10 Easy Steps for Cleaning Up the Clutter

1 Identify clutter hot spots
Kitchens attract mail pile-ups, home offices store endless piles of bills. Books and hand cream samples seem to love night tables and the weekend’s newspaper becomes a permanent fixture on your living room floor. Once you identify your clutter hot spots, consider purchasing an attractive basket to house items you like to have at your fingertips. But remember, a basket can organize chaos for a while, but will also need a frequent purge a few times a month to avoid pile up.

2 Purge
Purge and do it often. Why are you using up valuable space storing that mixing bowl set you think your niece might want when she leaves for university in a few years? Go through your stuff and think about the last time you used it, why you’re keeping it around and if it would be more useful somewhere else. After your first few big purging sessions, you won’t need to go at your storage closet so frequently (and ruthlessly).

We all have important keepsakes we don’t know what to do with and purging these can be difficult, but don’t keep these things buried in the bottom of a box in your garage. Find a space in your home where you can show off its beauty and take good, constant care of it. “There’s really no point in owning something if you can’t use it,” Kristie says.

3 Deal with a little every day
This may be the hardest tip to follow, but it’s by far the best. Focusing a mere 15 minutes of your day on clearing clutter will make your life a whole lot easier (and your house a whole lot tidier)! When you’re finished your bowl of cereal, put the dish in the dishwasher right away, rather than placing it in the sink. When you get home from work, deal with your mail immediately. File away bills and recycle junk mail then and there. If you have the luxury of half an hour, says Kristie, you can manage to sort through a closet of clothing, determining what you don’t need anymore. If you don’t let things pile up, your home will be a lot tidier and cleaning up much less of a daunting task.

4 Stay focused
When you’re taking on a clutter-busting task, it’s important to be energized and focused. Even if you’re just spending 15 minutes on cleaning off your desk, ignore the buzz of your Blackberry and the ping of your e-mail inbox. Just focus on the task at hand so you can be done with it once and for all.

5 Look at the big picture
It’s hard to decide on the fate of a beloved old sweater when you’re looking at it on its own, but when you put it beside all your new ones, you may notice that it’s stretched out of shape, faded and really, you wouldn’t be caught dead in it in public. Conundrum solved!

6 Make use of unused space
You can add hooks over your bedroom and bathroom doors, bins and baskets on closet floors, storage bins under your bed, and bulletin boards and file pockets to your office walls. Be creative when looking at unused space and it can become a great new place to store items out of the way.

7 Get your kids involved
“Kids come with a lot of accessories,” Kristie says, “so you have to be pretty vigilant to make sure you stay on top of it.” Kristie recommends sitting down with your kids for an hour every month to sort through what they have, then storing or donating what is no longer being played with. “And make sure whatever storage you have is at their height and within their ability [to use],” she adds. “Even a toddler can put away soft toys into a bin if it’s at the right height.”

8 Identify a place for things
So you knit, sew, run, bike ride, cook and have two dogs. Your hobbies require you to actually own stuff, and therefore have created a good deal of clutter. “You really have to identify an amount of space – a place – for things. If you have a dog, make sure the leash and bags are all kept in one area,” Kristie advises. In finding a home for your hobbies, you may discover you don’t have room for all of them, helping you to identify which ones should be a priority.

9 File things … now
Kristie says that one of the best organizing investments is a filing cabinet. Just think: All of those piles of papers in your home office can be put away in mere moments. And you won’t spend hours of your precious time trying to locate your donation receipts come tax time. Don’t worry, not all filing cabinets are of the old, stacked metal variety. You can find ones with classy design elements at places like West Elm, Ikea and Pottery Barn.

10 Give away
Dedicate a specific spot in your house or garage for giveaway items, and place a box there. When you come across something you no longer need or want, you can discard it to the giveaway spot immediately, rather than setting it back down and forgetting about it. Plan a monthly trip to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army drop-off location to get rid of the goods you no longer have room for.

Storage Solutions

Here are some great storage solutions that are visually appealing and will help keep your home clutter-free! By buying items with more than one use, you are maximizing the space in your home and taking advantage of all available storage areas. These items are especially great for small homes and apartments.

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Age Friendly Conference

We had a great day meeting lots of seniors at the Age Friendly Conference at the Hellenic Centre today. There were some insightful speakers and roughly 400 attendees. We hope that we reached out to some seniors who are in need and were unaware that our services existed. With our baby boomers aging, London has a great need for Senior Move Management services, especially for those who do not have family around to assist with the overwhelming process of downsizing or transitioning to retirement living.IMG_0523 (1)

Closet Organizer

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We love this inexpensive solution for closet organizing. This hanging organizer hangs from your standard metal shelving systems and makes great cubbies for your winter accessories such as toques, mittens and scarves. You could also use it to keep your shoes in, or to hold papers. $5.99 at IKEA!

New Year, New Chores!

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Don’t be overwhelmed by long to-do lists! Our latest idea for getting organized in 2015 involves simplifying your chore schedule. Grab a mason jar from your neighbourhood craft store or thrift store and write down your weekly or monthly organizing goals and chores on individual pieces of paper. Fold & place into the jar. Draw one paper from the jar each week or month (whatever works best for you!) and tackle that task. The importance of this is to focus on one task at a time.

Task examples:

1) Clean out bedroom closet & donate unwanted items

2) Organize all Holiday Decorations into stackable containers

3) Create organizing system for mudroom

Happy purging!

Helpful Elves for the Holidays

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Do you have a friend or family member who is a senior living in a retirement home? Lighten Up! wants to help them get ready for the holidays! We are offering packages for seniors to help decorate their suites, wrap presents, write Christmas cards or just help tidy up and re-organize to prepare for guests during the holidays. If you know someone who could use this special service, please contact us for more information!