We were interviewed by Moira Riccio, a North Shore realtor, and want to share this quick video so you can get to know more about our services.
Prep to Show.
Less is more when getting your house ready to show. There is nothing wrong with packing up items you don’t need to use within the next month or so. Put neatly stacked boxes in your basement or attic (depending on heat/dampness). Also, create drop zones so the morning of a showing you can clear your counter tops and put the toaster & paperwork in a closed cabinet. Do the same for the bathroom counter items. Keep a shoe box that you throw your hairbrush, toothpaste etc. in to get it out of the way for showings.
ShipShape packs so we know exactly what came out of each desk drawer and can mark it accordingly. We also have a few tricks along the way such as marking the lamp shades with the appropriate lamps so you don’t have to wonder what goes with what on the unpacking end.
This is one of our favorite parts of move management! We get to put everything back in an appropriate spot and make sense of it all. By the time we leave the boxes will be gone and everything will be in its place.
Just too busy to deal with your house and the “stuff”? We are the magic behind the scenes making sense of everything. We organize donations, junk haul and even if you don’t want to get rid of anything we set up organization solutions for you so everything has a home.
Being organized is not minimalism. Our team of organizers knows where everything in their house is and one will not find clutter on counters and workspaces, or in drawers or behind closet doors. Zones in our kitchens are practical, such as coffee mugs are above the coffee maker. Similar glasses are organized and lined up together. All mixing bowls are nested and grouped. The simple pleasures of being organized are not only having clear countertops but knowing items behind doors will be tidy.
We are organized.
We do not want to throw everything you have away. Organizing allows you to:
1) find things easily
2) have less stress and enjoy a sense of peace
3) have items that are useful and/or that you love
Benefits of being organized.
Many friends and family members make comments such as, “you’d be so proud of me, I took 3 bags to the donation center yesterday.” My reply is always, how do you feel after doing that? The resounding response is ”I can’t believe I didn’t do it years ago. Those clothes have been out of date and have not fit me for a very long time. I always thought I would consign them.” Right now, with covid, consignment stores are being more picky than ever. Many of the ones we use are not taking formal wear such as dresses, mens blazers etc. because that’s now what people are wearing in the midst of this pandemic. Letting go is a positive step forward to becoming organized.
Closing for several months, donation centers are now open. However, some are not sending trucks for home delivery pick-ups; others have limited the items they are taking. We love donation centers because our items are going to someone who will love and use them. This not only benefits the new owner, but allows us to let go more easily because we are not filling a landfill and there is someone on the other end of the donation who will appreciate the item. NOW is the time to start because who knows what the future will be for donation centers. If they close again, you will find us crying in a corner somewhere! Today is a very good time to load up some bags or boxes. Get rid of items you don’t love or use. Enjoy that sense of peace that accompanies the “letting-go” process. And, find things easily! The clock is ticking….
…and at times, what seems like ½ of America! If you are looking to declutter and organize, you are not the only one.
The New Year is abuzz with organizing resolutions and Marie Kondo’s Netflix series. Al Roker committed to declutter as his New Year’s resolution, and Kondo is making her way into homes and giving us a glimpse of the clutter her clients face.
Everyone’s talking. I overheard a woman mentioning the Kondo episodes to a friend; facebook friends are commenting that they are inspired; and I received an e-mail from a client saying “I’m in one of those moods again.” When I opened the email, she says “a mood where I want to throw everything in my house OUT! Tchotchkes are bugging, too many things blah blah blah!”
Marie Kondo has obviously generated a big buzz and is bringing light upon a very old issue. Too much clutter. I have watched half her series and will probably watch them all by this weekend. What is it that makes us so intrigued about other people’s clutter?
Here are 10 take-aways from Marie Kondo’s Netflix series.
Best to commit. Organizing is a long process, takes a lot of energy and you need to set aside time to tackle the organizing projects. There is instant gratification, but there is no quick fix. Kondo’s shows go into days and weeks and present the reality of decluttering. Yesterday, we were on Day One with a client who wants to organize her kitchen to 3rd floor. Her husband happened to walk in mid-day to grab some lunch. He could barely make his way from the front door to the refrigerator because we had so many boxes and piles around. I hear my business partner say “it always gets worse before it gets better” While that was probably some comfort, I’m sure his initial reaction was not one of “joy”! Hopefully at 7:00 last night when he returned, he was amazed at the transformation because the kitchen counters were completely cleared off, the dining room table was no longer buried under “stuff”, and his wife was ecstatic with the progress she had made. When we left, the dining room table had two candles and a decorative table runner and went from chaos to an actual table where they could eat dinner. It was a lot of hard work on her part. Did we get to the second and third floor that same day? A complete house transformation? Definitely not. It takes time.
Vision. Every single client of ours has home decorating magazines and most look at those magazines and say “that is what I want”. When a client starts to melt down through the process after hours of work, I always tell them to remember the end goal for the space. Know why you are embarking on the organizing challenge. Do you want to be able to enjoy family more, relax in your own home, find your belongings so you aren’t always late for an appointment or bill to be paid? Keep the vision and you’ll be encouraged to keep going. Kondo asks her clients “why they want to start this organizing journey” at her first consultation which is very important. You have to want to take the challenge and be all in.
Sort by Categories? Marie Kondo’s first session is always facing the clothes. She tells clients to gather every single piece of clothing and put it on the bed. My guess is she hopes they will be shocked by what they find that they haven’t seen in a long while and by the sheer volume. This in turn hopefully inspires them to let go. Kondo asks them to say thank you to clothing that does not spark joy and begin a donate pile. We do the same with our clients specifically when it comes to clothes. We often go a step further by pulling out pants first. It is helpful to see how many pairs of black pants one has in order to make an educated decision on what to donate – too short, too long, too wide in the hips, too tight in the hips. All these factors help the decision making process and when you see 20 pairs of similar pants in front of you it is easier to pick the ones that fit you well and that you feel good in.
Blessing the home. This is a first which I have not seen yet, nor practiced. Afterall, I do live in New England! However, I do understand the home should be appreciated and why closing your eyes and having a peaceful moment at the beginning of a session can give you the courage and focus needed. When our clients get overwhelmed, and trust me this happens a lot, it is beneficial to take a break and walk away for a while, or just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Think how relaxing and centering yoga can be. It’s the same concept.
Folding Clothes? Yes, in certain drawers it is beneficial to have your t-shirts all standing up so you can see the different colors and the favorite pink one is not buried at the bottom. Is it sustainable during busy lives? I am not so sure. Confession of an organizer, I throw my socks into a basket. They are not neatly in a row in a drawer. After all, it needs to be easy at times. However, with t-shirts the Kondo method works.
Containers. Kondo uses boxes as sectionals in drawers which is great, especially when it comes to sorting small items from batteries to hair accessories. We use them all the time and an iphone box often finds a new life when we organize.
Celebrate the accomplishments. Encouragement goes a long way, and it helps to have someone tell you that your progress is fantastic. Kondo is constantly returning to clients’ homes to see their progress and praising the hard work that it takes. Congratulate yourself at the end of an organizing session!
Permission to let go. It is clear in every episode that Kondo asks her clients to see what sparks joy and thank the items that no longer do. In a nutshell, she gives them permission to let go and expects them to do so! It’s ok and actually rewarding to let go of items you no longer use or need.
Teaching. Marie Kondo teaches her clients how to organize on their own. If you don’t get involved in organizing your home, it doesn’t accomplish the real goal which is to have you take ownership of the organizing process now and in the future.
Team Effort. When it comes to organizing a family home, everyone must be involved for it to be successful. Kondo does a good job of bringing the family into the process, even if it is a child trying to fold a piece of clothing.
I thank Marie Kondo for bringing light to our profession, but most importantly, for inspiring so many to make a change. Yes, it is a TV show with an edited glimpse into families lives, but my guess is everyone who watches the show can find some aspect that resonates with them. It is hard to walk away without evaluating our own lifestyle. Her clients inspire viewers to make a similar change and give them a sense that there can be an end to what may be causing them so much stress. At the end of every show, the message is clear. Kondo’s clients are happier with less and maybe you will be as well. If you need help, check out our organizing services. We’d love to hear how you are inspired by decluttering.
I’ve just read Marie Kondo’s book, The life-changing magic of tidying up, and while I found it interesting, I agreed with some practices and have contradictory perspectives in other areas. I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Kondo when she says “when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.” However, I do believe the means to the end is different for every client, and there is not a standard set of rules that can be laid out as a one-size fits all approach.
Know what works for you.
Everyone is different. Our thresholds are different – what some may call clutter, others may call collections. Some may be bothered by a few clothes on a bedroom chair and want things to be tidy, others may say it feels comfortable. Are you a minimalist and like everything stored away neatly, or do you like sugar canisters, utensil holders and appliances gracing your countertops? Do you feel lost when your papers are filed away in folders out of sight; do you feel like you might miss something?
Know your space.
Do you have space? Maybe you acknowledge that you have too many salad bowls and serving platters, but if you have the kitchen cabinet space, is there a problem? My answer would be no as long as you use them and love them, unless you are indeed moving to a smaller home.
Do you want to live in the past or present or a combination of both? Many of my clients have boxes and boxes of photos, personal letters and what we refer to as mementos. Mementos is by far one of the more dangerous categories. I find as I work with a client that we start a box and label it mementos. As we go through room by room over the course of several sessions, when the client picks up something they don’t know what to do with, they often say put it in mementos. So, too easily the memento box can become more than one, and then they are moving all their tangible items that bring back the memories such as travel logs, personal correspondence, and tchotchkes that they have bought over the years….. That is when I have to remind them that the memento box is not a storage unit with unlimited space! I agree sometimes letters and photos do bring back memories of an event that you had since forgotten. Yet, after reviewing the letter, ask yourself am I ever going to look at this again? Does the memory fade when the letter is gone? Is it an important memory to keep? How many letters is a realistic number to have as keepsakes? Typically, we tell our clients limit yourself to one large plastic see through memento box of very precious correspondence, awards, gifts from a grandchild or loved one, diplomas, yearbooks, and thesis.
Take a look at your life. When it comes to clothes or entertaining, keep this in mind. Do you have a closet full of long gowns, silk dresses (some with shoulder pads maybe?), and high heel shoes that you can barely walk in without twisting an ankle? Maybe you don’t attend so many galas and benefits anymore and can donate or consign a lot of your clothing. Are you a stay at home Mom, and your closet is stuffed with blue and black business suits from your banking days? If you return to the work force in a few years, isn’t the fashion or business culture going to be different? Maybe your new company will have casual Fridays and many of the suits can be donated as you probably will buy new ones if ever needed again. The same holds true with entertaining. Do you have lots of formal dinners? If you have three sets of formal china (of which one set is probably your Mother’s or Grandmother’s), determine which set you love and use. If you hate Grandma’s china, then ask family members if they want it, and if not give yourself permission to donate it. Grandma’s intention was not to have her china sit in a box in your basement. If you like it, use it, and if not let it go!
Does the item bring you great joy? Be realistic. If you were to never see the item again would you be heartbroken? For some items, you will clearly say yes! For others, they might be a gift someone gave you that you don’t really care for and find it hard to donate. Or, an item that you spent too much on and certainly can’t give away! Or conversely, an item that was a bargain and you just have to keep it! It comes down to not where or how you purchased or acquired the piece, but present day, does it bring you joy?
Why did you ask for help? Why do you read so many books on how to organize your life? What is the specific challenge you face? Ask why it became this way and how can it be solved? You have obviously reached out for a reason and that is the first step in conquering clutter.
I typically tell clients to take a room by room approach to organizing or de-cluttering. However, there are exceptions. The other day, I was working with Marie. She loved her books, and it seemed they were as one would imagine spread out among several bookshelves in multiple rooms and a few piles lurked on the floor next to furniture. We were trying to make space on the bookshelves for other items that needed a “home” so we needed to sort through books and start a donate pile.
When you focus on one category whether clothes, vases, Tupperware or books, it is helpful to see in entirety what you have in order to determine what can be donated or given to a friend. You may find you have 12 pairs of similar black pants among your closet and the guestroom closet and a few old pairs that have been sent to the attic. If I were to ask you initially, you may find yourself telling me you have 5 pairs of black pants.More
Have you set some goals for yourself this year? My guess is that many of you have an organizing project that has been challenging you and is now on your to-do list for 2015. Is your resolution to commit time to organize your closet, playroom, or garage? If you can accomplish it on your own, great! However, if it gets to be the end of January, and you are still feeling overwhelmed, there is help! We love organizing! We understand and appreciate the fact that it is not for everyone, but we love the sense of gratification from taking a closet that is overstuffed with “stuff” and making it functional and organized. The Today Show featured a makeover of Hoda’s closet and her sense of excitement is what we typically see in all of our clients. More
It’s a beautiful, sunny, crisp 50 degree day, and I enjoyed a walk with a friend. We had a lot to catch up on and started talking about goals. Business goals, personal goals, family goals and I
realized that organizing goals are very similar. A goal is a means to an end result. For example, we might want to lose weight but not just for the sake of losing weight, but to have more energy, fit in our clothes, feel more confident….whatever one’s reason may be.
Goals are personal. We might want to have a job that has a consistent schedule, but it is the end result which may be different based on the individual. Is it because it would allow one to plan their day more fully, schedule activities, or would it purely be to add structure to what may now be an unpredictable day with a loss of focus. More
Did you know April is stress awareness month? Maybe some of your clutter is adding a little or a lot of stress to your life. In under an hour, you can have that feeling of instant gratification by either donating, recycling, or tossing some of the following items.
Catalogs: There is really no need to save past issues. They just collect dust. Recycle them or better yet, use www.catalogchoice.org to opt out of receiving them!
Paperback Books: If you’ve read them and they are good, note it on the inside page and then pass them on to a friend or take a trip to your local library.
Recipe Books: If you use your books for artwork and they decorate a shelf, that’s great. If not, you can get most of your recipes on-line these days and the books are probably taking up valuable shelf space that can be used for other items.
Old Sneakers: Save one pair for gardening or muddy walks, but toss the rest!
Pens and Pencils: Who doesn’t have too many? Enough said.
Wedding Gifts: We all have good intentions and want to use that rice cooker we received as a wedding gift years ago, but if you haven’t used it yet, you won’t! Donate it.
Towels and Sheets: The rule of thumb is 3 towels per person but we feel 2 is plenty. Most will say 2 sheet sets per bed, but if you only have one it’s less folding and less storage space needed. Donate all those extra towels to pet shelters.
Games and Cards: If you’re missing pieces, toss them.
Decorative Pillows: Are there some hanging out in your attic just waiting for you to purchase the perfect color sofa, donate them.
Duplicate Tools: How many hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches does one really need? Some may say they need a lot but you don’t.