Wednesday, 12 September 2018 06:45

9 Tips to help Seniors downsize

While I was growing up we moved every couple of years. With each move my mom would ruthlessly declutter and get rid of stuff she hadn’t used or no longer wanted. My lasting memory of each of these moves was mom presenting each of her 4 children with 1 large moving box. We had to sort out our toys, books and stationery and could only take what would fit into our respective boxes. As a result, we never accumulated unwanted stuff and each move was relatively easy.

Fast forward 50 years to my parents’ final move into a retirement home. Downsizing was easy, and decisions were made quickly and without too much stress.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Downsizing can be a stressful and anxious process for most Seniors, and choosing what to let go of and what to keep is often very difficult and emotional.

Here are 9 tips to make the downsizing process less stressful:

  1. Start early. Sorting out a lifetime and a home full of memories will take time. Give yourself plenty of time ahead of a move to work steadily through your home.
  2. Start easy: Start with items that have little emotional attachment and work your way to the more important items. I usually advise starting with linen, guest rooms, spare rooms and garages. This way you will ease yourself into the process and get used to letting go of things.
  3. Eliminate whole rooms: If you are moving from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom cottage, almost everything in those extra spaces will need to go, so it shouldn’t be hard to decide what to get rid of.
  4. Toss duplicate items: If you have more than one of anything, pick one you like and use, and donate the other. Also consider whether you need the item at all.
  5. Reduce your collections: If you have a number of collections it can be tough to get rid of them. I suggest you pick a couple of favourite pieces to keep and take photos of the rest, then let them go. That way you can remember your treasures without them taking up space.
  6. Make yes or no piles—no maybes: Sometimes you will struggle over an item. Put it in a ‘maybe’ pile and move on. Come back to it later when you have had a chance to think about it, and where it would live should you choose to keep it.
  7. Pass down special items: Now is the time to pass down sentimental or valuable items to younger members of your family. But be sure to ask them first!
  8. Allow yourself time to reminisce: While you don’t want to take too long to sort through everything, you should give yourself time to think about the memories and reminisce. It will be easier to move on if you do.
  9. Hire a professional: Consider hiring a Professional Organiser who specialise in working with Seniors. They can help keep you on track, will do all the heavy lifting and clearing of cupboards, leaving you to make the decisions. 

Possibly the best advice is to declutter on a regular basis (as my mom did), so that it is a lot easier when you get to that final move!

Any thoughts?

Published in Organizing
Wednesday, 05 September 2018 15:37

7 Tips to help Seniors through the moving process

Recently we assisted an elderly lady downsize and move from her family home of 35 years. Her daughter, who lives overseas, had decided that her mom needed to move to a safer, smaller environment. While her decision came from a place of love and concern, it caused a lot of stress, anxiety and pain for her mom.

Published in Organizing
Friday, 06 April 2018 04:49

5 Favourite Downsizing Tips!

Are you downsizing to a smaller home, moving to a retirement community or simply overwhelmed by all your stuff?

We assist clients with the difficult task of downsizing all the time. Most of them struggle to let go years of accumulated treasures, collections, and possessions. But usually as we progress the task gets a little easier each time.

Wanting to declutter is a great start. Now all your need are some tips and a good plan to get you going.

These 5 tips could help you:

  • Have an end goal. There is a reason you want to live with less stuff. Focus on that goal as you sort through your things. Keep that goal in mind when you find it difficult to let something go.
  • Don’t rush the process. Remember it took time to accumulate all your possessions. Decluttering and letting go will take time too.
  • Just in case is wasted space. Often, we hold onto things because we think we might need the items one day. Think about your new lifestyle and new space.
  • What is the likelihood of you needing these items? Think about who could benefit from them and donate them.
  • Looking for a quick start? Go through your kitchen cupboards and clear out all expired foodstuffs. Then clear out all items that you would definitely do not use. Do the same with your bathroom cupboards and medicine chests. You will be amazed at how much you get done, how much space you clear, and how good it feels. Hold onto that feeling at you move on to other spaces.
  • Tackle the easy spaces first – laundry cupboards, the drawer filled with old electronics and chargers, your underwear drawers. Leave the sentimental things until you are feeling strong, and good about the process.
    Remember that decluttering is not organising. Your mission is to let go and get rid of stuff. This is not the time to go out and buy storage containers!

Remember this all takes time and effort. While decluttering is time consuming and can definitely be tiresome, it is hugely rewarding. Each step is a step closer to your goal. Celebrate your decluttering successes. Pat yourself on the back, relax with a good cup of tea, go for a walk or meet a friend for coffee.

You deserve it!

Published in Organizing
Thursday, 21 September 2017 04:23

Six Tips On Getting Organised For Summer

Spring is in the air in the Southern Hemisphere and our days are getting longer and warmer. Now is the perfect time for clearing out the cobwebs and a lot more. Time to get your home and yourself ready for summer!!

Published in Organizing
Monday, 06 February 2017 01:53

7 Simple Tips to Reduce Your Housework

Who really, really likes housework? Not me…I am always keen to find ways to reduce the amount of housework I need to do, so that I have more time to relax, more time to enjoy my hobbies, more time with family and friends. Here are my favourite tips that make housekeeping easier for me….

1. Put your clothes away every night. Don’t be tempted to toss your clothes on a chair or the floor. It only takes a couple of seconds to put them away or in your laundry basket.

2. Don’t hold onto more than you need and use. All those appliances in the back cupboard. Vases never taken down. Ornaments gathering dust. Multiple towels and linen sets kept for visitors…. Let go… 

3. Wipe down surfaces every time. Wiping away grease and food splatter immediately cuts down on the heavy cleaning later.

4. Don’t have too much decorative stuff on beds. Decorative pillows and throw blankets might look good, but don’t have too much. The fewer steps it takes to make your bed every morning, the more likely you'll do it.

5. Put shoes and jackets away. Have a coat rack at the front door, and a place for outdoor shoes.

6. Wash up or stack the dishwasher regularly. What more can I say!

7. Put things back where they came from. Putting things away every time means you will find them easily, and your home will look neater, cleaner and more inviting.

Try it for yourself!

Published in Organizing
Monday, 06 February 2017 01:44

5 Ways to Clean up Your Kitchen

So, the holidays are over, friends and family have left, and life starts to get back to normal. All the eating, drinking, entertaining and hosting has taken its toll…on your kitchen. It's time to get it back in shape for the New Year ahead.

1. Ditch the dead herbs and spices

Sort out your herbs and spices. Get rid of anything you really don’t use, won’t use and have definitely past their best. Wipe done bottles, decant bags into small containers and clean out the spice rack before putting everything you will use back.

2. Sort out your cutlery drawer and plastics cupboard

It’s time to do a proper cutlery sort out and let go anything you don’t use. If you don’t already have one, get a cutlery organiser. Do the same with your utensils. Do your really need 3 potato peelers? Now move on to the dreaded plastics. Recycle all pieces without partners and any containers that don’t seal properly. The same applies to all those containers that are past their best.

3. Wipe down and clean kettle, toaster, oven, microwave and fridge

These appliances have worked overtime over the holidays and deserve a little TLC. Wipe down your kettle, toaster, oven, microwave and fridge. Squeeze lemon juice into a bowl of water and microwave on high for 3 minutes to clean the inside of your microwave. Use a paste of bicarb, vinegar and water to clean out your oven. Its non-toxic and wont scratch your surfaces. Wipe out your fridge with a vinegar/water solution which disinfects and cleans at the same time.

4. Take control of the fridge and pantry

Now that you have emptied the fridge to clean it, it’s time to see what you have, discard all those old leftovers, wipe down all condiment bottles and only put back what you will use. Do the same with your pantry or grocery cupboard. Donate all the foodie gifts you won’t eat and dry goods left behind my visitors.

5. Clear your countertops

Too much stuff cluttering the countertops? Clear the counters completely. Take a look at what there is. Now decide what really needs to be there. My rule of thumb is “as little as possible” and only items you use all the time. Everything else needs to find new homes.

Brand New Year, brand new kitchen!

Published in Organizing
Thursday, 24 November 2016 18:37

Taking A Trip

My grandmother travelled quite a lot and always made packing look easy. She only ever had two pieces of luggage, a small suitcase and a large handbag. Her number one rule was “Don’t take more than you can manage on your own”. 

I thought you might find her packing tips useful! Here goes…

Before you start:

Published in Organizing
Thursday, 06 October 2016 05:58

10 Tips To Get Your Garage Organised

Is your garage the family dumping ground? Do you struggle to find things? Here are some simple tips to get your garage decluttered, sorted and organised…

Before starting your garage sort, take time to think about what you want to achieve. How do you want your garage to look and function?

You need a plan!

  1. Break the project down into small manageable pieces. By breaking the job down, your goal becomes more realistic.
  2. Take a quick look around and start with the obvious things that can go - broken items, trash, empty boxes etc. Start on one side of the room and work round. 
  3. Group things into major categories and types: tools, sporting goods, camping, toys, gardening etc. Now take another look and see if you can let go of more items. Keep only what you use.
  4. Now that you have everything sorted, decide where everything is to be stored.
  5. Assign specific areas for different categories.
  6. Remember to keep things you use most often near the entrance. Tools should be near the work bench, and so on.
  7. Lift things off the floor, use hooks and shelves, clearly marked boxes and containers.
  8. Remember to store heavy items lower down, and keep dangerous tools and containers out of the reach of children.
  9. Store ladders horizontally, or on hooks, so they can’t tip over on children or vehicles.
  10. Install task lighting so you can see clearly.

Enjoy your organised garage!

Published in Organizing
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 05:58

Downsizing Tips

In the last couple of weeks we have worked with several elderly couples moving from their large family homes to much smaller retirement apartments. Moving is an emotional and physically draining experience, and much more so for the elderly. I thought it could be helpful compiling a checklist for downsizing

ASK YOURSELF SOME QUESTIONS

Published in Organizing
Thursday, 08 September 2016 04:41

Spring Organising Tips

Here’s to an organized and carefree summer!

So last week I shared my SPRING CLEANING checklist with you and hope it motivated you just a little bit! I got so excited about the prospect of Spring I had to do something, even though I didn’t have enough time for much. So I tackled our linen cupboard, sorting it out, swopping winter for summer linen, had the washing machine working overtime, and filled a charity bag with linen I no longer needed. Afterwards I thought about all the smaller SPRING CLEANING jobs we could tackle too!

Clothes: If you have too much in your wardrobe, sort your clothes by season, and pack away out of season clothes. Don’t forget to empty pockets, clean or dry clean all items and check for stains or damage before storing. Use bay leaves or lavender to keep moths and other creatures away. (For more details on how to sort and organise your wardrobe check out my blog post )

Your fridge and pantry: Empty fridge and freezer, clean thoroughly (with vinegar and warm water) and only put back what you know you will use. Let go or toss all foods that you have will not use, all foods that are past their best and obviously any leftovers that don’t look too good. Do the same with the pantry or kitchen cupboard and be ruthless, especially with spices, herbs and condiments.

Linen cupboard: This is the perfect time to check all the pillows and all the linen before you change to summer linen. Throw or donate all pillows that are not at their best, and any winter linen that you didn’t use and can’t see yourself using. Remember to thoroughly clean or dry-clean any duvets, blankets or winter linen before your store them.

Children’s toys: Winter is a time when children play indoors a lot, and their bedrooms and playroom tend to get disorganized and messy. Get them involved in sorting out their toys. Discard anything broken or incomplete. Donate toys and books they have outgrown. Organise them in a way that makes it easy for kids to keep tidy. Use Ziploc bags for small pieces or puzzle pieces.

Magazines and newspapers: Go through the magazines and newspapers. Take out the articles you want to keep, and recycle the rest.
Television: While you are at it, do you record TV shows to watch later? Do you have a lot of shows piled up that you haven't watched, but at the same time you still keep taping them? It's probably time to tape over or delete some of them.

Computer: Now do the same with your computer. Clear out your emails, and go through your files. Delete as you go, and backup where necessary.

Here’s to an organized and carefree summer!

Published in Organizing
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