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 Do a “dry run” yearly, and update any information no longer current.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 Planning Ahead, Seasons, Timely Tips

Grills Just Wanna Have Fun!

Do you have a grill, either the old kind that uses charcoal or a gas item? Regardless, if you clean the grate now, before storing it for the winter, you’ll save time. By next spring, any leftover “gunk” will have had that much more time to get attached and will take more effort to clean. Besides, when you want to barbeque for the first time, about the last thing you’ll want to do is struggle with removing months-old residue. After all, grills just wanna have fun!

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. Call or email today! Ellen is at 802.598.3639 or ellen@decluttermevt.com.

 

Posted in Fall, Planning Ahead, Seasons, Timely Tips

Do Some Fall Tasks NOW

As spring comes to Vermont, and oh-so-slowly, everyone looks forward to shedding big jackets, gloves, hats and other cold-weather clothes.

Even though it might not be an attractive idea, NOW is a good time to wash all of that stuff – sweaters, scarves, and everything else listed above. Why? When you want to wear them as the weather gets cold again, won’t you prefer to put on clean clothes, rather than “threads” that were shoved away somewhere for the summer, and aren’t clean?

You also might want to polish boots, or treat them with leather cleaner, or whatever else will extend their usefulness.

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

It’s a Great Time to Start a Gratitude/Happiness Jar

What’s a Gratitude/Happiness Jar? Is there a way to capture those feelings and place them somewhere? While not exactly, it is possible to record them to be enjoyed later on. How?

First, find a big jar that you can easily reach every day. On a small piece of paper, write something that you’re thankful for that day. It can be as simple as enjoying the sunshine, or something big. You choose!

Not meaning to be “Pollyanna-ish” here, but we all have both good and bad days. Finding something good in each day can boost our spirits when needed and positively affect our health.

I started one for the year yesterday, and dated the entry. I’ll try to use colored paper, so they look nice. Next New Year’s Day, I’ll dump them out to read and enjoy. Happy New Year – and cheers!

Fill the jar!

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

Not Fun to Think About, But Important

From the archives…Do you have a plan in case of emergencies? In this very hot and dry summer (at least here in Vermont), and with many fires burning in the US West, having a plan could make an awful situation less so.

While not wanting to wish anything terrible on anyone, do you know what kind(s) of natural disaster(s) are most likely to occur where you live and/or work? Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, erupting volcanoes? Do you have insurance to protect you? It might be worth a call to your agent or company to find out.

Other actions to protect yourself and those dear to you –

  • Sign up for alerts. News stations, local emergency management organizations and municipalities may provide text alerts.
  • Gather important information – on paper. Create a list of household members’ phone numbers, birth dates, social security numbers and medical needs, in case your cell phone quits. Note their frequent locations (work, school) and addresses, phone numbers and evacuation routes. Update this information annually, if not more often. Be sure that everyone in your household has a copy. Digitize the plan and store it, with insurance documents and medical records, on a cloud service.
  • Care for your neighbors. Contact those around you. Would anyone need extra help in an emergency, like the elderly, those with special needs, children? If you live in an apartment building, how to inform neighbors about fire, power outage, or gas leak?
  • Determine meeting places in case of emergencies, away from the affected area(s).
  • Be sure that kids know how to call 911.
  • Establish an out-of-town contact.
  • Pack a water-resistant disaster bag with three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water for each person, and five days’ worth for each pet. Needed – one gallon of water per person per day. Include kids’ favorite board games and blankets, pets’ toys. Also – a crank-operated radio, solar-powered flashlight, electronics chargers and jump starter cables for your car. Add some cash.
  • Download apps that could help in a crunch – American Red Cross, FEMA, Waze (for evacuation routes), GasBuddy (for the closest gas station), ASPCA (for emergency pet boarding).

While these suggestions may not be fun to consider and could take some time, they could make a real difference. At the least, they could make people more comfortable. At the most, they could save lives.

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 “bringing calm to chaos” since 2013.

Posted in Mental Clutter, Planning Ahead, Reduce, Timely Tips

Seemingly Random Organizing Tips – Oldies but Goodies

A few days ago, I came across excellent tips in a file. Here’s a sampling from the archives.

Since clutter tends to expand to fill the space “allowed” for it, move items from your junk drawer into the smallest drawer in the room. Keep miscellaneous storage bins small to keep them from overtaking your rooms and closets.

Creating a to-do list is a great first step, to get things off your mind and onto paper. The second step is crucial – schedule appointments with yourself to actually accomplish the written tasks. Checking them off, or crossing them out, can be surprisingly satisfying. Try it. You might like it!

When dealing with paper, have as few file categories as possible. Instead of, say, a file for paid cable bills, consolidate all paid bills into a file for the year. The more streamlined system also will keep your drawers less crowded.

As previously suggested, collect bills that are tax-related in a file for the year’s taxes. They could include child care, education, medical bills. Also add to the file – charitable donations, online purchases for paying state sales tax. (Yup – I’m honest about that!) Keeping a file of tax-related information, and adding to it all year, might help to make filing your taxes a bit less “taxing.”

Do you forget your lunch? Leave grocery lists on the counter? (I can’t count the number of times I’ve done that…) Solution – place your car keys on top. You likely won’t get far without them.

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 “bringing calm to chaos” since 2013.

Posted in Clearing Clutter, Home Maintenance, Planning Ahead, Reduce, Suggestions, Timely Tips

Decisions with Dots

As suggested in previous Timely Tips, are you working to clear clutter? If not, are you feeling stuck, unsure of how to start? Facing family resistance?

Here are some tips that might help you. Get some round adhesive dots in several different colors. Office supply stores stock them. Also, get some sturdy boxes and/or large, preferably clear, plastic bags. Clear bags will help prevent mistakes. Attach labels to the boxes and/or bags – Keep, Repair, Trash, Donate, Gift, Recycle, Sell and, if needed, Not a Clue.

You might alert your family that you will devote a couple of hours to each room in your home. You might allow time to share stories, which can be an important part of “saying goodbye” to items. Ask each person to attach dots on items in the room, according to a color key. White dots could be attached to items used daily, green ones for those used weekly. Next, yellow for those used monthly, then red for annual use. You might see consistencies, or no particular patterns. Either way, it’s likely to be interesting. The colors will guide you, as you decide what to do with each item.

The next step is quite important to achieving the sense of accomplishment you deserve. Place items in the right boxes or bags. Do what the labels direct! Be sure to actually act, or the boxes and/or bags will sit, perhaps bugging you, and could prevent you from moving forward to working in more rooms.

The reward? You might share a meal including family members’ favorite foods. During it, you could plan your next de-cluttering session.

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 “bringing calm to chaos” since 2013.

Posted in Clearing Clutter, Filing, Holidays, Home Maintenance, Kitchen Organization, Mental Clutter, Planning Ahead, Recycle, Reduce, Seasons, Timely Tips

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year? What? It’s not January! The calendar shows August. Even so, with the school year already begun in some places, and about to start in many more, in some ways it feels like the beginning of a new year.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions in January and, if so, how long do they last? A few days? A week? A month or two? Here’s something you can do on a daily basis, to lighten your load – clear clutter each day. That’s right – get rid of something every day. You will feel lighter and, after a short time, you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment. Can you imagine how it’ll be after 365 days?

Here are some tips to help.

  1. Consider how to do this. Give away, donate, recycle? If none are appropriate, toss?
  2. Don’t buy out of habit, or worse, out of boredom.
  3. Don’t keep items out of guilt or obligation. I had a pottery cookie jar, a gift from someone I’ve not been in touch with for years. I really didn’t like it all that much. I dropped something a few days ago, which landed on its lid, chipping it. Did I want to struggle with trying to glue the little pieces back on? No thanks! Could I “re-purpose” and use the bottom, say, as a planter? No, not really. I actually was relieved to place it in the trash.
  4. Does like = need? You may like some things that you don’t actually need.
  5. Don’t over-equip. You likely don’t need enough plates, cutlery, bed linens, towels, etc., to stock a hotel. If a big group of guests is coming, you might borrow from friends, neighbors, family.
  6. Save time. Every item you own takes time – to clean, maintain, perhaps repair. And, that’s after likely earning the money to buy, then taking the time to shop.
  7. Non-material gifts. Encourage those who might buy presents for you to make them gifts of experience or adventure. Concert tickets? A special restaurant meal? A hot air balloon ride? Also, consider time together, perhaps to be used on a big project. How about a donation in your name to a charity you hold dear?

Happy New Year!

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 “bringing calm to chaos” since 2013.

Posted in Clearing Clutter, Filing, Planning Ahead, Suggestions, Timely Tips

One of a Kind

Do you ever wonder where to store random and perhaps unconnected pieces of information, so that you can use them when needed? It’s easy, once you make a One of a Kind notebook. All you need is a three-ring binder, three-hole-punched paper, tape and, if you also wish, sheet protectors. All are available at office supply stores.

The contents list at the beginning of mine includes the prescription for my eyeglasses, the “ingredients” for my mother’s homemade furniture polish, laundry instructions for my fabric shower curtain. You get the idea.

You’ll save time and brain space – always good!

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 “bringing calm to chaos” since 2013.