Posted in Pantry, Success Stories

More Birthday Present!

Mary’s birthday present was three sessions with De-clutter Me! What would be next? The pantry!

We spent our second session together on some of the shelves, tossing some foods past their “sell by dates,” and rearranged others, so that “like would be with like.” We consolidated Mary’s many candle supplies. A number of times, she asked how I would group items. The consistent answer – what would work for her, according to how her mind works, not mine.

In our third birthday present session, we finished the shelves, then turned our attention to the pantry counter. At the back, we removed the wok, which was hardly used. We decreased the water bottle stash, setting some aside to toss or donate. We placed in a bowl a small drill that Mary’s husband often uses.

Pantry counters and floor before we cleared their clutter
Before
Clutter-free pantry floor and counter
After

Moving along, we consolidated cookbooks, adding some from a lower shelf. We pulled some plastic bags from mostly-empty boxes, setting them aside to store with other bags and wraps. We put new plastic containers with others in an upper cupboard, and likewise found new homes for other items.

The crowded  and cluttered pantry counter
Before
The clutter-free pantry counter
After

Almost done, we focused on the last section of pantry counter. As with its other parts, we placed some items with similar others elsewhere. The “ginormous” box of cereal went to the side wall, with Mary vowing that she would never buy such a big box again. Revealed – a charming “Boulangerie” (Bakery) sign, a nice tribute to Mary’s former work as a school French teacher. I suggested that she might hang it on the opposite wall, where she would see and enjoy it more.

As we finished, we briefly discussed wall storage for the boxes of single serving coffee, “visual noise” currently taking up floor space. It might be possible to find a suitable rack or shelving that wouldn’t be too deep, while maintaining access to the cupboard next to the wall. Mary said that she would look online.

More counter clutter
Before
Counter clutter gone!
After

In the end, Mary was surprised that we accomplished all that she hoped. The pantry’s clutter cleared, it was more organized, its contents much easier to see and find. She happily smiled. Success!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Closet, Success Stories

A Birthday Present!

Kate emailed from Massachusetts. She had worked with a professional organizer there. She and her brother wanted to give their mother similar help for her birthday. Would I be available? We talked on the phone, she sent a check and, soon, I arrived at their parents’ lovely home.

Mary had admitted to being a bit nervous, but soon she was smiling and laughing as we worked on a hallway closet. She had emptied some of its contents onto the floor and the stairs.

The hallway floor, with items from the closet
Before

Explaining my professional organizer’s tried-and-true method of working top-to-bottom, we first cleared the closet’s shelf. There were some objects wrapped in paper. What were they? We soon discovered that they were candles. We set them aside for her local son and his family. We pulled other items to discard or donate. What was left? Empty space! How rare! With time, some items might “migrate” there but, for the moment, there was space for the eyes to rest.

Closet shelf clutter before we cleared it
Before
Closet shelf clutter cleared with empty space available!
After

Next, to the other side of the shelf. We emptied most of it, placing just a few things there, including a pretty hat box. More empty space! Below it, we hung many of Mary’s tote bags. (She has a lifetime supply.) We set some aside for donation and a few to leave in her car for grocery shopping. That cleared much of the floor space.

A cluttered shelf before we cleared it
Before
More clutter cleared, and more empty space!
After

We looked online for boot and shoe trays for the closet floor, which she would add later.

When we were done, the floor and stairs were cleared.

The hallway floor and stairs after we cleared their clutter
After

What might be next? Mary wasn’t sure yet, but she was pleased with the first part of her children’s birthday present.

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Closet, Success Stories

A Shared Closet Cleared

Etienne and Paul share a closet, which could present some challenges. She and I decided to make the space work better for both of them.

We started with Paul’s folded clothes on a shelf. We pulled out some items, refolded, and put them back. I suggested placing everything with the fold facing out. It’s a subtle, though powerful, thing to do, reducing “visual noise.” It looked neater and there was more storage room, if needed.

A closet shelf before we cleared its clutter and reorganized it
Before
Shelf cluttered cleared, with more space available
After

Next, we worked on Etienne’s shelf, with relatively little already on it. Even so, folding and clearing clutter made more space available.

A closet shelf, before we cleared its clutter
Before
Shelf clutter cleared, with more space available
After

Below the shelf, the rod holding Etienne’s other clothes could use some attention. We consolidated dresses and slacks and, as much as possible, hung long items together.

Etienne's hanging clothes before we rearranged them
Before
Hanging clothes much easier to see and choose!
After

Below, we pulled everything out, off the closet floor, hanging some items and placing shoes in the cubbie holes to the left.

A cluttered closet floor
Before
A cleared closet floor, with "visual noise" gone
After

With a bit of time left over, we cleared the top of Etienne’s dresser. It would be much nicer to look at from across the room, in bed. Relaxing and restful, too!

The dresser before we cleared its clutter
Before
Clutter cleared from the dresser top
After

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Planning Ahead, Timely Tips

Be Prepared, Vol. I

At this writing, wild fires are ravaging parts of the American West, and Tropical Storm Laura, now a hurricane, threatens the South. Rather than be scared, it can be much healthier emotionally, and maybe even save your life, to be ready.

What to do? Firstly, know what kinds of natural disasters are likely. Does that creek nearby ever flood? Check into it. Sign up for alerts. Gather information, like core family members’ phone numbers, birth dates, social security numbers, and medical needs. Note your household members’ frequent locations (like work, daycare, school), their addresses, phone numbers and evacuation routes. You might write down this information, in case your mobile device fails.

Talk with your neighbors. Develop a plan to check on anyone who may be vulnerable, like the elderly, the disabled, or those with small children.

Establish safe meeting places – a windowless room, if your home area gets tornadoes or high-wind storms; a neighborhood spot, like a big tree, in case of fire; a community center, if you can’t get home; an out-of-town place, if you must evacuate.

Again, write all of this down! Store a copy in a kitchen drawer or on the fridge. Be sure that everyone has a copy in the purse, back pack, or other bag used daily. Digitize your plan, plus insurance and medical records, and store them on a cloud service. Email the plan to a few close neighbors and friends, to an out-of-state family member or friend.

Practice! Do a “dry run” yearly, and update any information no longer current. Be sure that little ones know how to call 911, and that everyone can text vital information quickly, and with as few words as possible.

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Mud Room, Success Stories

Funny, It Doesn’t Look Like a Mud Room

Etienne and I decided to tackle the mud room, which doesn’t really look like one. It IS the room by the front door, but is much bigger than most of that description, even with room for a rowing machine, which wasn’t being used for exercise.

The room has a couple of closets and some shelves between them. First, her husband’s closet. Paul enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including golf, gardening, and skiing. We put related items in bins on the top shelf, “neatened” the shirts, vests and jackets, and arranged the shoes at the bottom.

A cluttered closet before we cleared it
Before
Closet clutter gone!
After

Next, we moved to the right. Several shelves held bins, including one that was overflowing, back packs, and a ski bag. Working top-to-bottom, we sorted through the two bins, setting aside some items for the trash, or to go elsewhere in the house. We left the top shelf mostly empty – a rarity! On the second shelf, the ski bag and, below it, an open bin, so the family can easily pull out items often used. Below it, another bin with less-often-used items, with some shoes on top. At the bottom, more shoes.

Shelves before we cleared their clutter
Before
Much more useful shelves with clutter cleared
After

Moving to the right again, we worked on the other closet. We pulled beach towels from the top shelf and set them aside, as they would be used soon. We placed a sports duffel bag there instead. We “neatened” the jackets hanging there and the shoes below. Easy-peasy!

A full closet
Before
Closet clutter cleared, with more room to use
After

We discussed the rowing machine across the room. It had become a storage dumping ground. Would anyone use it if it were available? While Etienne wasn’t sure, we made it more inviting. We emptied it, turned it around to face a TV on a butcher block table, and placed a fan nearby.

A rowing machine used as storage space
Before
A rowing machine now ready to be used!
After

When we were done, Etienne smiled so brightly! Success!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Kitchen, Success Stories

“How Often Do You Use…?”

Jim wants his house to look minimalist. As part of the project, we started work on his kitchen cupboards. We began to the right of the stove. As I would repeatedly ask, how often did he use various food products? Coffee? Every day. Tea? Also often.

A cupboard before we cleared its clutter
Before

We organized it, so that coffee was on the bottom shelf, tea and honey on the second shelf. On the top – nothing, after we pulled down a kitchen towel. No doubt, the shelf will be used but, for the meantime, it was empty.

A cleared cupboard with a free shelf!
After

Next, we focused on the cupboard above the stove. It might store things not used a lot, since reaching over a hot stove could pose a potential safety concern. We tossed spices past their “sell by” dates, and also removed a couple of cookbooks that had migrated there.

I pointed out the wasted space above the spices. We’d discussed this before so, almost magically, Jim pulled from another cupboard a shelf extender I’d recommended, then he recently bought. We put soups and spices together. There was room for more of the same.

Before a cupboard's clutter was cleared
Before
A cleared cupboard with room for more soups, spices, etc.!
After

We moved left, where the cupboard held several boxes of pasta, sauce, and popcorn. It all came out, and we organized it.

Another cupboard before we cleared its clutter
Before

Now, on the bottom shelf, we put the pastas and sauce together, with some canned goods on the second shelf, and popcorn on top. As with the other cupboards, there was room to spare.

Yet another organized cupboard, with more room to spare!
After

What might be next? There was another cupboard to organize, and some drawers, too. Onward!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Closet, Success Stories

Clearing a Closet

Pogo and Sylvie have a lovely home. They’re selling it, and plan to move in just under two months to another house, reducing square footage by about 1,000 feet. In a phone conversation, Pogo asked me to “hold their feet to the fire,” encouraging them to get rid of excess items. Okay!

Arriving, I asked where to focus our work. Sylvie quickly suggested the basement. It has a closet that was chock-full of housewares, very neatly arranged. They entertain a lot. There were some duplicates. We would work our way across the shelves, separating out items for family, for donation, to sell, to discard, or to recycle. Example – we set aside several vases for a local florist that picks up flowers left over from events, then freshens them for donation to nursing homes and other facilities. While the program is on hold, amid COVID-19, vase donations are still accepted.

Front view of the closet before we cleared it
Before
The closet, after we cleared it
After
Shelves on the left, before we cleared them
Before
Shelves cleared of extra items
After
Shelves on the right with some extra items, including candles
Before
Cleared shelves!
After

What might be next? They weren’t certain – maybe helping in their new home. In the meantime, though, both Pogo and Sylvie were pleased with our process. Success!

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Basement, Success Stories

A Lifetime of Memories to Consider

Meg moved, with most of her belongings, to a retirement community six months ago. She planned to sell her former home, a large condo. Then, COVID-19 hit, upending her schedule. Now, we were working on some of what remained in the condo.

The basement, with its several rooms, is more like a separate apartment. Meg wanted to focus on its only unfinished room, which held a lifetime of memories. Items on its metal shelves reminded her of her own childhood through her sons’ weddings, and beyond. She’s led a life filled with adventures, including travel to distant lands.

We sifted through the shelves, and also items on the floor. In another room, we set aside a growing “collection” for donation, and hauled upstairs bags of other items to be discarded or recycled.

Basement shelves and floor before sorting
Before
Basement shelves and floor cleared of clutter
After
More shelves and floor clutter
Before
The cleared shelves and floor
After
A floor full of clutter!
Before
A clutter-cleared floor!
After

Meg was delightfully surprised when the floor was clear! Now, with this project done, she could move forward on selling the condo.

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Basement, Success Stories

A Big Basement Project Begins, Vol. I

Judy and Nathaniel currently live in more house than they need. They plan to eventually downsize and move closer to family.

Judy and I started on some basement shelves. We placed unboxed family heirlooms on the top shelf, where some of Nathaniel’s boxed treasures were already stored. We set aside other items for donation, and still others to discard or recycle.

We consolidated lots of plastic cutlery, paper plates, and other picnic supplies. We found some forgotten family photos that made Judy smile as she looked through them. We carefully set them aside, too.

As we finished our session time together, we both marveled at the empty space on the middle shelf. Success! Next time, we’ll finish the bottom shelf and move elsewhere in the basement.

Basement shelves before we cleared their clutter
Before
Basement shelves organized and cleared of clutter!
After

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced, and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.

Posted in Kitchen, Success Stories

She Couldn’t Sleep Before Our Next Session

Part-way through our third session together, in an off-hand kind of way, Zoe said that she couldn’t sleep before it. Nervous? Doubtful, since we were used to each other, worked well together, and had shared some laughs. Was she excited about the progress we would make, as we continued her apartment’s transformation? Hope so!

Starting with a low kitchen cupboard, we pulled out everything. Zoe looked at an old saucepan, decided it was far past its prime, and tossed it. We set aside a coffee maker and food processor for give-away. We spoke about various other appliances and gadgets, and how often she likely would use them. We put some into the far corner, which was relatively hard to reach. We placed others more “front and center,” including a cute little pan (perfect for one egg), colander, hand mixer, salad spinner.

A cluttered lower kitchen cupboard
Before
That same cupboard, free of clutter!
After

That cupboard organized, we moved on to under the sink. Again, we pulled out everything. We tossed or placed into recycling anything that was old or appeared to be beyond its usefulness. We discussed “what to put where” for easy reach, and how to keep it organized. We looked online at commercially-available containers to hold various items. My first two photos show the area as we worked on it together.

Under the sink, quite cluttered!
Before
Under the sink, with clutter gone!
In Between

Two days after our session together, Zoe emailed, excited about the bins she bought to further organize under the sink. More success!

Under the sink, with store-bought bins
After

About De-clutter Me!
De-clutter Me! offers non-judgmental, competitively-priced and confidential assistance to help clear clutter in your home and/or business. We’ve been changing chaos to calm since 2013.