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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
Monday, November 13 2017
I WANT TO DONATE - BUT WHERE?

Many times we are ready to gather the items in our home that we no longer need or want but are unsure as to where we can donate them. Some items can be more challenging than others. A local donation site might not take what you have to offer.

When you are ready to donate and don't know where, here are a list of suggestions to help you out

Medical Equipment - Many times when I am working with a client who had an elderly relative living with them or is cleaning out that elderly person's home, we come across medical equipment that is no longer needed. https://www.med-eq.org/Donate/ . Med-Eq matches donors with charities that need what the donors are offering. You fill out a simple form online and the staff at Med-Eq will choose a recipient. The receiving party covers any costs such as mailing expenses for smaller items or arrangements are made for pick-up right from your home.

Wigs - There is a wig exchange program which provides free wigs to women experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy. The EBeauty Community can be found at https://www.ebeauty.com/donate-a-wig/.

Musical Instruments - Instruments in the Cloud is a non-profit organization that allows donors to connect with local teachers who are looking for instruments. http://www.instrumentsinthecloud.org/donations/new. For more information, go to http://www.instrumentsinthecloud.org/pages/faqs

Homemade Blankets - For those who quilt, knit or crochet and wind up with more quilts or blankets than can ever be used, I recommend Project Linus. https://www.projectlinus.org/donations/. Materials that can be used to make blankets can also be donated, if you want to reduce your stash. (These must come from a smoke-free environment for allergy reasons.)

Lastly, in honor of Veterans Day this month, Operation Gratitude sends care packages to deployed troops, and all those care packages, including Beanie Babies or other small plush toys, as well as gently used ones, are accepted. https://opgrat.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/beanie-babies-for-the-troops/. There are other ways to donate as well, so take some time to review their site.

So, the next time you are in the midst of decluttering and stuck on how to donate certain items, refer back to this list.

As always, I am here to help you create A Better Space.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 09 2017
THE ULTIMATE KITCHEN CABINET DECLUTTERING CHECKLIST

Thank you to TRI-STAR CABINET & TOP COMPANY for reaching out to A BETTER SPACE and providing this Checklist to share with my organizing community. 

If you wish to be a guest blogger on my A Better Space blog, simply contact me at audreycupo@4abetterspace.com and attach a copy of the blog you wish me to post and it will be considered for a future date.

If you have any questions about this checklist or are too overwhelmed to take on this project on your own, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help.

Posted by: AT 09:00 am   |  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, 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, 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
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
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
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
Tuesday, September 02 2014

It's that time of year when we are settling back down into our routines, either with work, school or the household.  Vacations are behind us, the kids are returning to school and the normal routine of running a household returns.  It's all a balancing act. 

There are some ways that you can (again) create balance in your life when it comes to getting organized.  

1. The "One in, one out" rule.  Whenever you bring something new into the house, get rid of something.  Are you purchasing new clothes for the upcoming Fall season?  Go through your closet and get rid of the items you did not wear this past Summer.  

2.  Do not transfer your clutter.  You will not do yourself any favors by clearing off the dining room table of clutter and moving it to the home office floor.  Deal with it now to avoid a project later.   

3.  To do or not to do, that is the question.   Consolidate all of your "to do's" onto one list and decide whether you are going to do it yourself (and schedule a time to get it done), delegate it to someone else or not do it at all.  Keep your "to do's" moving.

4.  Finish what you start.  Do not move from one area to another when organizing.  Finish what you start and then move on to the next area.  

5.  Store it where it's used.  When deciding where something should go, ask yourself where it is used.  Keep like things together so you can easily find them when you need them.  

6.  Don't be afraid of open spaces.  It's okay to keep a drawer empty or a shelf in a cabinet empty.  You don't have to fill every nook and cranny with "stuff".  It's a great back-up spot for those times when you need a little more space.

7.  Location, location, location.  Mark shelves, bins and boxes with labels so everyone will know where things belong and can help put things away in their correct location.    

8.  Double trouble.  Don't keep multiples of things that are not being used.  You do not need two can openers or four pair of tweezers.  Get rid of the duplicates either by passing them onto someone else, donating them or throwing them away if they are not in good condition.   

9.  Get back on that horse.  Everyone falls off the organizing horse from time to time.  Maintaining organization is a continual process.  Allow yourself to fall behind from time to time, but don't delay in getting right back up, dusting yourself off, and starting over again.  (The good news is that if you are organized to begin with, it will not be so hard to do!)  

If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, I am here to help.  As a professional organizer, I can help you find your balance.  Now, with a new season approaching, it's a great time to create A Better Space.  Don't hesitate to contact me.

Happy September!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 30 2014

Even though it's Summertime and we intend to be lazy, it can sometimes be the crazy days of Summer instead.  The kids are out of school, we are running from one activity to another to keep them busy, we are planning and going on day trips or vacations and we just can't find the time to get organized.  

Not to worry.  You don't have to wait until the kids return to school.  You can still do some simple things to get on the road to organization now.  

I have some suggestions that will take five minutes and help you out:

1.  Hang Some Hooks - They take very little time to install and are a quick solution for getting things up off the floor - towels in the bathroom, camp bags in the mudroom,  clothes in the bedroom, etc.

2.  Do A Hanger Purge - Hangers that are laying around are not being put to good use.  Gather the extra wire hangers and give them back to the dry cleaner.  Refuse hangers when making a clothing purchase at the store.  Keep hangers on the rod for clothes that will be returned from the wash to mark the space where they belong.  One hanger per item is all that is needed.  The rest can go!

3.  Eliminate Junk Mail - While bringing in the mail each day, identify the junk mail before it even enters your home.  Keep a recycling bin and paper shredder near the entrance to your home for easy disposal.   

4.  Take It With You -  Whether you are leaving a room in your home to go to another, going upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the second floor, take something with you that doesn't belong there and put it away.  This applies to your car as well. Before you get out of the car, take your trash or other items that do not belong there.  

5.  Create A Donation Destination - Pick a room where you can have a container for donations.  A great place to keep a donation box is in a closet or the laundry room for clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer like.  Other suggestions are for toys that hte kids outgrow or no longer play with.  Add to the box as you go and when it is full, take it to your local Goodwill or other non-profit charitable organization.  

So, no matter how busy you are, you can still find ways to get and stay organized with just five minutes of your time.  

Which tip did you like the best?  What other ideas do you have for five minutes of organization?  

If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help.  I have lots of great ideas for you to create A Better Space anywhere in your home. Contact me!  I am here to help.

In the meantime, enjoy your Summer!  

    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 27 2014

Is your home starting to look like an episode of "Hoarders"?  Perhaps not, but it might be time to get rid of the clutter and get organized.  You have three choices - throw it away, donate it or sell it.  Which one do you choose?  

Toss It - Get rid of old receipts and any paperwork that is no longer needed. For confidential information, be sure to use a cross-cut paper shredder.  Throw away anything that is broken and you have no intention of fixing or cannot be fixed.  Eliminate expired food in your pantry, refrigerator, freezer or kitchen cabinets.  Toss old make-up and other cosmetics that are past their prime.   Check with your county or municipality to visit Earth911.com to locate a facility where you can drop off automotive and home-improvement items such as oil-based paints and, pesticides for proper disposal.  

Sell It - Some of your items can find a second home and get you some cash in the process!  Utilize E-bay, Craigslist, consignment shops or specialty sites for books, clothing and tech items.  For books, log on to Bookscouter.com, enter the ISBN number (located over the bar code) and receive price quote from online booksellers who want them.  Sell your designer clothing and accesories at The Snob (www.thesnob.biz) and Snobswap (www.snobswap.com).  For vintage clothing, try Etsy (www.etsy.com) and Fashiondig (www.fashiondig.com).  Have a yard sale! 

Donate - Get that warm, fuzzy feeling and even a tax deduction by donating your things to charity.  Whether you donate to a local non-profit such as Goodwill, Salvation Army or other local thrift stores, it is easy to eliminate your items from your home quickly.  You can either drop off the items at the site or have a truck come pick them up, depending on who you choose.   Purple Heart and other veterans organization are also a good choice.  Always check with whomever you choose to be sure that they accept the items you have to donate and be sure to get a receipt to use when preparing your annual tax return.  When it comes to electronicss, be sure to erase personal information. Erase the SD car, SIM card or destroy the hard-drive.  Donate your old cell phones through Verizon's HopeLine program for victims of domestic violence or support the troops overseas at CellPhonesforSoldiers.com. Donate your shoes to Soles4Souls.org and books to your local library.  Senior centers and day-cares need arts and crafts.  Animal shelters needs towels, blankets and sheets.  There are so many choices.

When it comes to eliminating your clutter and getting organized, you have three choices.  Toss, Sell or Donate.  When it comes to getting help if you are overwhelmed, consider using a professional organizer such as myself, to help you get the job done!  Together we can eliminate the clutter and create A Better Space for the things you wish to keep.

In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 05 2013

As the Summer ends and Fall begin, this is a time of transition and renewal.  It's also time to evaluate where we are in our lives and what we have. 

We can all agree that having multiples of certain items in your home (for example, toilet paper) or in your office (pens) are helpful and make sense to have.  Since we use these items often, we need to be sure that we can store them in a way that makes it easy to access them. 

However, sometimes, multiple items can accumulate and begin to take up valuable space.  We want to be sure not to let those items cause us "double vision". They should not get out of control.

Here are five items that you probably have duplicates of:

1.  Paper shopping bags.  How many have you accumulated from the grocery store?  Although they can be useful for various purposes, if you find that they are accumulating, consider donating them to charities that could benefit from them.  Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies or purchases and are always looking for bag donations.  Check with your local charity to see if they are in need of this item.   

2.  Hotel toiletries.  I have talked about this in a previous blog, but I think it is worth repeating.  If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you have come home with travel-size toiletry bottles and packets.  If you find that you are just collecting them and not using them, you can offer them to overnight guests in a basket in the bathroom, use shower caps as food container covers or donate them to a local shelter.  You can even leave them at the hotel and not bring them home at all.  Let others make use of them instead.  

3.  Pens, pencils and markers.  I don't know about you but the pens, pencils and sometimes markers seem to multiply in my house.  How often do you come home with a pen that you borrowed and forgot to return?   I must admit it happens to me from time to time.  When my son was in public school, he "acquired" lots of pens and pencils throughout the school term.  Don't ask!  If you end up with an abundance of pens, pencils or markers, consider donating them instead of holding onto them.  It's impossible to use all of them!  Donate them to your local school or community center or the Pencil Project.

4.  Bedding.  When was the last time you went through your linen closet and eliminated the older sets of sheets or blankets that you no longer use?  We tend to hold onto more sets than we need.  If you change your sheets once a week, you don't need more than two, maybe three sets per bed.  The third set might be a set of flannel sheets.  Are they stained, torn, or don't fit the beds you currently own?  Consider donating them to a local charity if they are in good shape or a local animal shelter.  They are always in dire need of bedding.  

5.  Mugs.  Do you bring home mugs from places that you've traveled or received them as a promotional item at an event?  They can accumulate in your kitchen cabinet over time.  We tend to have our favorites and don't tend to reach for the others.  If you find that you have too many, consider donating them to a local charity in your area or to that college student living in a dorm or apartment.  

So, are you seeing double in your home?  Take a look around and start putting things together that you can donate.  You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.

If you need assistance in downsizing your possession, feel free to contact me at A Better Space.  I am here to help.

Until next time, HAPPY ORGANIZING!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
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