Reduce Unwanted Mail With 5 Simple Steps

Peek inside your mailbox and you’ll discover junk mail overload. Over 40% of the mail we receive is junk mail! Follow these quick tips to drastically reduce the amount of stuff in your mailbox, making paper management a breeze!

1. Limit unwanted mailbox advertising: Greatly reduce advertising mail (and save some trees) by registering with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. Call 212-768-7277 or visit www.dmachoice.org.

2. Opt out of unsolicited credit card offers: The nation’s four major credit bureaus will help you get off lists for pre-approved credit card offers by simply calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT. You’ll need to provide your social security number, full name, address, and telephone number.

3. Use caution when giving out your contact information: Nearly every time you send in a product warranty card or enter a contest, your data will be used to send you more paper! These companies may in turn sell or share your information with other companies. Use caution. And if you provide your contact information, request that the company not share or sell it.

4. Cancel subscriptions: Take the pressure off yourself by canceling any magazine subscriptions that you never seem to get around to reading anyway. Same with the newspaper.

5. Keep junk mail at bay in your home and office: Immediately after daily retrieval, sort mail while standing over your recycling bin. Toss with reckless abandon (be sure to shred things like credit card offers) so junk mail doesn’t create piles of, well, junk in your home or office.



© 2018 Articles on Demand™

Reuse: Find New Uses for Old Things

Being organized has great personal benefits. You can easily find things, save time and money, and become incredibly productive. Getting organized can have great environmental benefits as well. By following the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), you’ll use fewer natural resources, discover new uses for old things, and find fresh homes for your castoffs. Tackle the second “R” -- reuse -- by finding creative new uses for your things. It’s not only environmentally friendly, it’s fun and allows you to stay organized! 

Make old furniture new again. A can of colorful spray paint can liven up an old picture frame. A coat of glossy paint can transform an old dresser into something new and fabulous. 

Hold a clothing swap with friends. Invite some pals to a clothing exchange party. Have each person bring 5-10 items she no longer wears, and swap them over music and hors d’oeuvres. Everyone leaves with a free new wardrobe! Send the leftovers to a local charity.

Shop smart. When you need something, consider buying it used at a secondhand store. You can find everything from upscale clothing to furniture, books, building supplies, and more.

Rotate toys. If you have kids, send Barbie on a vacation for a while, let the stuffed animals hibernate, and let some games take a time-out. Bring those toys out a few months later and they’ll seem like new.

Find new uses for disposable items. Make fun projects with reused materials, such as old film canisters, CD jewel cases, and baby food jars.

Create your own organizing containers. Rather than spend tons of money on plastic organizing bins, drawer dividers, and wicker baskets, reinvent common household items: The small boxes that your checks come in make great drawer dividers. Oatmeal boxes nicely hold art supplies like crayons and pencils. An ice cube tray neatly divides earrings or holds desk supplies like paper clips and tacks. Look around your home and see what inspires you!

© 2018 Articles on Demand™



Recipe Relief

Are your cookbooks a recipe for disaster? Take control with these simple tips.

Evaluate and pare down: Gather all your cookbooks in one spot. You’ll recognize your favorites, so set those aside. Then, consider donating any books unfamiliar or unused for the past year.

Find a central location: Keep all cookbooks and recipes in one area for easy access and awareness. Organize in a way that makes sense to you, such as by author, culinary region, or type of food (vegetarian, soups, breakfast, etc.)

Create a recipe binder: Set up a three-ring binder for your recipe clippings. Create sections (such as main course, veggies, salads, desserts) with tab dividers. Glue recipes on both sides of heavy 8-1/2 x 11 paper, and then slip the papers into clear plastic page protector sleeves.

Organize clippings: It’s tempting to clip every great recipe you see in magazines. If you do, create a “holding” envelope where recipes must past your taste test before being added to your recipe binder. Remember the “in/out” rule: Each time you add a recipe to your book, remove an old one (or two) that is no longer a favorite.

Go paper-free: If you're ready to go digital, there are many apps that can help you make the transition. In addition to being able to peruse and virtually "clip" new recipes, you can often scan (or take photos) of your cherished family recipes to upload into virtual collections. Or simply start a Pinterest board to collect your new favorites!

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

The “Whys” of Clutter

So, you know your life is full of clutter — things you don’t need, things you don’t necessarily want, and way more than you’ll actually use. But where the heck did all this stuff come from? 

 

It might be hard to pinpoint the exact moment when clutter invaded and took over your life. Maybe you grew up in a cluttered household, so living with an overabundance of “things” has always felt natural. Or perhaps clutter is just beginning to form. (In which case, it's time to nip it in the bud!)

Why are some people more prone to clutter than others? Following are a few reasons. If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, take heart. By recognizing what leads you to accumulate clutter you can make the transition to a clutter-free life.

You inherited it from your parents: If your parents were packrats, you can thank them for your love of abundance. And as you continue your life full of clutter, consider the fate you are dealing your loved ones if you don’t attempt to change. Your children might continue the cycle of clutter, or you may drive your mate and friends crazy.

You might need it “someday”: Back in the days of the Great Depression and the World Wars, people justifiably saved just about everything because of scarcity and rationing. However, in this day and age, there is no reason to continue this thought pattern. Thinking something will come in handy “one day” is NOT reason enough to keep it. By letting go, you’ll find that most of the time you’ll never need those things again. And if you do, you’ll likely find similar (or better) things to replace them.

Clutter is part of your identity: Is your identity somehow related to your possessions? Or, are you overly sentimental about your things? Remember that even if you get rid of the clutter, you still have the great memories associated with specific items. Allow yourself to release unloved or unuseful gifts from well-meaning friends and family. You are not throwing away your friends’ kindness or love; you are simply releasing the unneeded items to make room for the things that matter most to you.

You’re bombarded by “more is better” reasoning by marketers: Do catalogs invade your mailbox? Are companies constantly trying to sell you the newest do-hickey, clothing, or home decor? Look around your kitchen and count your small appliances and gadgets. Most likely, they simply add clutter to your life, taking up space. Next time the urge to buy grabs you, ask yourself if it will REALLY make your life better.

Clutter fills a void in your life: Clutter can help to hide loneliness, anger, fear, and other important emotions. It fills time and space and keeps you focused on things other than your problems. When you free the clutter, you’ll free yourself to deal with the real issues around you. It may be tough at first, but the rewards are endless. Similarly, some people want to hide in their clutter. They use an abundance of “stuff” to hide or shelter themselves from the outside world. A good way to start getting back into the swing of life is to declutter just one room. You’ll still be able to retreat to your safe place, but the lack of clutter will begin to feel freeing rather than terrifying

Of course, you may not see yourself in any of the above scenarios. Perhaps you’ve simply accumulated a little clutter in your life due to a shortage of time, too many work or family demands, or a lack of organizing skills. This is perfectly normal. Not everyone who defines her life as “cluttered” will fit into the above scenarios. But for those who know that clutter is seriously affecting their lives, the above reasons may help define the source and allow them to start the decluttering process.

Whatever the reasons you’ve accumulated clutter, once you recognize them, you can move forward and begin your new life. 

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

It's a Wonderful Life

We're sharing memorable stories from a few of our wonderful clients like you! 

When reflecting back on this year, I continue to be so honored to be a part of your life. I am reminded over and over again that it is not just about the “stuff”.  It’s about so much more. I've asked the team to recall some of their most special memories this year! I hope they uplift you as much as they did us!

Julie


 We make organizing FUN, because we LOVE what we do!

We make organizing FUN, because we LOVE what we do!

I absolutely love my job and have many wonderful memories over the years working with clients. However, this memory made me so happy to be a part of.

I was working with a woman who was relocating. She had bags and bags of mail she never opened. In speaking to her further about going through the mail she became very anxious.

She explained that she had gotten into some financial trouble and had a lot of creditors contacting her, hence, not wanting to open it. She also mentioned she had just inherited her childhood home because her mom recently passed away. Now she was struggling to figure out how to pay for that mortgage, too.

After much encouragement, we decided to go through the mail piece by piece so when her move was done, she would be clutter free. This took two days to complete. By the end of the second day she said, “can’t we just throw the rest away?” I encouraged her that we should still go piece by piece so we did...with only a few pieces of mail left to go, we found an unopened check that was from her mortgage company, as she had overpaid the previous year. It was a check for $1200!!! Of course, it was out of date, but we called that minute and they said they would reinstate it.

It was absolutely life-changing for her at that moment. She was able to “breathe” and was able to make those mortgage payments after all. She cried, we hugged, and it was a wonderful feeling for everyone!
— Beth Ickes

I love to see the transformations of not only the living spaces we organize, but also the demeanor of our clients from the time we report to work to the time we complete the job.

An orderly home creates a peaceful environment that makes people happy and less stressed. We consistently see this reflected in our clients’ faces and that makes me happy as well!

A recent client sent Julie a video of her husband’s reaction when he first discovered his garage that we organized while they were on vacation. He was smiling ear to ear, jumping around— an exhibition of pure joy! The “new” garage was a birthday gift to him.

I see our job as organizers as a way to serve others and to help improve their quality of life.
— Laura Kiffmeyer

We worked with a young professional that moved to Charlotte and helped him get unpacked after many months of living out of boxes. When he decided to move to a new apartment we handled the entire move for him. However, we never laid eyes on him during the entire process! This is the text I got from him when he walked into his new apartment for the first time.

’I just walked into my apartment and am so grateful and impressed for all the work and incredible atmosphere that you brought to my apartment over the last few weeks. Thank you for everything that you have done to help me have a home and a great place to live. I’m truly speechless this apartment layout is great and feels so different. You put everything together so well. This is the best moment I have had since moving to Charlotte.’
— Leigh Ann Loeblein

Archive Your Files With Ease

What shape is your filing system in? Are your filing drawers stuffed so full that it’s nearly impossible to get another piece of paper into — or out of — them? Once a year, you should take time to review your files and purge as much as possible, leaving room for next year’s papers.

1. Determine what to keep. As you sort through papers, ask yourself, “When will I really need this again?” “Can it be easily recreated or retrieved elsewhere?” Don’t hang onto things unless you have a really good reason! Be ruthless — remember, 80% of the things you file will never get referred to again!

2. Keep records retention guidelines in mind. Your accountant, attorney, or professional organizer can tell you which documents you should keep for legal purposes.

3. Keep only day-to-day paperwork at your fingertips. For rarely-used files that must be kept, archive them in an out-of-the-way area, such as a closet, basement, or off-site storage facility.

4. Some things can be immediately tossed. Instruction manuals for products you no longer own, old research materials, previous drafts of letters, out-of-date magazines and articles, and receipts for items past their return date can be discarded.

5. Stash important documents in a safety deposit box. It is imperative that you stock your safety deposit box or home safe with the following papers: adoption and citizenship papers; passports; birth, death, and marriage certificates; deeds; divorce decrees; insurance policy papers; lease agreements and loan documents; mortgage papers; personal property appraisals (jewelry, collectibles); Social Security cards; stock and bond certificates; vehicle titles; copies of wills; and powers of attorney papers. And don’t forget to LOCK your home safe. It is NOT fireproof unless the lock is engaged.

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Let’s Have A Sale

Whether you’re planning to move or simply want to cash in on your excess stuff, a garage sale (tag sale, yard sale) can be a profitable way to transfer your goods on to their next destination. However, without proper planning and organization, the day can be a disaster. Here are some tips to hold a spectacular sale:

START GATHERING YOUR GOODS EARLY. Keep a large box in the basement or garage year-round to hold household items you no longer want, need, or love. If you’re really industrious, keep some pricing stickers and a pen in the box so you can price as you stow.

ADVERTISE. Make large, colorful signs. Be sure to list the date, time, and place, as well as the types of items you have for sale (kids’ clothing and toys, furniture, tools, collectibles, etc.) Place the signs in high-traffic intersections within a few miles of your home. Consider running an ad in your local paper’s classified section. Place flyers at local stores where allowed.

SET UP THE SALE. Give yourself at least two days to get the tables set up and items arranged and priced. Make sure everything is clean and attractive. Group similar items together: put stuffed animals in a wagon, arrange household items on tables, place books and tapes/CDs neatly in boxes, display toys at kids’ eye level, and hang clothing on racks. Put big-ticket items, like furniture, tools, and larger kids’ toys, near the edge of the driveway to attract passersby.

BE SURE TO PRICE EVERYTHING. People are often too shy to ask. Attract people with balloons and banners. And have a “free” box prominently placed.

DON’T FORGET THE LITTLE THINGS. Make sure you have enough change, especially ones and fives, and a calculator handy. Have bags and newspaper for packing breakables. Play upbeat music on your boombox. Have lemonade and popcorn for sale to prolong browsing. Hand out free candy to kids if okay with parents.

COUNT YOUR CASH AND CONSIDER DONATING. After the sale, donate the leftover items to charity rather than returning them to your house. Many charities will pick up all unsold items. 

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

It's Moving Time Again!

Many of our clients have contacted us recently to help with the whole process of getting ready for a move. From preparing the house to put on the market, to getting everything in order for the actual move.  We have developed a process that helps things go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few of the steps we use:

First, go through the home and decide on the large pieces of furniture.  Which ones will definitely be going with and which ones are questionable.  Make a list of the items you know you want to sell, donate and trash.  Make arrangements to get these items out as soon as possible (provided you will not need them to stage the house). 

Next, tackle the smaller items room by room.  Go through everything, and I mean everything, to make sure you still love it and use it.  This is the perfect time to get rid of items the kids have not used in years or that wedding gift you received twenty years ago and is still in the package!  Take items to donate, consignment store or trash. 

The final step is to make sure all "like" items are sorted together and ready for the packing process.  This will make it so much easier on the other end. 

No time to do all these steps?  No worries, you can always contact a professional organizer at your destination city and have them help you sort it all out then. 

On The Move

Moving Season is upon us.

If you are thinking about putting your home on the market, it’s never too soon to start planning. Here’s a re-cap of just a few of the moving tips we like to share:

 -The most important thing anyone can do is de-clutter the home before the move.  If you don’t like something now, odds are you won’t like it in the new home either.  This is the perfect time to donate old towels, knick-knacks, dishes and all of the things you rarely use.   More importantly, it does not make practical sense to pay to move items you are likely to discard later. 

-Expect the unexpected.  Pack bags for each person that include: clothing, medications, toiletries and personal items for at least three days.   Keep the bags separate from all other items being moved, such as in your car.   You will then have things you need for the first few days without searching through boxes.

-If it turns out that you have to ship valuable items with the movers, place them in a box marked “Snoopy’s Ashes” to help alleviate the concern of theft.

-Pack items/papers you will need immediately in a different color or clear container that can be located easily among all the other moving boxes.

-Keep a box of clear, zip-plastic bags handy for last minute parts, screws, wires, and catch-all items.  Write on the bag where they go in the new home.

Remember to pack a sense of humor, focus on the positive aspects of the relocation, take breaks and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.

Getting Ready to Move

Many of our clients have contacted us recently to help with the whole process of getting ready for a move. From preparing the house to put on the market, to getting everything in order for the actual move.  We have developed a process that helps things go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few of the steps we use:

First, go through the home and decide on the large pieces of furniture.  Which ones will definitely be going with and which ones are questionable.  Make a list of the items you know you want to sell, donate and trash.  Make arrangements to get these items out as soon as possible (provided you will not need them to stage the house). 

Next, tackle the smaller items room by room.  Go through everything, and I mean everything, to make sure you still love it and use it.  This is the perfect time to get rid of items the kids have not used in years or that wedding gift you received twenty years ago and is still in the package!  Take items to donate, consignment store or trash. 

The final step is to make sure all "like" items are sorted together and ready for the packing proces.  This will make it so much easier on the other end. 

No time to do all these steps?  No worries, you can always contact a professional organizer at your destination city and have them help you sort it all out then.