item back into use, even if the person using it is not you.  Keep in mind that your relative's intention was not to burden you with their things.  They want you to enjoy the item.

This is similar to what I call "gift guilt".  We believe that if someone gives us something, we have to keep it.  Not true!  If you don't like something that they gave you, either return it to the store where it was purchased or pass it on to someone else who will make use of it.  Perhaps another family member would appreciate having the inherited item.  Perhaps you can sell it and use the money for something you want.  Give that item a whole new life by passing it on to someone else who can make it part of their home.  

If you want to remember the item, take a picture of it before you pass it on.  It will take up a lot less room that way.  

I have worked with numerous clients over the years who were holding onto furniture, jewelry, dishes, handkerchiefs and knick knacks because they were given to them.

My theory is that the point of holding onto items that you have inherited is to remember the person. Having 100 handkerchiefs in a container that you never open and look at is not necessary in order remember them.  I think that keeping a few items or collectibles makes more sense if they are special to you.  If you hold onto all of them, just because, I do not believe you are honoring them in the way you should.     

Sometimes, we are holding onto items that we have inherited from our adult children because they moved out of the home and left them behind or they do not have enough room to store the items where they live.  I have seen this happen time and again and the items end up staying where they are and not being used.  This is another form of inheritance, by default.  

If the items are taking up space that you want for another purpose and you have the items for a long time, you might decide it's time for a change.  Send pictures of the items to that person and let them know you will donating any items they don't specifically tell you they want.  Be sure to include a deadline in the not-too-distant future for responding to you.  Set a deadline for them to pick up the items or when you intend to have them mailed or shipped to them. 

Setting deadlines to accomplish this is vital to your success.  

Remember, your home is not a storage unit for others.  Honor your home by creating an environment that is condusive to your style of living and that brings you joy.  Do not inherit clutter!

If you are overwhelmed and need help deciding what to keep, what to toss and what to donate or sell, contact me.  I am here to help.  

In the meantime, have a great week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 31 2014

Happy New Year!  Are you ready for 2015?

This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home.  I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.  

This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.  

Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!  

OUT WITH THE OLD

1. De-clutter
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.

Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.

When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.

2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.

3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.

4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!

5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.

6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.

7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.

Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!

8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.

9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.

10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.

All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.


 

IN WITH THE NEW!

1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.

2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.

3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.

4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.

5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.

6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!

7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.

8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.

9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!

OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!

So, what do you think?  I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house.  I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone!  Go through this list and do the best that you can.  Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.  

Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, December 20 2014
IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so it is said.  

Granted, we get together with family and friends, donate our time or make monetary contributions to help others and think about all that we have and take time to appreciate those around us.

However, I have to wonder whether it is "the most wonderful time of the year". 

I personally think it is the most stressful time of the year.  

Right around Thanksgiving, a frenzy begins.  We begin to plan holiday meals, go to or have parties, make lists of people to buy gifts for and then go shopping for them, decorate our homes, send out holiday cards, cook large meals, bake cookies, cakes and bread, invite friends and family into our homes.  It can be downright exhausting!

Some of us plan ahead.  We create a plan and meet our deadlines well in advance.  Others, well....not so much.  Many of us wait until the last minute and then run around like chickens without heads, trying to get everything done in time.  

We are only days away from Christmas and so many of us are just getting started.  We are out at the malls and stores trying to figure out what to get everyone and dealing with crowded parking lots and long lines and perhaps picked over merchandise.  I always wonder why people put themselves through all of this. Talk about stress!

Can you truly enjoy the holidays when you are exhausted and frazzled?  It doesn't sound like fun, does it?

Although it certainly is a magical time of year for kids and adults alike, there is something to be said about the commercialized portion of the holidays.  We feel obligated at times to purchase gifts for people that simply just add to their clutter.

Think about how many times you might have received a gift from someone that you bring home, put away and never look at again.  You feel you can't get rid of it because someone gave it to you.

For me, personally, it is more about spending time with those I love and slowing down to appreciate them. Granted, I like gifts as much as the next person, but if you ask me what I really want this holiday season, it's the opportunity to hang out with friends and family and tell them how much I appreciate them being in my life.  It's about giving joy to others.  That, to me, is what the holidays are for.  

So, perhaps next time around, we can all make it a point to plan in advance, purchase less and have more time to spend with those we love.  Less clutter, less stress and more joy will make this the most happiest time of the year.  

I wish all of you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!  See you again in 2015.  

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 18 2014

I am curious.  What are your shopping habits?  

Are you the type of person who goes to the grocery store or the department store with a list of things to purchase and sticks with it? Or, are you the type of person who goes without a list and has no idea what you are going to purchase and just "sees what happens"?Did you know that the latter choice is one of the contributors to clutter?  

Interestingly enough, I have found that most men are the type that go to the store, get what they need and leave.  They tend not to be the brousing type.  I know there are exceptions.  Not to stereo-type but when it comes to sports equipment, cars, motorcycles tools or other hobby-related items, you might just catch them brousing in a store and coming home with more than they intended.

Women, on the other hand, are generally "shoppers" in the true sense of the word.  For the most part, they are the ones that come home with items they had no intention of purchasing when they first entered the store.  Whether its food, clothing, decorative items, they fall victim to the enticement of those "bright, shiny objects".

Remember, a deal is only a deal if it is going to save you money on an item you use.  Don't use a coupon on an item you don't use just because you have a coupon.   

These days, it is especially easy to shop "without intent", thanks to the internet.  We are bombarded with pop-up ads and can easy brouse a site of interest.  Before we know it, UPS is at our door with items we chose simply by clicking a few buttons.  Painless, right? It might not be painless at first, but over time, these purchases can become clutter.

I cannot tell you how many times my clients complain about having "too much stuff" and the feeling of overwhelm.  A lot of times, it has to do with purchasing items without intent.  

I coach my clients to set healthy boundaries for the items they possess and how to make smart, intentional choices so that clutter can be eliminated and balance can return to the home.

With the holidays quickly approaching, we will all be doing more shopping.  Do yourself a favor.  Shop with intent and keep the clutter at bey.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed with your clutter and don't know where to begin, I can help.  I will bring balance back to your home so you can enjoy what you do have and what makes sense to keep.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:56 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Monday, October 20 2014
PRESENTS VS. PRESENCE

Now that we are well into Fall with Halloween just around the corner, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah will quickly follow.   Before you know it, we will be participating in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping.  

I would like you to keep something very important in mind.  

I recently spoke to a Moms Club at their monthly meeting and my topic was about organizing the kids.  One of the points that I made, which is so relevant at this time of year, is that when it comes to gift giving, you need to remember the concept of "presents vs. presence".   

Did you know that the United States has about 3 percent of the world's children, yet U.S. families annually purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally.  This tends to happen because there are so many working parents.  They now have less time to spend with their kids so they tend to shower them with toys to compenstion for that perceived "loss of quality time".  Other relatives, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles can also contribute to this statistic.  

There is a difference between "presents" and "presence".  

Presents are great, but in excess, can cause clutter.  

Don't spoil your child by providing too many presents.  There are other alternatives.  Have you considered asking grandparents or other family member to purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy?  Try to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothing or other items that are in excess of what is reasonable.

Relatives and friends tend to want to give "things" to your children to show them how much they love them.  However, they need to understand that, although it is appreciated, their time is more precious than possessions.  Too many possessions tend to lead to clutter.

I once worked with a hoarder who used to purchase toys and clothes for her grandchildren and ship them out three times a week.  Can you imagine what that house looked like with all of those "presents" arriving at their door?  I was able to get her to understand that her time with the grandkids meant so much more to them that the gifts they were receiving.  She ended up taking a trip to visit them and spent about 10 days of quality time with them instead.  Now that, in my opinion, is a "gift".  

Before the holiday season gets under way, why not take some time to contact those relatives and friends and express this concept in a tactful way so as not to upset the gift giver.  Having alternative ideas in mind ahead of time will guide them in the right direction and help you reduce the clutter of too many possessions in your home.  Consider doing the same for those you love.  Give your time instead. 

Remember when gift giving this year - "presents" vs. "presence".  Why not choose "presence".

If you are overwhelmed with the toys, clothes and other items that have accumulated in your home, don't hesitate to contact me.  I will help you bring balance back into your home so you can enjoy time spent with your family instead of stressing over the clutter.  

In the meantime, have a great day!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:37 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 02 2014
TURN SPOOKY INTO SPOOKTACULAR THIS FALL

Wow, it's been quite a month here at A BETTER SPACE.  I have had the pleasure of working with some new clients and continuing projects with existing clients as well as doing a vendor event at a Senior Activity Center and an interview that will air on You Tube next month where I discuss time management tools.  (Stay tuned for details coming soon!) 

My latest project was to work with a client who is relocating out of state and needed to declutter her basement.  She had lived in her home for the past 8 years.  We spent two days going through her basement and determining what to keep for herself, what to give to family members, what to sell at an upcoming garage sale and what was trash.  

The basement had not had much attention in the past and some of the boxes we identified had not been opened the entire time she had lived in this house.  They came with her 8 years ago and were never looked at again, until now.  (This is more common than you think.)  The basement was filled with cobwebs and dead bugs as can be common in many unfinished basements.  

I am happy to report that after two days, the basement is now decluttered, the trash is ready for pick-up and my client feels so much better after getting through a project that was too overwhelming for her to tackle on her own.  She has now identified what she can sell at her upcoming garage sale and looks forward to making some money to put towards her moving expenses.  She is now able to sleep better at night knowing that her basement went from "Spooky" to "Spooktacular" in just a matter of two days.  

Fall is a great time of year to eliminate the clutter in your home.  Think about how much better you would feel if you were able to eliminate what you no longer need or want, whether it is by throwing things away, donating them to a local charity, passing items onto family members who would enjoy them or selling them at a garage sale or perhaps online.    

Imagine how good you will feel when you turn your home from "Spooky" to "Spooktacular" before Halloween!  Pick a room in your home to work on and get started now!  

If you need any assistance in getting past your feeling of overwhelm and want to get that project done once and for all, don't hesitate to contact me.  As always, I am here to help and I would love nothing more than to help you make your home "Spooktacular"! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:18 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 15 2014

Tonight I am being interviewed as part of a series called "Clearing The Clutter Inside & Out".  I will be speaking about time management.  (The interview will go viral in November on You Tube so stay tuned for more details in the coming month on where you will be able to view the interview.)

One of the key points that I will be making during this interview is about a tiny little word that has so much power behind it.  It is so fundamental that when children first learn how to talk, it is one of the first words they learn how to say (and once they learn it, they use it often!).  The word I am speaking about is the word "No".  

I sometimes think that as we get older we forget to use it and are told, perhaps, not to use it. I, however, strongly believe that using the word "no" when appropriate, is a great time management tool.  It provides balance.

We have a tendency to overbook ourselves, take on too many tasks and say "yes" to everything.  We forget that it is okay to say "no" when it is something that is going to over-extend ourselves.   A lot of times, we feel guilty about turning down something, whether it is a social engagement, a large project or other commitment that will stretch our time too far.  

When you are thinking "Yes, bring it on!", step back and consider your decision before actually saying "Yes".    Examine your schedule and see if you have the time, the energy or even want to do what is being asked of you.  Contrary to popular belief, you have more control over your time that you think.  

Learning to say "no" without guilt when you need to is perfectly fine.  In turn, asking for help when you need it is perfectly fine. Admitting to yourself that you do need some help does not make you a lesser person.  We all need help from time to time.  

I guarantee that when you learn to incorporate this tiny, yet powerful word into your life, you will gain a sense of freedom and joy in knowing that you are making the right decisions to stay in balance.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities, clutter in your home, your head, or your life in general, don't hesitate to give me a call.  I am here to help.

In the meantime, have a great week!      

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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    Phone: (215)491-5193
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