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  1. Start early, earlier than you think, especially if you have a deadline. This should help relieve some stress. Clutter is created by postponing decisions.If you are storing items for others, set a date in the very near future for them to pick them up.  It might be emotional for them and they might push the date out so start early then set a date you will get rid of the items.
  2. Try to understand why, how and when the clutter started piling up. Try to be very honest and easy on yourself.
  3. When you get a postcard in the mail that a donation truck will be in the area schedule a pickup and promise yourself to leave them at least 3 large garbage bags worth of donations
  4. Do not accept items that you do not want from family members out of guilt.  Thank them for thinking of you and ask them to pass that item on to someone else
  5. Write down the stories associated with your family’s possessions and attach to the item if you are planning on passing them onto the next generation.  Sometimes just writing the story helps you release the item for someone else to enjoy.
  6. Ensure that all of your personal paperwork is in order, do not wait to do this: Wills, Living Wills, Health Care Directive, etc.
  7. Donate clothes that no longer serve your station in life or clothes that no longer fit or are dated.
  8. Look at donations from DeCluttering as helping someone who could use your extra items to improve their life.
  9. If you are overwhelmed by your DeCluttering task ASK FOR HELP, it’s hard work physically and emotionally.

Please sign up for my newsletter and to receive additional tips at www.DeClutterByDeirdre.com

DeClutter By Deirdre, A Senior Move Management Company

Connecticut Post Article: http://www.ctpost.com/news/slideshow/10-things-you-can-do-to-declutter-your-life-146527.php

DeClutter By Deirdre is committed to assisting people & their families who struggle with where to start and complete de-cluttering their homes so they can de-stress and enjoy a full life without extra burdens they could not previously tackle on their own. People who are ready to take control of all they can in their lives and develop solid systems that allow them to step away from items and stresses that no longer serve them and to enjoy the company of others and have the leisure time to pursue family time, interests and hobbies. Remodeled/organized spaces reduce the mental burden of clutter, allow easier movement about the house when physical challenges present themselves or changes to the home have to be made to allow those individuals who will be aging in place to stay in their own home. Donation to local charities is a major focus, help those in our communities so they can grow and change the world in a positive manner!

Deirdre is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, Coalition of Agencies Relating to Elderly Services, Connecticut Geriatric Society, Senior Care Resources of Western Connecticut and Treasurer for Friends of Newtown Seniors.

(How does that indulgent purchase feel compared to experiences you’ve spent money on?)
Clutter is baggage and can underscore indulgent purchases. What is an indulgent purchase? I’m willing to bet you had an immediate answer, not a second wasted in thought, on the tip of your tongue, before you finished reading that sentence. Is it a three-quarter length chocolate brown leather coat that you charged and paid off in three installments plus interest, hanging in the closet that hasn’t seen the light of day for several years because it doesn’t fit the same as when you first bought it and it’s no longer in style? Perhaps the fountain pen you paid $500 for is sitting in your desk still waiting for the day when you will sit and write long letters to friends and family? For a moment, stop and think, “What is my most indulgent purchase?”
Often times indulgent purchases may require justification because they were an impulsive decision. Indulgent purchases can be the choice that feeds your vices. Retail therapy, lethargy and/or denial of a difficult situation or period of life are the perfect combination for spending on, and justifying, an indulgent purchase. Right behind the feeling of immediate gratification comes the feelings of regret and perhaps irresponsibility. And, thanks to clutter, a visual reminder of the physical baggage.
The good news is a study shows that buying “experiences” is good for you. (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/to-buy-happiness-purchase-an-experience) The “happiness magic” is all in what, how and where you spend your money. Aside from the excitement of the initial purchase “high” of a material indulgence, the experience of the purchase can be short-lived and generally does not hold long interesting. When you spend less money on “stuff”, you spend less on maintenance of the “stuff”, rewarding you with more discretionary income.
More discretionary income means there’s more opportunity to buy experiences. Having fun, exciting experiences and making memories is something we look forward to and we get to re-live those experiences when sharing them with others over the course of a lifetime. The positive feelings we get from experiences is satisfying and lives longer in our hearts and emotions. The memories from the experience last a lifetime. And isn’t it more exciting and engaging to share about something you’ve done rather than something you own?
As you declutter your living space, you create space, the breathing room for clarity to uncover what you really want, what makes you truly happy and how you want to feel. The next time you find yourself about to make an impulsive, indulgent, or debt producing purchase, ask yourself these questions: 1) Am I buying for immediate gratification? 2) Am I buying because of the status it represents? 3) Am I buying to “fit in” because everyone else has it? or 4) Am I buying an experience?

Enjoy a20160520_225521 fun experience: Boy George and Cyndi Lauper singing Karma Chameleon

May your next purchase be a happy memory.

daffodilLiving Among the Paper Clutter and Dead Trees

It’s real!  The dining room table is buried beneath heaps of paper because the kitchen island has morphed from a rolling land of hills into a mountain ready to break an avalanche.  In the living room, there’s a mound of magazines and newspapers multiplying on the ottoman, with some spill over on the coffee table or chair awaiting for someone with spare time to read, sort through, clip and save, and maybe even restack.  The file cabinet is chock-full.  There could possibly be a box filled with paper in an attempt to deal with this issue at a more convenient time.  Better yet, there could even be a designated room housing the clutter of paper.  In any way, shape or form, there is acute knowledge of the accumulation of paper as it permeates throughout the house with ultimate plans for a takeover.

This may be a bit extreme, but the barrage of written and printed information we receive every day surrounds us.  Even though we live in an electronic age, the regular mail gets delivered just about everyday.  That’s almost 365 days of some form of paper delivered in one year.   And this doesn’t’ include the myriad of other avenues paper seeps into our space.  We reach for sticky notes to jot reminders, we send and receive printed-on-paper invites, receive subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and the insurmountable obstacle of brochures, flyers and promotion postcards, and more.  School artwork, your business and possibly parent’s personal business paperwork comes home, too.  Our spouse brings home paper from work.  We collect receipts for various reasons, some with very valid reason, and some…well, it’s a mystery as to why.

At the end of the day we walk in with the daily mail, just wanting to relax, and so we drop it on a counter, or a table thinking we’ll get to it “in a moment” or “later”.  Later doesn’t come.  That moment was long gone, perhaps several days ago.  But the paper…it’s still coming.  And it’s accumulating.  Whatever attempt we made or didn’t make is a conditioned response.  A habit.

Like tending to the garden or the yard cleanup every season removing weeds and debris, we need to tend to our “inner yard” – the landscape within our homes and with the same fervor and commitment.  We need cleaned up space, free from clutter and debris in order to grow, thrive, feel good, be our best and be profitable.  Surely, looking at the accumulation of paper reveals the high amount of usage that is occupying valuable real estate – the inside of your home.  As the mounds of paper continue to take up space, the daily process of recycling is halted.  And recycling is critical because about one third of new paper comes from recycled paper; therefore saving living and thriving trees.  Recycling the accumulated piles of paper is helping to conserve the trees in our natural landscape. Those stagnant mounds of paper are dead trees in your home, like the weeds and debris in a yard prior to clean-up.  In order for you to grow and thrive those piles of paper need to be cleared and brought to recycling.  Agree to designate a limited intake through change of habits, and possibly an intervention to end the accumulation of paper.

Ruthlessly, survey the interior of your home.  Where are the piles?  Look everywhere, the closets, the office file cabinet, the basket in the corner of the room, under the beds, the bottom shelf, that stuffed drawer, everywhere.  Tackle each section, one at a time, with the goals of organizing, sorting, shredding and recycling.  Spring clean-up starts today!

(Got Clutter?)

It’s fact:  Clutter is bad for your mind, and bad for your wallet.  It’s also bad for your health!  If your living space is messy and cluttered you are living with other housemates!  YES!  Other housemates, besides your family and pets.  A cluttered house is a haven for allergens that flourish indoors.  And if you have indoor allergies, chances are that house dust and it’s components may be a contributory culprit.  By decluttering and cleaning up your living space you will eliminate, if not minimize the presence of indoor allergens.  Decluttering helps you and your loved ones breathe easier.  And that’s GOOD NEWS!

Indoor allergens can be dust allergens, mold allergens and indoor pollen.  Dust mites, cockroaches, and pet dander tend to be the biggest offenders of house dust.  Mold allergens can be visible and invisible, and is a fungus that produces spores that float in the air like pollen.  Ornamental plants and fresh cut flower can be harboring indoor pollen, but most it’s blowing in from the outdoors through open doors and windows, or brought in on clothing or pets.

Silk plants and flowers are often overlooked, too.  These types of plants do not require regular watering care and can be often be unseen for the accumulation of dust.  If you decide to keep this type of decoration in your home, it will require cleaning and dusting.  To remove the dust you will need to wipe down the leaves.  If there are too many leaves you will need to take it outside using an industrial blower or purchase an air spray can and apply.  If there is an extreme amount of dust accumulated you may want to use a hose to rinse down the objects before bringing back into your home.

Dust in the house is a big issue for those with allergies.  The less trinkets around the house makes the dusting easier, and you will be more efficient and organized.  Everyone can breathe easier too!

The benefits of decluttering are far reaching past the aesthetic improvement and the mental health benefits.  A physically healthy self will emerge, like a rebirth, as you continue to live in your newly DeCluttered environment.  2014-07-21 11.28.38

20160801_111942    When is the last time you were asked that question?  How often have you really thought about “support” and the meaning, let alone who is your support.  By definition, support is a network of people who provide an individual with practical and/or medical support.  A good support system helps you achieve a better experience especially if you are going through a transition or a tough time.  A good support system lets you know you are not alone, and helps you to cope in a time of change.

“Getting your ducks in a row” is funny, but can lead the way for effective planning.  There are people all around who can help.  You may have answered this question easily, but the second part of the question is who is qualified to help.  It is important to consider the people in your life and the role they play, and what specific types of support they can offer, including practical planning and preparation.

Changes are part of life and can be challenging and require a lot of “knowing what to do” and the next steps for well-informed and right actions.  When things get difficult toughing it alone can be an uphill battle full of stress and quick decisions that result in answers you may have to live with vs. the time to make wiser and more informed decisions through the help, wisdom, experience and insight of others.  There are a lot of things to consider when dealing with the changes of life that need to be considered.  The guidance for these considerations will help with making the process easier and more pleasurable for you and your family.  This is where your support team can help.

With the right help and support your next life change can be done thoughtfully and easily.  Identifying and establishing a list of reliable people is the first step to building a support system that helps make informed decisions, guides, keeps you safe with ease.

So, who can you turn to?

How many do you really need? (Amasses your space, deflates your wallet)

Which comes first, your shopping habits that contribute to the clutter surrounding your home, or does the clutter exist because you have become immune to your daily surroundings and suffer from the blindness of your possessions?  Either way, both topics are worthy of mentioning and provide understanding when conquering the baggage of clutter.  Just like the long-standing examination “which came first, the chicken or the egg”, (truly, this question has been resolved), there is an answer to the origination of clutter in your home.

Clutter confuses your mind, amasses your physical space, and it attacks your wallet.  Tackling the clutter in your home requires acknowledgement of the monumental mess, by laying your eyes on the mountains of stuff piled so high you cannot see what you have including any broken or damaged items.  When you are taking the necessary steps to conquer the clutter in your space, you will most likely feel the pinch and question “where does this stuff come from?”  It can come from your shopping habits.

“Clutter blindness” can take a toll on your emotions resulting in impulse buys and over spending, or buying items that you already own.  You may be shopping to fill a void in your life.  Or perhaps the how, what, and who you buy for no longer meets your immediate needs.  If your life has evolved out of a family of 6 to just you and your spouse, your shopping habits need to evolve, too.  You will no longer need the value packs of 24 count of paper towels, or the 48 count of toilet paper, or the “buy 1 get 1 for free”, unless you make a conscious commitment to replace these value packs when you actually need them, and not keep them for accumulation.  If your family has reduced in size, has the size of your space changed?  Can your space accommodate these purchases?  The bottom line is what you buy and how you buy affects your living space.

The habit of shopping is not fun when it becomes a whirlwind of frenetic behavior and extreme indulgence.  It brings to you the accumulation of stuff that occupies valuable space in your home, and depletion of your wallet.  That’s a hefty price tag!  The money spent on impulse items would be better spent on a vacation that would enrich your well-being, or save for planning towards future life events.

 

As you live in the regular routine of your daily life you can become immune to your surroundings and the accumulation of stuff.  As the piles build you lose sight of things you already own.  Then add the layer of conditioning to buy more than you actually need, you are on the path to accumulation and clutter.  As you declutter and before you buy another thing, identify and list all that you own.  This may sound daunting, but will help with reprogramming your shopping habits.

Making a list of what you own shows you what you have, any duplicates, what you don’t need to buy again, and impulsive purchases.  Based on this list prepare to discard of the extras.  This is the first step of support for changing your mindset, and preparing you for the next time you need to shop.  Implementing a budget will help deter you from unnecessary spending.  Shopping with a prepared list of items to purchase that are absolutely necessary will aid in preventing a shopping frenzy.

When you identify your shopping habits and how they contribute to the chaos and clutter in your life, you can make better decisions that will support a more organized home and life.

What Do I Do with Expired Meds?

(Expiration Dates on Meds / Out of Sight, Out of Mind)

The smallest room in your home needs attention…

Even in design, the bathroom is too often neglected.  It’s the smallest room in your home, and contains so many and important things.  For sure, there’s most likely the medicine cabinet, and the average person spends 30 minutes a day in the bathroom.  If this statistic is true, then what’s behind the closed door of the medicine cabinet is ever-present and inevitably neglected until the moment calls to use something hidden from every day view.  Medications have a way of accumulating and are contributory to the “unseen clutter”.  And by taking the steps to declutter your medicine cabinet it is also a best way to prevent misuse or accidental use of medications.

When you open up the medicine cabinet, what do you see?  Assuredly, what you see isn’t comforting.  Besides the half-empty bottles of aspirin, bits and pieces of first aid solutions and personal care products, there is a collection of old prescription bottles from a previous illness.  And those prescription bottles contain meds that are long past the expiration dates.  There may even be medications that are not in the original container.

Of course, the first step is to throw out all that has expired.  It’s a telltale sign if you can’t remember when you bought it or if the medicines have changed color – it needs to be disposed of properly.  (Doubly telltale if you can’t remember what color the original medicine should be).  But there is a protocol for the proper disposal of unused and expired medications that is important for health and safety reasons.

There are precautions, environmental, and safety concerns for proper disposal of drugs and inhalers.  When disposing of medications it is important to remember that the illegal use of prescription medications is a concern as well.  Medicines are classified into categories because not all medicines can be immediately disposed into regular house-hold trash. Community take-back programs provide options for disposal, and require preparation for the expired meds for disposal or call your local Police Department, they might be part of a federal program that allows you to drop bagged medication into a receptacle at any time.  Recycle the plastic bottles or boil and take to your local Humane Society or Pet Adoption Center.

Cleaning out your medicine cabinet and exposing of expired medications should be done two times a year.  Assigning this task to an important date like daylight savings time and changing the battery in your smoke detector, or New Year’s Day and July 4th can serve as an important reminder and keep your medicine cabinet free and clear of the accumulation of expired medications.

DeClutter By Deirdre is committed to assisting people & their families who struggle with where to start and complete de-cluttering their homes so they can de-stress and enjoy a full life without extra burdens they could not previously tackle on their own. People who are ready to take control of all they can in their lives and develop solid systems that allow them to step away from items and stresses that no longer serve them and to enjoy the company of others and have the leisure time to pursue family time, interests and hobbies. Remodeled/organized spaces reduce the mental burden of clutter, allow easier movement about the house when physical challenges present themselves or changes to the home have to be made to allow those individuals who will be aging in place to stay in their own home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How accurate is this meme?  People keep plastic tubs without thinking.  The tub gets emptied, washed and stacked with the other 99 tubs in the cabinet. These tubs are great for storage but as the meme points out, you never know what is in them and the stored food tends to get forgotten and is then thrown away instead of consumed.  Take a hard look at your piles of tubs, how many do you really need?  One for the protein course, one for the green vegetables, one for the orange/yellow vegetables, one for the starch, one for the gravy/salsa/sauce and one for salad.  That’s about 6, only 6.  Get rid of the other tubs, this will keep your organization on track, no more tubs?  Eat what’s in them, no waste, no guilt throwing out spoiled food.http://www.memes.com/img/762317