Sort It ~ Professional Organizing for the Toronto Area


Conquer Your Closet – Part Deux

About six months ago, I wrote a blog about clearing out and organizing your closet (Conquer Your Closet). Typically, after I write a post, I pester my husband to see if he’s read it. Well, he showed me. When I got home that night, he had flipped all my hangers around. “Practice what you preach,” he said. You see, in my previous post, I wrote that it is handy to flip your hangers around, then when you wear an item, you turn the hanger the right way around again. In six months you’ll have a very good picture as to what you wear, and what you may want to look at again. So, here I am, and here’s my closet six months ago, and today:

Six Months Ago

Today

So, there you have it. I counted and I have 16 hangers that are still reversed. Now, for the record, I have been letting go of clothing items that aren’t right for me, so I’ve been able to maintain the amount of clothing I have, for the most part. Here are the items that haven’t seen the light of day in the last 6 months:

Yes, there’s a disco shirt there, and yes, there’s a Hawaiian shirt, too, but since my husband and I work with the youth at our church, you need a couple of choice items that only see the light of day once in a while (notice I said “couple”, not “3 or 4 choices per occasion”). I have taken my forlorn items, and grouped them together, at the front of my closet. I see a few of them going in the next little while, and a couple being worn in the near future, as well. I’ve also trimmed down a bit since my last purge, so perhaps these items will fit better than last time.

There are a few benefits to having less:

1. Less laundry – You won’t let it sit around and pile up if you need a pair of underoos.

2. Quicker decision making – Less choices makes getting dressed in the morning much more efficient. Unless you lay out what you wear the night before… but I don’t 🙂

3. Someone else is blessed by your things – My friends regularly pass on their items to me, and I love it! They’re new to me, but they’re tired of them. Give your clothes a new chance to make someone else feel good.

We’ll see the condition of my closet when I get home tonight… I’m weary 😛

How do you decide how much clothing is enough?

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Card Conundrum

What do you do with cards? I was challenged by a client the other day, who likes to keep all the cards she has received over the years. As you can imagine, there are a LOT of cards that need to be stored. So, I got to thinking, what do I do with them?

When I was a teenager, I would keep all my cards. As I entered university, I decided that I would keep only the cards that I really loved, and that could be added to my “pick me up” box – a box filled with things to give me a little “pick me up” when needed. When I got married, I did away with the box, and only keep a few, select cards now (note to self: get a memory box to house such cards – my dresser drawer is not sufficient).

Christmas cards are interesting in our house. As you may know, my hubby and I are Christians, so my Mom gave me a great idea (she probably read it on one of the blogs she follows): put them in a basket, and pray for one person each night.

On January 1st, I take all the old cards, cut off the front, and give them to a person at our church who sends them over to Africa (if they haven’t been written on) – they use them as Sunday School prizes. The new batch of Christmas cards go in the box, and we’re all set for the next year. That way we’ve really been able to enjoy them for a year, and are ready to make way for the new ones 🙂

Then there are the cards from our Wedding:

Having just celebrated our 4th anniversary this month, I have struggled with what to do with these cards. Every time I went to give them the old “heave ho”, I was overcome by the amount of love we received when we tied the knot. Couple that with reading cards from loved ones who have passed on, and I just couldn’t do it. So, imagine my excitement when I came across a suitable pin on Pinterest. The idea is to bind your cards in such a way that will make them easier to look at. So, I created my own version:

In the original pin, she had made one book, but I have no idea how she fit all those cards in one. Granted, in these books are also our wedding shower cards.

It was very interesting though, when I finally sat down to go through them, I also found sympathy cards (not that we got married, but my father-in-law passed away – just wanted to be clear), thank you notes (address to us, not others), and a Christmas card. It’s amazing how unmarked areas can quickly become a catch all 🙂

What do you do with the cards you receive? Please feel free to also cast your vote on this poll.


Eat, Drink and Be Merry

The other day, I was packing up a couple for an upcoming move. What got me was that I was packing liquor bottles with only a little bit left in them. Now, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Nearly every home I pack has nearly finished something or others lying around. Even when my husband and I toured the home we now live in, we were astounded by the amount of liquor on display (to be fair, they had a bar in the basement, which led to many, many gifts of alcohol). It seems like a waste of effort to move nearly empty bottles, so I got to thinking, how could one remedy this situation?

And then it hit me – have a party! Now, I’m not saying that you should have a throw back to your college days, with people lying all over the house in the morning, but try to use up what you have.

So, here are my rules for a Potluck Pantry Party:

1. You can only bring an item that you have made out of items you already have (excluding items you need to buy fresh like fruit or vegetables) . Don’t forget to check the chest freezer!  This is also helpful to use up items in the basement before they pass their best before date.

2. You can only drink items you already have (not only alcohol, this includes pop and frozen cans of concentrate, too). Get creative with your mixed drinks, and try to only make items using bottles that are only 1/4 full. Imagine all the money you’ll get when you return those empties 😛

3. Light candles. We all have tons of them, but we never use them. Honestly, how many tea light candles can one house need?

4. Get creative and have fun! *Please be responsible. Don’t drink and drive.*

5. Send home the leftovers in your mismatched tupperware. If you have oddball items that you aren’t particularly attached to, make sure everyone leaves with one filled with lunch for Monday. Four birds with one stone.

 

Would you consider hosting a Potluck Pantry Party? What types of things could you create from the depths of your pantry?


Previous Post

I won! Please take a look at this Decluttering Diva’s blog 🙂

100 things 100 days

Total raised for your charities: $167

Call me cynical, but when someone does a giveaway online, I always wonder about the process. Did they close their eyes and point to a winner on the screen? Did they enter they enter their favourite reader 25 times? Did they just choose their best friend?

Here at 100 things, 100 days, we’re on the up and up. To prove it, I enlisted the help of my youngest (five-year olds are all about fair) to write down the names of everyone who entered, fold them in half, and draw one out of a bowl.

I taped the entire thing on my iPhone – upside down. Yep, upside down.

Then, my five-year old requested a re-take because he wasn’t happy with his pronunciation of the word congratulations.

And on play back, I realized that I sound exactly like Ma Ingalls on Little House On The…

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My Run and My Mat

Today is a day that I announce a couple of accomplishments.

1. I jogged 5 km continously for the first time in my life.

2. I completed my milk bag mat for Africa.

This is me after I completed my first 5K.

I live in Toronto, so when the weather became incredibly beautiful for about a week in March, I decided to start running (or jogging, really). I started off with 2 km, and decided to work my way up from there. My first day, I ran in intervals, telling myself to simply make it to the end of the street. The second time I went out, I wanted to run a little bit farther, so I was trying to make it to the fire hydrant about 20 meters beyond my first stopping (walking) point. However, as I neared the fire hydrant, I was amazed that I didn’t feel winded yet (which is usually what slows me down). So, I put up a farther milestone, but I passed that, too. I ran the whole way on my second run! Well, that did it for me. I was hooked.

I was trying to run 3 times a week, while increasing each week by about .5 km. Then I received an email update from WordPress telling me about the Worldwide WordPress 5K. I knew that I would have to step up my game if I was going to make 5 km in about a month and a half, so I increased it by 1 km two weeks in a row. I am really excited, and I hope to do another 5 km “run” in a couple of weeks to help support our local pregnancy care centre.

I also adore MapMyRun.com which is what I use to gauge my distance. I also “treated” myself by running through a ravine near our home. First time for everything!

Let me just say this: If I can do it, then anyone can 🙂 I also love this quote: “Someone who is busier than  you, is running right now” – Nike

Secondly, I completed my crocheted milk bag mat! I have been huffing and puffing through this one, so I am super excited to share this achievement with you. I wrote about this a couple of months back, and I just wanted to give you an update. Here is my original post. And here is me with my mat:

It will be sent off to Africa in a short little while. I will hopefully finish the last of my other mat that I have on the go, and then send off the remaining milk bags to Africa, where they now have a program where the people there crochet sleeping mats (bugs won’t nest in these), sandals, and bags to name a few. What a great cause!

What have you achieved this year that you would like to brag about? Please share! I want to know 🙂


Let’s Get Digital

Paper. We all have it, but some of us have NO CLUE as to what to do with it! Here are a few tips to bring that mountain back down to a realistic, working, active pile.

 

 

1. Open your mail. I know that this might sound crazy, but it’s the first step. Also, open it right over the recycling bin. Why? Because inside most envelopes are flyers, pamphlets or brochures trying to sell you something you’ll never need. Open those envelopes and keep the one paper that you actually need.

2. Do something with the paper. Do you pay all your bills at one sitting, or as they come in? If you wait to pay them, have an area where you place paperwork that requires action. For us, we use the top of our filing cabinet. When we pay something off or update required information, then we file it. Right away. A lot of people hate filing, but it’s remarkable how quickly it can be completed if you have the right system in place, and if you are consistent with doing it regularly. With well labeled files, you know exactly where that paper belongs – quick and easy.

3. Cull your paper. Some documents you need for up to 7 years (for tax purposes), some longer (Will, Insurance, etc.) and some less (we only keep one year’s worth of bills, unless we’re claiming it on our taxes). Once your tax year is complete, put all the paper work for that year in a large envelope labeled with the year. Then, when the 7 years pass, shred it. Simple as that. If you’re only keeping one year’s worth of paperwork for a specific file, then as you put the most recent paperwork in the front, remove the last one (which should be a year old now), and shred it. One in, one out.

4. If you can manage it, go paperless. For my husband’s cell phone, we were charged $2 per paper bill – we quickly eliminated that. It will also  help with your paper dilemma. Create a good filing system on your computer and you can store all those bills electronically. No fuss, and no muss. Just remember to open those emails, and back up your computer regularly. I do like the idea of automated payments (especially for those that have difficulty keeping on top of things), but please review your bills – especially credit card bills. You never know when you might be charged erroneously, or spend more than you had intended.

How do you manage paperwork? How often do you file your papers? Have you gone electronic? Why or why not?


Use It or Lose It

This topic may seem similar, as I posted on something along these lines last year (You’ve Got It, So Use It), but who doesn’t like a little reminder now and then?

First, let me confess. I have a “collection” of those little floss containers you get from the dentist at your check ups. And by “collection” I mean 10. Seriously. Here’s the evidence:

It’s not that I don’t floss, I just don’t do it as often as I should. I’ve tried to remedy this by flossing on days with a “U” in them (Tuesday, Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday), so that if I don’t do it everyday, at least I’m flossing every week. Why? Because my husband told me that the plaque that’s on your teeth, and in your gums, can travel through your blood system, and build up in there. YIKES! That was enough to get me flossing more regularly…

Anyway, my point it this: I need to use this up before I purchase any more. And, if I’m not going to use it, then I can’t have it cluttering up my space. If you’ve ever seen our bathroom, you’d understand. But it’s not the size that matters, but the fact that anytime you want to get around it, you have to shuffle it around. And for what? If you’ll never use it, so why not let someone else be “blessed” by it?

Lastly, if you have so much of it that even if you used “it” at every opportunity, you still wouldn’t make a solid dent in it, perhaps you should split “it” and pass some of it on. Don’t let it bog you down just because you think you’ll use it “someday”.

What do you have an overload of? Will you ever use it? Please excuse me while I get to flossing 😀

P.S. While I haven’t completely depleted my body wash (please refer to above mentioned post), I’m getting near the end. Imagine that… But I haven’t bought anymore all this time! Saving space AND money!


What Is A Professional Organizer?!?

Yes, there is such a thing as a Professional Organizer. No, we don’t work exclusively with hoarders.

There, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what is a Professional Organizer? I probably should have written this one a year ago, but a meeting with a fantastic real estate agent (Albert Yu in the Toronto area, give him a shout) made me realize that I need to incorporate this somehow, and at least it’s better late then never.

A Professional Organizer is someone who has a knack for putting things into an appropriate place, and making it easier to find when needed. We set up systems in your home or office place to make your life easier. Sometimes this requires paring down, in order to make more space. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of rejigging the area you have in order to make it flow better. There are many different types of Professional Organizers as well: Residential organizers, small office organizers, corporate organizers, photo organizers, senior move organizers, garage organizers, and those who specialize in chronic disorganization and ADHD, to name a few. Many organizers cater to a mix of clients and specialties.

You may need an organizer. There, I said it. Sometimes, I need one, too! Here are some of the types of people I work with:

Busy Bee ~ Incredibly busy and high energy. Their commitments keep them going, but also hold them back from taking time to maintain the home. (I’ll admit, sometimes I fall into this category.) An organizer would come in and help set up systems to make maintenance as simple and stress free as possible. Also, setting aside a specific appointment to get organized will ensure it gets done.

Overwhelmed ~ Having various priorities has made making decisions too difficult – until now. Sometimes you’ve got too much on your plate (a sick parent, a troubled teen, etc.), which makes keeping up the home too much of a chore. However, those issues will pass, and when the smoke clears, you’ll look around to find a home with a lot of stuff. An organizer can help you to make those decisions you once found quite tough. A sensitive ear can work wonders when trying to decide what’s important, and what isn’t – which changes with time, too. It’s time to take back your home, and your life.

Relocation ~ You’re moving! But the last thing you want to do is take all that extra stuff with you. Don’t pay the movers for their time if you’re simply going to toss it on the back end. As you pack, go through your items and donate (or toss) that which you no longer want or need. Some organizers help with the packing and unpacking process as well, which can be a huge stress reliever.

Hoarder ~ There are many different types of hoarders. Essentially, it’s the inability (or severe difficulty) with letting go of object with little or no value, and extensive acquiring of such items. If a room is no longer able to be used for its intended purpose (can’t sleep on the bed, can’t cook in the kitchen, etc.), this is a pretty good indication. Organizers, in conjunction with mental health professionals, are able to help go through the items, although this is a longer process than the above situations.

Please note that I am not writing this as a promo piece. Whenever I meet new people, and tell them my profession, they always ask, “and what do you do?” So, I hope that this helps to shed some light on this new (not actually that new, maybe about 20 years or so) up and coming field.

Have you had any experience with a Professional Organizer? Have you seen any on TV or in the media?

Want to learn more? Check out the Professional Organizers in Canada, the National Association of Professional Organizers or the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.



Here is my first guest blog post 🙂 Let me know your thoughts!

GirlGuidesCANBlog

I’ve been a Brownie leader for nearly 10 years, and for almost every one of those 10 years, I have been “blessed” with craft supplies. Not supplies that I’ve bought, but supplies that have been donated to me. I have received everything from bits and pieces of yarn and brown craft paper to googly eyes and pompoms. And we keep it! Even though we don’t have the faintest idea what to do with it, we keep it, thinking that one day we’ll be hit with an inspirational lightning bolt, and it will all come together into a masterpiece worthy of the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). I have a dedicated area for my craft supplies. I know other Guiders who have entire rooms filled with crafty items, but enough is enough. Let’s get realistic and either fish or cut bait. It’s time to clear out the clutter.

I still have…

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This is a fantastic post that delves into the psychology and thought process behind sorting through and purging items. The term “hoarding” has been widely cast lately, and I believe it needs to be refined for the public. More on this in the near future…

morning grunge

I’ve often wondered if I was a hoarder. I have quite a few boxes I’m hanging onto upstairs that I know I could throw away and would never miss. I mean, do you ever really go back and re-read all your class notes from graduate school? Couldn’t I just find everything I ever need online today anyways?

Last summer, I spent a month at my parent’s house. I stayed in my old room where the walls are still painted to my seventh grade desires: two walls teal, two walls purple. Minus the nostalgia, I often think it’s time to hit it with some Behr’s Cosmic Dust. But it’s not my house. However, sitting in the window seat of my old room, under a few signs of rodent life, were boxes of all my memories. Every.Single.One. Boxes, upon boxes, of papers and pictures and journals and memories. You know, the…

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