Shopping Addictions and Hoarding: Extreme Spending and Saving

Shopping is embedded in our culture. But sometimes it turns into addiction. It becomes a compulsive disorder which brings a temporary high. This excessive, chronic, and impulsive behavior can destroy a person’s finances and relationships. (It goes way beyond a weak-moment shopping spree.) Help may come to overspenders in the form of Debtors Anonymous meetings, credit or debt counseling, and professional assistance from a therapist.

Then there are those who save. Some people save things, and some people save everything. When it gets to the point that a home is nearly uninhabitable, compulsive hoarding may be the culprit. People who suffer from this psychological condition see the value in every object, leading to the inability to get rid of things (even items of no value, such as old newspapers and food containers).

Hoarding is more extreme than simply accumulating clutter. Hoarders may not be able to move around the home. Floor space may shrink to a single pathway. Hoarding restricts everyday activities like cooking, cleaning, or sleeping and severely reduces the quality of life. Hoarders may not even recognize the extremity of their surroundings. Or, if they do, they may refuse to let family and friends visit their homes for fear of being criticized.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of hoarding or shopping addiction, consider contacting a therapist. Good resources for basic information about hoarding are the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (www.challengingdisorganization.org) and the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation (www.ocfoundation.org).

© 2018 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™

Getting Your Clothing in Order: A Step-By-Step Guide to a Perfect Closet

When preparing for the perfect closet, the goal is to come up with a system that will allow you to maintain it with minimal effort, while maximizing your space, time, and wardrobe. And remember that the closet works in conjunction with other storage spaces as well — you'll want to also cull through clothing in your dresser(s) during this process, as well as any other clothing stored under the bed or elsewhere in your home.

1. Do the laundry. This might sound like a strange place to start, but make sure that any dirty clothing is laundered before you begin the process so you can see everything you have.

2. Once all your clothing is rounded up, start sorting. Pull out everything from the closet and dressers, finding logical categories. Put casual clothing in one area on the bed or floor by category (t-shirts, tanks, yoga wear, shorts, pajamas, etc.) and work or dressier clothing in another (skirts, dresses, dressy pants, button-downs, sweaters, jackets). Also group together shoes, belts, scarves, and other accessories. Even socks, bras, camis, and underwear need to be sorted.

3. Once everything is sorted into categories, now is the time to pare down. Once you have everything sorted, you may discover that you own multiples of the same item. How many black t-shirts do you really need? This is your chance to get rid of those items that don’t fit, are out of style, or are not practical. Remember, it’s important to let your clothing have a little breathing room to keep it wrinkle-free, as well as to allow you to easily view your closet’s contents.  Toss out anything stained, ripped, or out of shape. Did you know that most people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time? Donate or consign items that don't flatter your figure or coloring. If you haven't worn it in the past 12 months, let someone else enjoy it!

4. Now, figure out where everything is going to "live" and assign a "home." Consider the storage spaces in your bedroom... both your closet and dresser(s) will come into play. Designate a shelf, section of rod, or drawer for each category of clothing. There is no single "right" way to do this, but it will be helpful to separate your closet by item type, then group similar items by color. Button-down shirts, dress pants, blazers, dresses, skirts, etc. should all be batched together so you can quickly see and assess your options when you look in your closet. Dressers are a good option for your folded casual clothing, such as t-shirts and yoga wear, as are shelves in your closet.  And where will off-season clothing go? Only keep your “A" team or current clothes in your main closet and dresser. Shift seasonal clothes, maternity, and “other size" items to another storage space, such as under your bed. Many people can reduce the amount of clothing in their closet by half if they follow this guideline.

5. Reconfigure your closet if necessary. If the closet only has one rod across the top, you may want to consider redesigning your closet for maximum space efficiency. Consider simple, inexpensive modifications such as adding a double hang closet rod to double your hanging space. You may also be able to adjust your shelves and rods to better accommodate your space needs. Be sure to use the entire closet space, including the vertical space under hanging clothes. For instance, underneath short-hanging garments, place a low trunk full of sweaters. A set of plastic drawers or a simple wooden dresser could hold lingerie, swimsuits, and socks. Really want to make over your closet? Give it a clean, fresh coat of light-colored paint. This reflects the light and gives you a solid neutral background to view your clothing against. Give the closet a good vacuuming and dusting, too.

6. Find storage containers that are sturdy and sized appropriately. Use containers you already own or shop for new ones at stores like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, or The Container Store. Sweaters, t-shirts, and sweatshirts line up nicely on shelves with the help of vertical shelf dividers or when placed in clear plastic boxes or hanging canvas shelves. Accessories such as purses, scarves, and belts can be placed in clear boxes or attractive wicker baskets on open shelves.

7. Return clothing to the closet. Organize your clothing to work with your lifestyle. Section garments by type, then by color, so you can always easily see what you have. Hang pants, jackets, button-front shirts, dresses, and skirts. T-shirts, pajamas, sweaters, yoga wear and underthings should be folded and put in dresser drawers, on shelves, or in bins. Don’t put matching tops and bottoms together, since this stops you from seeing other ways to combine them. Arrange clothes so those you wear most often are nearest the front of the closet.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Dive In + Let Go = Freedom

Many of the folks we encounter have struggled at one point or another with the feeling that they just can’t let things go.  Whether you are preparing for the holidays or are ready to be free from clutter, learning to live –happily- with less is possible. 

First, imagine your home clutter free.  Seeing the picture of what you want to accomplish will make the goal real.   A personal trainer friend of mine says:  “Know the goal.”  This applies to everything in life and will keep you motivated once you get started.

Second, Dive in!  Simply start by removing excess items room by room. If scheduling only allows for 15 minute increments, then start there.  Excess clutter includes anything that is no longer useful, needed or wanted.  This means clothing items that no longer fit,  books that are collecting dust, old toys and games, magazines or ANY item that is taking up space but not being utilized or enjoyed.  Also remember that a gift belongs to the person who received it.  If the dishes from Aunt Sue are not your style give them to someone who will enjoy them.

Third, change lifestyle habits.  Implement a routine to pick-up or put away items that are used on a daily basis.  Even if you don’t have time to read the mail every day, sort it into categories (to read, to pay, take action) and put the rest directly in the recycle container.  Before the next major (or impulse) purchase ask yourself:  What value does this bring to my life? 

It is possible (and freeing!) to let go by considering a renewed mindset and by taking action.  Begin taking steps now to enjoy a stress-free, clutter-free holiday season!