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Wednesday, January 04 2017

When was the last time you looked around your home?  I mean, when was the last time you looked closely at your possessions and evaluated them?

When we have lived in the same home for a long period of time, we tend to not see the clutter that is "hiding in plain sight".

Our homes can have everything in its place and still be cluttered.  Some of those items which are well organized are actually things we can do without.  However, they go unnoticed.  

One example might be an old music system.  So many of us listen to music these days online and have downloaded our CD's onto our computer or an ipod and we no longer pull out a CD to listen to our favorite tunes.  So why are we holding onto those CD's?

Another example are books.  When was the last time you looked at your collection?  Perhaps your taste has changed.  Perhaps you have read a certain book several times and will not be reading them again. Perhaps you got some books as gifts and felt bad about getting rid of them.  Perhaps you now have a Kindle or other electronic reader and use it now, instead of reading a physical book. So now, they are just taking up space on a bookshelf, collecting dust. 

How about those collectibles?  I see this all the time when working with my clients.  Whether its stuffed animals, antique model cars, Precious Moments, etc., they might be collecting dust and no longer appreciated.  When was the last time you really looked at your collection(s) and appreciated them?

Other types of hidden clutter that might not be in plain sight but still are accumulating could be pantry items you never use, holiday decorations stored in a bin you never pull out and most commonly, old paperwork. (I once met someone who had old paystubs dating back to the 1960's which he kept in his attic.)  

Sometimes we have clutter we purposely chose to hide. Many people have never-given gifts hiding out in the back of a closet or on shelves in a basement.  Some have gifts they received and feel guilty about getting rid of. 

Although this hidden clutter might not seem as problematic as the more obvious clutter, it can be worth tackling.

Selling some of those items will give you financial benefit while making someone else happy who wants to use them.

Keeping your spaces uncluttered makes it easier to clean, easier to move items around and easier to find storage space for the things we really do want to keep.

So, what clutter are you hiding in plain sight?

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:22 am   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 18 2013

Finally, Spring has arrived and with it Spring Fever.  It's a time for fresh starts.  For me, I am moving up.  I am taking my office space from the basement which has no natural light and moving upstairs to a spare bedroom.  This room has soft neutral tones on the walls and a big window that provides a nice view and, best of all, that natural light I desire. 

I ordered new furniture that will provide me with more room in which to work.  It is expected to arrive in about four or five weeks.  In the meantime, I have contacted my handyman who is going to install a new ceiling fan/light fixture and I am in the midst of arranging the room so it is condusive to my productivity.

One of my passions is books and I love to surround myself with them.  They make me feel warm and cozy.  I love to hold a book in my hands and feel the paper's texture and get lost in the pages.  I am not a fan of Kindle for this reason - just a personal choice. 

When I was doing space planning for my new office space, I decided to incorporate two bookcases in the room just for my leisure reading.  I love to see my collection of novels yet to be read - it is quite extensive. 

However, I am aware, as you should be, that there is such a thing as book clutter.  Piles of books laying around on a coffee table in your living room, on an end table in your bedroom, on your desk in your home office or anywhere on the floor is clutter. 

The author of the blog Epic Write summed up the complex relationship she has with books in her post "Show Me Your Book Clutter": 

            "The problem is I have so many books I want to read.  Or, that I need to  read...Aside from my cluttered side table, I have digital and paper clutter where I have recorded books I want to read.  From my "wants" list on Goodreads.com to titles scribbed on scraps of paper, I am overwhelmed with the amount of books I will get to someday.  even with feeling almost buried by it all, I have no desire to change.  I love books.  I want to see books everywhere." 

For me, I do not want to feel buried by my books.  Although I have a lot of books, I do not have clutter.  My books are lined up neatly in my bookcases with hardbacks in the back and paperbacks in the front, in alphabetical order by author.  I can put my hand on any book I want within moments.  If my books do not fit within these boundaries, I weed them out, which I recently did.

I want my new office to feel spaceous and calm because I know that it will provide me with the space I need in my head to be productive. 

If you have a large collection of books, take the time to organize them in a way in which you can enjoy seeing them.  Not on the floor in a pile, but rather, on a shelf or bookcase that can accommodate them.  Do not hold onto books that you have already read (especially fiction).  There are way too many books out there to still be read.   

If you find that you have too many, donate them to a local library or pass them onto a friend who will enjoy them.  Books are meant to be shared with others. 

Clearly people love books and everything about them.  But, it is possible to keep a reasonable number so that they don't contribute to clutter in your living spaces.  

Honor your books by being selective about the ones you purchase and by keeping your collection in order. 

If you are overwhelmed with your book clutter or any other clutter in your home, contact me.  I am happy to help.

In the meantime, get outside and read a book!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 16 2012

Next week is Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday shopping season.

Do you want your younger children to understand more about uncluttering and organizing?

I have gathered some suggestions for gifts you can give them that they might enjoy with an underlying theme on uncluttering and organizing:

  1. Room Enough for Daisy by Debbie Waldman. Little Daisy has so many toys, she wishes for a larger bedroom to accommodate them all. Eventually, her mom convinces her to donate some items to a rummage sale. Cindy Revell’s illustrations are really cute.
  2. Too Many Toys by David Shannon. David’s books are fantastic, starting with the hilariously relatable “No, David!” Too Many Toys has a similar theme to Room Enough for Daisy, in that David is required to thin his massive collection of toys. It’s a fun story that kids think is funny and adults find useful.  
  3. Mr. Messy, part of the Mr./Mrs. series by Roger Hargreaves, is an untidy fellow until he meets Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy.
  4. More by I. C. Springman is about a hoarding magpie whose friends teach him the value of “enough.” Again, the illustrations are great and the minimal text is great for new readers.

Do you have any suggestions that you would like to share that go with this theme of child organization tools?  Please share by commenting.

If you need assistance in getting the toys and clothing organized for the holidays, don't hesitate to contact me.  I am here to help.

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:42 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 04 2012

Clutter and children have a strong correlation.  It begins the day they come home from hospital.

How is it that you bring a tiny new human being into your home and with them comes all this stuff! 

Toys, clothes, bottles, pacifiers, bed linens, books, stuffed animals, you name it.  We have reached material saturation according to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the everyday lives of families. 

The clutter might begin in the closet, basement, attic or drawers but then it spills out onto our table tops, counters and floors.  We currently have more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world!  Our children's stuff is at the top of our clutter piles.

Each new child in a household leads to a 30 percent increase in a family's inventory of possessions during just the preschool years alone!  There are several reasons for this increase:  

1.  Parental guilt because of working outside the home;

2.  Generous grandparents.

The United States has 3.1 percent of the world's children.  However, US families purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally on an annual basis.  The toys can spill out from their bedrooms and play rooms into living rooms, dining rooms, the kitchen and parents' bedroom. 

There is a sense among working parents that they have less time to spend with their children, causing them to shower their kids with toys to compensate for a perceived loss of quality time at home. 

Aside from that, other relatives contribute to children's collections of material items.  Grandparents alone spent about $500 or more, per child, per year, on toys, clothes, books and other gifts.  Due to the high divorce rate in this country, many children end up getting gifts from multiple sets of grandparents.  If children divide their time between two households, they tend to have double the amount of possessions, as well. 

The influx of objects is relentless.  The outflow, not so much.  We need to develop rituals and mechanisms for getting rid of stuff. 

Here are some solutions:

1.  Have grandparents purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy.

2.  Review the inventory accumulated every 6 months.  Get rid of clothes that no longer fit, toys that no longer work, books that are no longer read, school papers that are no longer needed.  (End of the school term, Christmas time are two suggestions.)

3.  Have a conversation with other gift givers to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothes and other items that are in excess of what is reasonable.  Relatives and friends want to give "things" to show how much they love them.  They need to understand that their time is more precious than possessions.  They need to understand that, although it is appreciated, it is causing clutter in your home.  

4.  Be selective about the items you purchase for your child.  They don't need to have everything.  Remember, less is more.  Too much can be overwhelming for a child.  They tend to play with their favorites anyway.  

Take a look around your home and see where the clutter is accumulating and make some changes so you can be clutter free.  

If you need some assistance or more ideas for solutions, contact me.  I am glad to help. 

In the meantime, have a great day!   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 20 2012

 

Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time.  Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season.  After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves.  Here are some ways to  start off the season with some fresh ideas:    

1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever  you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.

2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.  

3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up.  The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!

4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.

5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!

6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.

7. Outdoor Organizing:  With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter?  Does your house need a new coat of paint?  Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend.  Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.

8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge.  Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry.  Check them out right on this website!  Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page.  They are on Page 6 of the catalog.]  Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!

Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!

If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.  

In the meantime, have a great week!  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, August 30 2011

I don't know about you, but I am an avid reader.  I have always loved books and get a real sense of comfort from holding one in my hands and flipping through the pages.

You might call me "old fashioned" but I prefer holding a book in my hands as opposed to a Kindle or other type of electronic reader.  There is just something cold about holding a piece of plastic as opposed to turning pages of a book. 

If you are an avid book reader, chances are you have quite a collection of books in your home.  If so, are they organized?  If not, here are some suggestions on how you can organize them so you can find what you want when you want it.

When it comes to non-fiction or reference books, it's best to organize them by category and then alphabetically by author.

When it comes to fiction, it's best to organize them by author and then in alphabetical order by book title.  Organize your hardbacks separate from your soft backs.  That doesn't mean they necessarily need to be on separate shelves.  I put my hardback books in the back of the bookcase with paperbacks lined up in front of them.  This makes it easy for me to read all of the titles and find just what I am looking for.

Personally, I have numerous bookcases for various types of books throughout my home.  I have my non-fiction books on a bookcase in my upstairs hallway (there is plenty of room so it does not interfere with navigating to and from my bedroom), I have my fiction books in my guest bedroom/sitting room and business related books (marketing, organizing, etc.) on a bookcase in my office.  I also have a cabinet that was specially made to store my cookbooks which sits just outside my kitchen, in my dining room.

Because I have an extensive amount of fiction (I love to relax at the end of my day by sitting down and reading a good fiction book.), I have taken the next step and created a small three-ring binder with alphabetical tabs in it, listing each author on a separate page with the titles of the books I currently have in my collection.  This might seem extreme to some but I recognized the need to do this as I carry this binder with me when I go to the bookstore, the library or purchase books online.  I do not buy duplicates because I know exactly what I currently have or have read in the past from that author.  This works well for me as I tend to read books from the same general group of authors.

The other point I want to make is that when I am done reading one of my fiction books, I donate it or pass it on to a friend.  I DO NOT keep fiction books after they are read.  Life is too short and there are too many books out there to read so I don't want to go back and read the same book again.  The non-fiction (if they are more of a resource) are kept after they are read.  Biographies or autobiographies are passed on after they are read, as well. 

Organizing your books is so important so that you know what you have and you can enjoy your collection.

I intend to continue to purchase books well into the future and am happy to say that I can locate what I want when I want it because my collection is organized.  Yours can be too.

If you need assistance in sorting through the books, donating those that you no longer need or want and getting the restorganized, contact me.  I'll be glad to help you out.

In the meantime, have a great week! 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
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