Do More than Just Clean – De-clutter
As a family caregiver, the one thing I’m sure you need more of is time. One great way to find it is to de-clutter and organize your home (and the home of the loved one you care for). Now is the perfect time. Call it spring cleaning. Just be sure to de-clutter and downsize while you “spring clean.” The key piece of advice to remember is to organize your belongings so that you can find anything in thirty seconds or less. That’s the advice of professional organizer Theresa Brune of Simplify It LLC (at www.SimplifyItLLC.com). She provides great tips for saving time and money through an efficiently organized house. She points out that it’s not about throwing everything away, but organizing your “things” so that everything is easily accessible. Your home is usually your most valuable—and expensive—asset. You want the space in it to be open and useable.
Things to consider when cleaning out your house:
- Papers have a shelf life. Yes, the IRS suggests keeping returns for 7 years (other important documents may need to be kept longer), but so many other papers can be tossed. Something special? Scan it into your computer and throw the paper away. Or do like me. Create a three-ring binder for those papers you just can’t part with. For the rest – shred and toss.
- When was the last time you looked at, or touched a given item? A year. Two years? Get rid of it.
- Donate clothes that don’t fit. Even if you think you’ll fit into them again, they may be out of style by the time that happens.
- You can keep memories without keeping things. Take a picture of special items, then give them away.
- There are positive ways to repurpose your things. For items like your wedding dress, you can donate it to any number of different causes. For example, bereavement programs in maternity wards at hospitals re-make them into gowns for babies who have not survived. https://www.babble.com/relationships/5-meaningful-places-to-donate-your-wedding-dress/
Can you clean and organize on your own? Of course. But hiring a professional organizer comes with a wealth of additional benefits. As Theresa points out, a professional organizer does not have the emotional connection to your items. They have a more objective approach on what to keep and what to toss. They will save you time just going through the process of de-cluttering because they know how to sort and organize. They also have a lot of tricks for setting up your life more efficiently,
- Containerize. Everything should have a place and be in that place.
- You should be able to see everything when you open a drawer.
- Color code your files for easier reference. Instead of the common green hanging folders, use blue, red, yellow, etc.
- Use colored labels for the manila folders inside those colored hanging folders.
- Only keep the things on your desk that you need to access quickly and that you use frequently.
- Use staples instead of paperclips to keep papers together.
Also, a professional organizer can help you during some of the toughest times in your life, such as when you’re downsizing, or distributing an estate. They can help you decide what to take to your new living space and what to “leave behind.” They can act as a third party “mediator” when sorting through assets of an estate. Their unbiased, neutral position can dampen any tensions between siblings. They will not – should not- tell you what to do, but they can help facilitate.
When hiring a professional organizer, look for an organizer who will work with your specific lifestyle in mind. While many of the tips and tricks work for most people, an organizer shouldn’t tell you what to do, but discuss solutions that work best for you and your situation. Like a decorator, they don’t do the same thing in every house, but design according to your space and needs.
As a family caregiver who is likely stressed for time, call a professional organizer, like Theresa Brune of Simplify It LLC at (248) 417-4312 or online at www.simplifyitllc.com, or Nayiri at Ms. Neatnik at (248) 345-5552 or online at www.msneatnik.com (both in the Detroit metropolitan area) to help you through the process.
Happy Spring Cleaning and De-cluttering!