Recent posts

Winter storm season is in full swing!  Oftentimes, when a damaging storm hits we are not fully prepared but what we’re really not prepared for is the emotional aftermath: feelings of loss, of fear, where do we go, where do we turn, do we have enough cash on hand because the banks are closed, do we have the basics such as water and shelter or can we easily get those?

Think about how you would cope with no electricity: how do you charge your phone, do you keep the appointment you had in the next city over that wasn’t affected by the storm, what do you do if you need to get in touch with someone, do you need electricity for medical devices? No television is very disruptive for many who can’t sleep at night because perhaps that’s the only way they can fall asleep and now that’s not available.  No coffee in the morning because there’s no electricity and there’s no water to make that coffee. What would you do in that case if you didn’t have a generator?  You could get trapped in your home by the weather because trees have fallen, and you can’t get out of your driveway.

And, if you can get out of your driveway you might not have the cash to go to the grocery store. Let’s say you can buy the groceries but then you need to carry them into your home, perhaps up your stairs? What if the stairs have an electric glider that’s your only way upstairs and the battery has drained? This would be stressful for any of us but it’s especially stressful for people who are physically challenged.

It all just becomes too much stress on stress on stress.

The same can happen if you don’t prepare and plan for a move to a new home.  Planning for the physical and emotional changes you will experience needs to happen earlier rather than later.  Move dates sneak up on people and take them by surprise because there was not enough planning and preparation at the very earliest stages.  I know there can be emergency situations where you have no control but, if you have control take advantage of it.  Plan for your next move in life, let your family and friends know what your next move will be and what is the criteria that will signal it’s time to happen.

I suggest you plan a year ahead of your move and make choices and changes as you go.  For example: if you live up north and this will be your last winter in the snow, donate your winter coats, skis, hats, gloves, etc. once you’re at the end of the season.  Do that with each season but keep the items that coincide with your new climate.

I’ve created a 7 Tip Sheet to help you decide where to move in a year.  Take a look.

7 Basic, Initial Tips to Help Decide Where to Move in a Year

Contact me if you need help.

OMGosh!  Are you over all the paper that gets sent to your home?  I am!

I really don’t need offers of maintenance contracts on vehicles I’ve sold.  I don’t need to see all the types of cars I can purchase.  I don’t need catalogs filled with clothing that does not suit my lifestyle or where I am in this stage of my life.  But I still get these mailed to me and that’s an indication to me that it’s time to renew my no more unsolicited mail request online.

I really don’t mind getting bills: electric usage bills, homeowner’s association bills, cable tv bills.  These types of paper mail are reminders that I have a roof over my head, I enjoy all the comforts electricity provides and I have time to watch television instead of having to work 3 jobs during every waking moment. I don’t mind these mailings!

Recycling the unwanted bills reduces items going to the landfill, yes, but what about not cutting down that tree to begin with? Here’s the way to reduce unwanted mail:  go to this website https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email and follow the directions for each of the items you no longer want.  It’s easy, fairly inexpensive and it will take but minutes today to reduce a lot of stress.  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email

Let me know how you feel about your reduced mail in about a month.  And, sign up for my newsletter, no paper involved!

Daily At A Glance

I was a guest on Mia Moran’s Plan Simple Meals Podcast https://plansimplemeals.podbean.com/ and introduced to her audience the value of a handwritten, permanent daily schedule to manage time-choices.   I first created this when I started a new job within my family’s company and have taken it forward to all other career paths.  I was the Accounts Payable Manager and paying things before their due date sometimes came with the reward of a discount and boy those discounts would add up quickly so I wanted to take advantage of every single one.  In addition, I did not want money walking out the door in the form of unnecessary late fees or finance charges or both!!  So, I made up an index card listing “permanently recurring” items I needed to get done each day before the end of the day and before I tackled any emergencies or focused on any other dynamic work.

The concept is simple:  in your own handwriting record the daily, recurring weekly items you must accomplish. These are “permanent” items, they don’t change from week to week, month to month. For example areas you need to DeClutter, monthly bills-car payment, electric bill, mortgage, calls you need to make-fuel delivery, mom, things you need to do-send out birthday cards, order groceries for delivery, schedule appointments.  I find when I put these items in my phone’s calendar, I tend to ignore them and the alarm reminders I have set.  Somehow, I get it done when it’s written down, perhaps because it’s attached to my desk, so I have to deal with the permanently recurring items immediately before I walk out the door.

These are small items that weigh on your mind even though they are reoccurring.  They tug at your memory demanding you remember them.  Well, what if you took that tugging away from your brain because it’s written in front of you?  The one thing you need to get used to is looking at that sheet of paper every day.  It starts your day, you do those things first and then move on to your priority for the day.

This practice will change the way you look at your time-choices while giving you a sense of support and accomplishment.  I’ll attach my Daily at A Glance form to get you started: download it, fill it out and start tomorrow.  OR, create one that works best for you.  Let me know the positive changes that occur.

Download the form here:   DAILY AT A GLANCE

Throwing GUILT, oh my!  We can all probably say we’ve thrown a little guilt at one time or another!  Here’s the thing about guilt, it makes the guilt-delivering-person and the guilt-receiving-person feel bad. Not wanting to Move-Family-Treasures-Guilt is the pain of not wanting to let go and hoping that others feel the same way about your treasures as you do OR you will try to make them feel the same way and that does NOT work!

Mostly, it’s elder parents who downsize before their adult children downsize and want the adult children to take all the “stuff” they have collected from ancestors before them.  Many years earlier the elder parents accepted their own parent’s treasures because, during that particular period of time, things generally were A. well made, B. cost a fortune and C. it was understood those treasures were intended to be passed down.  So, we have Baby Boomers holding on to their grandparent’s possessions and now they are the ones looking to downsize and give the items they no longer want or need to their children.  Guess what?  The grandchildren, in general, don’t want those family treasures.  They have purchased or rented furniture that is contemporary, sleek and light in many cases: heavy, brown furniture does not fit into their lifestyle.

Many adult grandchildren move frequently and change jobs just as frequently, they are not “Company Lifers” and I don’t mean that “Lifers” is a bad term, it just doesn’t seem to apply lately.  They tend to rent more than own and the dwellings they rent are smaller and cannot fit the large profile furniture of their grandparents.  Their color schemes are different than the muted greens, browns, oranges of their grandparents and frankly, you can buy a new piece of furniture in the color you want cheaper than if you take something to be re-upholstered in a new color/pattern.  AND, the fabrics are different now, a big one being they can be sun and stain resistant, something their grandparents didn’t have incorporated into their furniture.

Trinkets, novelties, figurine collectibles are not so desirable to the adult grandchildren.  They have no space and many former family treasures have no meaning to them.  They, smartly, prefer to have less to dust and keep clean!!  Good for them, let’s join them and get rid of that Not-Moving-Family-Treasure-Guilt!  Contact me for help moving and sign up on this home page for my newsletter.

I came across this snakeskin during a DeClutter session the other day and I wondered where he is now, is he behind the next box, has he already left the garage?  It made me think of the reason he was there in the first place, he probably was looking for his next meal and followed the scent of a mouse.  We find so many mice in basements and attics!

Then I started thinking about how we should all protect ourselves while DeCluttering from sharp objects, rodents, snakes, toxins, allergens, heavy items…and possessions we never want our friends and family to see.  These items can take the form of hidden bottles of alcohol (empty or full) or stashes of drugs or their paraphernalia.  Items such as these might not represent who we are NOW or who we are attempting to be in the future but there they are, still present in our home, like a weight around our necks.

Now is the time to DeClutter items that no longer have meaning to you but might be hurtful if your children or loved ones found them.  We have had children uncover their mother’s engagement announcement to a man besides their dad that was posted in the paper, they had no idea their mother was engaged before being married to their father.  Their parents were a long time, loving couple, they had never thought of the possibility that their mom had been in love with someone before their father.  It was shocking and I’m sure their mother had no idea of the pain that clipping would cause 60 years later.  Seemingly, it was saved in the moment and forgotten in the pile of memorabilia and hurt of the breakup.  But, here it was, being uncovered by those she would have protected from this knowledge at all costs.

Look at your possessions, especially the hidden ones, ask for help clearing emotional-producing items out of your life if you cannot do it alone or leave the premise and let someone else clear them out for you if they still hold a lot of power and emotion over you.  Contact DeClutter By Deirdre for help with these emotionally charged DeCluttering Sessions. You can do tough things! I believe in you!

The key to DeCluttering is to create a Habit of DeCluttering. And one of the keys to adopting the Habit of DeCluttering is to understand where your cluttering or DeCluttering Habits first started so you can adjust the bad habits into new, positive DeCluttering Habits.

What is your earliest memory of a DeCluttering Habit or lack of a DeCluttering Habit?  Was your earliest memory of cluttering and DeCluttering before you were a teenager?  Take a minute to return to your 15 year old self, what were your DeCluttering Habits?  Did you have any that you had observed and adopted or were told to do?  Were they related to just your space or to your home and if you had a yard to your yard? Now think about your 25-year-old self, what did those DeCluttering Habits look like during that period of your life?  Were they different from your 10-year-old, 15-year-old or 25-year-old habits? When did the Habit of DeCluttering change? What are the DeCluttering habits you would like to keep?  Which habits do you want to release?

I have found a person’s DeCluttering Habits are established early and are only changed by a shift in perspective or a dramatic incident.  Many times it’s a tragic, life-altering event, it can also be as simple as someone showing you that another way to present yourself to the world works better than the current way.

To start your DeCluttering journey examine when those Habits of cluttering and DeCluttering first appeared and what caused them.  Then observe how they have changed, or not, over the years. Thirdly, decide which habits would best serve you going forward in your life and make those changes. Believe that you can make a small change right this minute, you can.  I believe in you.

“Deirdre’s presentation on de-cluttering and “stuff” management was professional, interactive and fun!  It was filled with many helpful, practical methods of going through your personal possessions and preparing for a move or life’s changes.  With such great ideas, I heartily recommend Deidre and her company DeClutter By Deirdre.”

M.A.

Great Grandma’s China
One of the most angst producing items to get rid of in a home is the family’s set of china. The most expensive bone china was almost a given on all bridal registries and part of the wedding experience was planning a day to meet at the bridal registry at a favorite department store. Now, it stays stacked in piles in a breakfront or on shelves in the basement or packed away in a storage unit.
The sad thing is, right now not many people are interested in grandma’s china therefore it’s very hard to sell china. Unfortunately, those expensive, beautiful pieces of artwork that someone used to crave to be added to their wedding gift registry are out of style. Think of all the familiar manufacturers of china: Noritake, Lenox, Royal Dalton and Mikasa to name a few. There are also grades of china: fine bone china, porcelain, ceramic and earthenware/stoneware.
I suggest getting rid of the heavy dinnerware and use the bone china! Bone china is very durable and tends not to chip like other forms of dinnerware. China is lightweight and easier to handle as we get older. It’s thin and a lot of plates can be stacked in one cabinet.
Speaking of a lot of plates, think about how many you actually need. If you no longer host all the family dinner parties why not keep only the amount that you need for 6 days of meals? Keeping only 6 sets of dinnerware also allows for visiting company.
Try to find an organization who could use the extra dinnerware, think outside the box, ask around to different organizations, you will be surprised which organizations will take them.
Use the fine china, you deserve it!

I want you to understand the gravity of how quickly your situation can change. This is such an important concept that I am writing about it again, 2 years after my first post on the subject of personal control over your items and the importance of DeCluttering while you are still in charge of your faculties and your life.

Mary and Bill were living in their colonial home in a remote section of their town. Living with them were their Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and their wheelchair accessible van that they needed to get around town.  Their daughter lived 2 hours away and was bedridden, pregnant with her first child.

Colonials traditionally have a small half bath on the first floor and a steep staircase to get to the bedrooms and larger, full-size bathrooms. Mary was in a wheelchair because of some difficulty walking and it had been determined that she should go to a rehabilitation facility to gain back some physical strength.  At the same time, her husband Bill was moved to a different facility in a different town in order for him to regain strength lost after an illness.  They were both headed towards release from their perspective rehabilitation facilities and they decided it was time to move to a permanent home in an assisted living center which would entail moving to a third location.  Mary called me to see if we could facilitate that move to that third facility and coordinate with their CNA’s.

We set up a meeting so I could I meet with the 2 CNA’s to understand what Mary and Bill would need.  Mary had told me over the phone items she would need in their now very small one-bedroom apartment at their new home, but all other decisions were up to the CNA’s and they went back and forth as to which items should be taken to the new place.  They tried their best and I waited patiently for them to decide.

An issue came up while we were trying to get their possessions moved: I couldn’t get in contact with their head CNA, phone calls were made by me but never returned to me until a family member let me know that the CNA had been admitted to the hospital themselves!!  When we went to move the items that had been chosen we were told some of them were staying at the house and some new items were being taken to the new place.  We got the new items loaded up, unloaded at the new home and I set up their apartment in anticipation of Mary and Bill’s arrival the next day which was Thursday.  Friday, I got a call that Bill had died.

Months later I was giving a DeCluttering presentation at Mary’s new home and Mary attended. She wanted others to know what she had been through on her journey to her new one-bedroom home and recounted her story to all in attendance.  She wanted everyone to know she had zero say in what was taken to her new home, her nurse companion made those decisions for her and Bill and neither of them ever returned to their former home.  Mary said to listen to Deirdre, get rid of items while you are in charge.

I hope you will heed what Mary said and contact me if you need help onsite or from a distance.  www.DeClutterByDeirdre.com

Why haven’t you DeCluttered (even though you want to)?

You want to DeClutter but it seems like an overwhelming prospect to you. Websites are filled with images of rows and rows of matchy-matchy clear plastic containers with the perfect script or block lettering labels on them or, there are rows of color-coordinated cloth bins to separate like items. You think I want that! I want my closets and pantries to look like that. Excitedly you start dreaming of how your closet and/or pantry will look once it’s completely organized.

First, there are some decisions to make. Matching clear plastic bins and clear labels with black lettering or white labels with your favorite color lettering. Maybe you want the cloth, colorful bins. Do the containers you choose have lids, do you need lids or do containers without lids work better for your life? First, you must buy the matching clear plastic containers, where do you go for the “best” ones? Oh boy, now you must purchase a label maker. Hhhhmmm, do you choose the clear labels or the white labels?

This type of organizing, unless you’re a professional, is exhausting even before you begin! Decide for yourself which type of organizing will work best with your life. If decision making around bins and label makers and labels stop you in your DeCluttering tracks maybe you don’t need that level of organization right now. Maybe that’s something to be done in the future after you’ve DeCluttered.

Right now, reduce your stress. Look at what you want to accomplish utilizing baby steps. Don’t go buy hundreds of dollars of supplies, that adds pressure as well. Do what you can with what you have and in the future put together a fabulous labeled space.  If you need help, contact me. We can DeClutter your space utilizing Distance DeClutter By Deirdre where I will walk you through the process. I know how to support you and take away the overwhelm, contact me. DeClutterByDeirdre@gmail.com.