Posted in Home Maintenance, Suggestions, Timely Tips

A Little-Known Cleaning Use for Salt – It Really Works!

Some time ago, I heard or read somewhere that salt can be used to clean silk flowers. Really? I’d never tried it.

I’ve been working with a client whose dining room table has been full of stuff, including books, bills, unopened Christmas cards, tax documents. A few days ago, we made some serious progress and could see about half of its surface. Good timing, since family will soon visit for February school vacation week. I spotted a silk flower arrangement on the floor, under a lovely antique breakfront piece. It looked dusty. I told her about the salt cleaning method, adding that I’d never tried it.

There’s a low silk flower and foliage arrangement near my desk. Okay, time to try it. Timing is everything, though. Since I’d just washed the kitchen floor and didn’t want to clean up after myself, I carefully thought through the process. I pulled one of its stem sections, placed it in a clear plastic bag from the grocery store that had held some fruit or produce, then put that bag into another, similar bag. I then poured in some kosher salt, thinking that its size and relative coarseness might make it clean better than “regular” table salt. After tying off both bags, I held them in the sink and shook them vigorously.

Untying the bags and carefully lifting out the stem section, it had worked! The flower blossoms and foliage looked better than the rest of the arrangement. Some grains of salt remained on some of the stems. I carefully blew them off, thinking that a hair dryer would work better. Indeed, the whole cleaning process would be done better in another way – outside! That’s not realistic in Vermont in February, but it’s good to know that the cleaning “solution” really works.

I emailed my client. Will she try it? That’s to be determined.

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 Fall, Garage, Home Maintenance, Timely Tips

Seasonal Garage Cleaning, Even for a Professional Organizer

Today, I swept my garage and stored wicker summer furniture, placing the chairs on some old rubber car floor mats. That way, once winter snow melts off the car, the furniture legs will be protected. No old floor mats? You might lay down a used shower curtain liner. (Reduce, reuse, recycle!) No liner available, either? A small tarp would do the trick.

Another possible way to store and protect summer furniture or other delicate items – on top of horizontally-laid tires! If your garage has enough vertical space (and maybe limited horizontal room), that might be another useful option.

Another good use for used shower curtain liners – to cover bikes and other objects that aren’t fun to dust. After all, when spring returns, wouldn’t you rather use these items than spend time cleaning them?

While sweeping the garage each spring and fall isn’t fun, it feels good, in a way. It provides a timely opportunity to clear any clutter that’s accumulated during the previous few months. A great idea – this morning, colleague Steve Ertle, from BTV Creative, suggested using a leaf blower! It does a very thorough job of clearing dust, and is much faster than sweeping. A professional organizer, I was a bit embarrassed that I haven’t thought of that. It must be because I don’t have a leaf blower.

Be careful that no garage items are in the path of the dust, though, or you may have some extra wiping to do. Happy fall!

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 Gardening, Home Maintenance, Suggestions, Timely Tips

For You and Your Plants

While this Timely Tip isn’t exactly about de-cluttering, it is about benefits – to you and your plants. Here’s something that I do each month – give the houseplants a shower. It started when I was in college, in part as a way to procrastinate about studying. Years later, I’m still at it. (By the way, I always do it during the first weekend of the month. That way, I don’t have to remember when the plants got their most recent monthly shower. Less mental clutter!)

I figure that photosynthesis works better when not competing with dust. Plants always look better after being soaked. Possible bonus points for you during this wintry time of year – absorbing the aroma of wet potting soil may conjure up thoughts of summer, which will return. And, speaking of summer, during that season, I haul the plants outside and mist them with the hose. Whichever season, and by whatever method, your plants will look positively happy. It will boost your spirits, too – really!

Posted in Home Maintenance, Seasons, Spring, Timely Tips

Worth Repeating

What’s your time worth? Probably plenty. Here’s a way to save some, if/while you wash your windows, inside and out, this spring. Wipe one surface horizontally and the other vertically. That way, you’ll better be able to tell where any streaks developed. It will cut down on task time plus, bonus points, you won’t be bugged by those left-over marks.

Posted in Home Maintenance, Seasons, Spring, Suggestions, Timely Tips

Saving Screens Sanity

Do you have slightly differently-sized screens for your windows? Is matching them a frustrating process?

Here’s an easy tip to tame the task. As you prepare to put them up, mark each with its location. After washing each screen, attach a piece of masking tape to its frame. With a magic marker or sharpie, write its direction. For example, I label my three living room screens as follows: living room (west), living room (southwest), living room (southeast).

I do this task in the spring, because the screens are up as late into the year as possible. (I hate bugs in the house, including those that somehow hang around in the fall, fighting off their inevitable end.) It’s much easier with warm fingers, instead of cold ones.

Welcome spring, especially after such a tough winter!!

Posted in Home Maintenance, Seasons, Spring, Timely Tips

Spring into Action!

Writing on a dreary Sunday, it’s rainy, with the temperature just around freezing. Snow persists, though some bare, muddy ground with still-brown grass is visible. Lovely – not!

Sunny and warm spring days WILL come! Truly, they will. Back during the fall, this page included a Timely Tip suggestion about repairing any screens needing attention. Didn’t get to it? Now’s an even better time. No doubt, in a few short weeks, we’ll open our windows to welcome spring’s fresh, soft air. Will you be faced with remembering that, oops, some screens are ripped or otherwise need work? You might consider digging them out now, and hauling them off for repair. They’ll be ready to put up and you won’t have to “compete” with other people ordering similar services.

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 Home Maintenance, Seasons, Timely Tips

Fall Chores: What Fun!

Do you take down your window screens and store them for the winter? If not, you might consider it. They might endure less wear-and-tear from storms. I wrap mine in an old sheet in the garage, to make cleaning them easier before putting them up in the spring. Are any torn? Needing repair? Maybe do it now, rather than in the spring when, on that first lovely day when you want to put them up, you remember that, oops, some work is needed. Also, if you take care of them now, you won’t be “competing” with everyone else needing that service.

With the screens gone, you’ll probably enjoy more light during the darker months. How to get even more light? Part of my task is washing the windows, to be repeated in the spring when attaching the screens.

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 Clever Re-Uses, Home Maintenance, Suggestions, Timely Tips

Fixing an Oops

This page of Timely Tips is mostly meant to help you de-clutter, save time and brain power, etc. This tip might solve a problem and keep you safe.

I recently came across information about how to remove a broken lightbulb from a light fixture – hopefully nothing you will have to do anytime soon, if ever. Even so, it could be useful information to keep handy. Where? Perhaps you might place it in the One of a Kind binder suggested a few Timely Tips ago. Scroll down, and you’ll see it.

You’ll need a raw potato, a new lightbulb, needle-nose pliers, and (maybe) a stepladder.

If the broken bulb is in a ceiling fixture, turn off the electrical power by removing the fuse or flipping the circuit breaker for that light switch. If the broken is in a lamp, turn off the switch and unplug it.

Push the potato into the socket so that the glass from the broken bulb is inside the potato. Turn the potato counterclockwise until the bulb is completely unscrewed from the socket. If the bulb won’t budge, use need-nose pliers.

Replace it with a new lightbulb. If the broken bulb was in a ceiling fixture, turn the power back on by returning the fuse to its proper spot or by flipping the circuit breaker back on. If the bulb was in a lamp, plug the lamp back into the wall.

Problem solved – let there be light, and safely!

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.