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Oh my it’s dark early these days!  Here are a couple of fall DeClutter tips:

If you haven’t done so already, plan a date to put outdoor summer items away early – earlier than you think. It’s much easier putting them away while the sun is shining and it’s relatively warm than waiting until it’s dark at 4pm.

If you’re 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 and set a date you will get rid of the items if they are not picked up.

Decide if you will really use each item next spring/summer. Now’s your chance to pass it along. Clutter is created by postponing decisions.

DeClutter currently stored items and clothing before putting away the items you are planning on storing for the winter. Keep in mind, some donation locations only accept the current seasonal items.

Do not accept items out of guilt that you don’t want from family members who are doing their own fall organizing. Thank them for thinking of you and ask them to pass that item on to someone else.

Ensure your personal paperwork is in order: wills, living wills, health care directives, etc. Discuss so all family members are clear on your choices.

Donate summer/fall clothes that no longer serve your station in life, no longer fit, or are dated. Check with your favorite charity to see if they take out-of-season clothing.

Look at donations from your DeCluttering efforts as helping someone who could use your extra items to improve their life.

If you are overwhelmed by your DeCluttering task ASK FOR HELP, it’s hard work physically and emotionally. Teamwork is best.

DeClutter By Deirdre is committed to assisting people & their families who struggle with where to start and complete De-Cluttering and organizing their homes so they can de-stress and enjoy a full life without extra burdens they could not previously tackle on their own.

It’s important to keep current with expiration dates on food. Do some of your spice containers look like the containers of your youth? Do you have fond memories of your grandparents or parents using those same spice containers? If yes, throw them away! Branding experts change packaging about every 10 years, even a slight change so if your cabinet contains 3 package iterations of the same item, toss the older versions. Without expiration dates on jars and cans it’s difficult to decide if the product inside is still safe, if your jars or cans have NO expiration date, take a good look and if you feel at all uneasy do not take a chance eating from them. Best practice is to make sure canned and jarred goods in your cabinets are not beyond their expiration date stamped on them. Try to take a look at expiration dates once a year, especially canned goods.

Here is what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says about expiration dates on food: “With the exception of infant formula, the laws that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administers do not preclude the sale of food that is past the expiration date indicated on the label. FDA does not require food firms to place “expired by”, “use by” or “best before” dates on food products. This information is entirely at the discretion of the manufacturer.

A principle of U.S. food law is that foods in U.S. commerce must be wholesome and fit for consumption. A “best by”, “use by” or expiration date does not relieve a firm from this obligation. A product that is dangerous to consumers would be subject to potential action by FDA to remove it from commerce regardless of any date printed on a label.”

People tend to place spices in the cabinet above the stove but as we age it gets harder to lift our arms that high and they get forgotten. Place herbs and spices lower so they are easily reached.

Be aware and stay healthy!

The Art of Living Lost: Deirdre De-Clutters
JUNE 1, 2017 BY THE ART OF LIVING LOST

I have a friend who “declutters” for a living; it doesn’t matter if you are a downsizing senior or an inefficient professional, she’s the master of re-organization.

I on the other hand am a recycler; I see the beauty in almost everything. I’m not just a saver of stuff per se but more of a sentimental connoisseur. So this week, while strung out on DayQuil, I decided to declutter my home and, in doing so, I unwittingly decluttered my mind and spirit. Let me explain.

Some say we have 50, 60 or 70+ THOUSAND thoughts a day, looking at my chaos, I wondered how many brain cells I’d burned subconsciously thinking about the crap that physically surrounded me? Items evoking the powers of fear, anger, disdain and embarrassment were all resting in my kitchen cabinets. I found stupidity, failure and gas pains lurking in my pantry. My bathroom was awash with the scents of first dates, success and bitchiness. I wondered, where did sexy go?

Rummaging and discarding; physically crushing and crashing my past, I simply felt lighter.

And with the lightness came clarity and joy.

Week after week I share stories about my every day, and sometimes, not so everyday, life.

I’ve asked you to look up and out; this week I am challenging you to take a look inside.

Inside your cabinets, your home, your office and your life. What’s lurking in plain sight that can be crushed, crashed and discarded? Think about it…

Until next week,

XXOO

http://www.theartoflivinglost.com/the-art-of-living-lost-deirdre-de-clutters/#more-2458

Non Judgment Zone
DeClutter By Deirdre operates in a non-judgment work zone which means, we don’t judge you or your environs and you don’t judge you. We are very familiar with life’s ups and downs and how they affect the way we live in our homes. Sometimes, it becomes impossible to live in a beautifully decluttered home: illness, death, despair, loneliness, or divorce sadness takes over, shows up and manifests as clutter in our lives. We can’t see beyond today and lack energy to put items away or clean or discard items that no longer serve us. It’s not the person you were and it’s not the person you are, it’s temporary.

I like to call this temporary state “Putting on Our Armor”. Visualize putting on a knight’s coat of armor, protecting us from evil and sad sources. I relate the clutter that piles up to this coat of armor, when the sadness goes away so does the coat of armor. Sometimes, we need help getting rid of that protective “armor” and subsequent clutter. You only need to ask and we will work beside you every step of the way, supporting and encouraging and never judging.
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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