Archive for the ‘trash’ Tag

Do you have an accident waiting to happen at your parents house?

Are your parents climbing ladders and step stools because they feel they can do things themselves? Climbing the ladder to clean out the gutters or touching up the paint is something they always did and still feel capable still doing. Years ago that wasn’t a problem; they were a lot younger and much more agile and steady. But things are changing.

How can you stop them from doing this before they have that accident which could put them out of commission permanently?  Whether it is fixing the dripping kitchen faucet, changing a filter or light bulb, putting in the screens, or anything else that needs fixing.  What peace of mind would you have knowing that Dad and Mom are not climbing ladders or step stools, crawling under sinks, or make many trips down the basement stairs which are all possibilities for accidents.

There are plenty of small businesses that can help you help your parents.   Some of them you and set them up on a monthly retainer, and they will stop by your parents home on a regular basis throughout the month and take care of things that need fixing.  You know all the little (and not so little) do it yourself projects that you don’t have time to do for your parents. Arrange to have everything done without anyone in the family climbing a ladder and taking unnecessary risks.

All you need to do is keep a perpetual “honey do” list and once a month, as regular as clock work; this company would come in and do what is on the list. If the job was too big or more involved then they may need to schedule more time, but for the most part routine maintenance and repair projects that Dad or Mom want or need done are finished and scratched off the list.

Consider this type of service as a gift for the entire family!

 

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Attic Treasure Hunting

The value of any treasure discovered is always dependent on the quality, uniqueness, and scarcity of the particular items. Attics have always been the source of great treasure hunts for years, as well as the source of great agony.

For families who have to clear out and dispose of their valued treasures, it is difficult. Time and patience is a valuable commodity when sorting and clearing attic treasures. Care and concern should be given with all items as there may be items that have both monetary and sentimental value, or NOT. If you are fortunate enough to find one or two pieces in that category, then you need to decide what to do with them. Even finding a piece or two with sentimental value only – something you had long forgotten about it — will be a wonderful discovery.

Once the Treasure Hunt is complete and the “stuff” has been categorized what happens now?  For the items you have decided to keep, it depends on the situation you and the family are in; you might be moving so will these items move to new location or will you be taking them to your home? Or you may be staying for a while longer so that will require repacking and labeling the contents of the carton or bin. Be sure to put a date on the bin so you know how long ago you last viewed the contents. Put these repacked and organized containers neatly in a designated space for future access.

Now, you need to take away the items designated as trash, donation, give to family, or sell.

  • Move the trash, if possible, directly out to the curb, a dumpster or at least to the garage to wait for trash day.
  • If you have not already scheduled a donation pick up; do it now.   Move the donation items down to the garage clearly marking them as donations – not to be mistaken for trash.   Resist the temptation of second guessing your decisions.
  • Items marked ‘give to family’, bring them down to an area that can be designated staging area; put all items in here clearly marked with the designated family member’s name. Make a call and schedule a time for      things to be picked up. You may need to make several calls, and then  finally say; “If you don’t come by Sunday, I will be putting them in the trash on Monday.”
  • Put all items for sale in one spot (either leave them in the attic or garage marked sale items). Then determine what type of sale to have.  Arrange for  an appraisal, if necessary. Set a date, even if it is weeks or months away, it will help motivate you to complete the project.

For items that you truly feel have monetary value but you don’t know what it is, I recommend strongly that you pay for an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser, who knows furniture or artwork. By having an appraisal of the pieces in question, you will be able to make an educated and informed decision on what you want to do with the pieces in question. You won’t walk into a store someday and see your piece (or something very similar) for sale for hundreds of dollars and you sold it for $5 at a moving sale!

Patience, persistence, and many helping hands are the basic elements needed to complete this project. It could take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the level of all available elements at any point in time.

It Is A Mirage – A Clean Garage!

Okay, this month is the time to make a confession. If you think that my house is neat as a pin, with nothing out of place you are wrong! Don’t get me wrong I am organized and stuff like that, but I live to enjoy my home and, like everyone else who provides a service for other people; I am tired when I get home so my house is the last to get any attention. This goes for all parts of the home, especially the Garage.

Garages are suppose to be for your car, or if you are from Massachusetts ‘cah’! Personally my ‘cah’ has never been in the garage. It is always ‘pahked’ in the ‘yahd’ (or driveway), because there isn’t enough room in the garage. There is always enough room for other things, like shelving units, storage boxes, bikes, tools, my work supplies, and anything else you can think of BUT not the ‘cah’.

So this month we need to concentrate on the garage. It should be a fairly simple and quick process now that the weather is warm and you can leave the door (or doors) open.  If you really look around, there really are not a lot of useless or unneeded items.  The real problem is that we don’t put the items back where they belong. When we finish with the item we put it in an empty space, and there is stays, that space becomes its home. Slowly, but swiftly, these items start to encroach into the next available space and then everything just looks so cluttered and unwieldy it becomes too much trouble to spend the little extra time to make things right.

Now let’s get started! Put the ‘cah’ on the street (out of the driveway), and pull everything out of the garage and put it out in the driveway or the ‘yahd’. Don’t forget to gather all the help you can for this project, because it can become tiresome and hard work as the day progresses. It should only take a few hours with help.

Once all the ‘stuff’ is out of the garage take the broom and give the garage (floor, walls and ceiling) a good sweep. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt and dust you will pick up. You may want to sprinkle a little water (not too much or you will have mud) to hold down the dust. When you finish sweeping, let the dust settle for a bit, and start sorting through the ‘stuff’ out in the ‘yahd’.

Trash whatever can be trashed. All those grocery bags and other plastic bags that you have accumulated, consolidate partial packages of items, put like items together. Decide whether or not you need to install wall hooks or purchase another shelving unit.

Remember the goal is to clean the floor so you have room for your ‘cah’.  With a plan in mind and the dust settled, it is time to start putting things back where they belong. Tools are in the tool box, the bikes are in a rack or hung on wall hooks, and the trash barrels are off to the side but convenient to the door. Everything is in place now step back and take a picture!  Remember how it looks, this is what you want all the time.

Now ‘pahk’ the ‘cah’ in the garage. There is plenty of room now!   You can actually open the door without knocking or hitting anything.  What a nice, satisfying experience and just think it didn’t take forever to accomplish.  Congratulations, you have a ‘wicked p**a’ clean garage that any Boston ‘cah’ is proud to ‘pahk’ in.  Now it is time for a Dunk!

Decluttering and Downsizing a Kitchen!

Kitchens are a very special place for many people.   They could be your domain, refuge, and gathering spot.  Or it may be just a necessary evil that you need, but do not enjoy.   However you feel about or use your kitchen, it might be either the first or the very last space in your home to declutter and downsize.  One reason for this is there are so many nooks and crannies to store, put, and hide things.

Oh, those nooks and crannies are wonderful until you try and find something.   How many times have you tried to find something, couldn’t find it, and purchased a new one?   Only to find the one you knew you had but it was shoved in the back of the drawer (or cabinet), hidden under a pile of other important items.  This month let’s just tackle kitchen drawers, how bad can that be?

The process will be the same or similar for all drawers, so just pick a drawer.    In my kitchen we only have four drawers, 2 for utensils and 2 for junk!   A Christmas presents started us to work on organizing one utensil drawer, however, once we got going one drawer lead to two; and we felt so good about the progress we ended up doing all four drawers.

Our Christmas present was a beautiful wooden drawer organizer, which adjusts to the width of the drawer you happen to be concentrating on.   We started with the cooking utensil drawer by;

  • Removing all the contents
  • Cleaning the drawer (wash and dry thoroughly)
  • While waiting for drawer to dry, go through the items in the drawer;
  • Throw out any broken items
  • Separate duplicates
  • Insert drawer organizer and adjust size to drawer.
  • Return items to drawer in the appropriate size space.
  • Segregate one of a kind items in their own space

Do not return duplicate items, unless they are different sizes of an item like spatulas or such.  Duplicate items that you do not need, can be donated or given to someone, but don’t hang on to them.

Like I said doing one drawer, was just the start of the project.  All the other drawers were the same basic process, but the junk drawers took a bit longer.   Junk drawers require looking through papers and things, so it is definitely something we put off as long as possible.

Once you put back all the items in there appropriate compartments and toss or give the rest away stand back and admire the great job you did and how beautiful they look.

Organizing Lessons From Ernest and Frank

Frank & Ernest

How many times have we written things down on small scraps of paper and never remember where we put it.  

This is a common complaint as we get older; we have to write things down to remember and then we forget where it is and what we wrote.  How does anyone expect to get organized?

Three tips not to become like Ernest and Frank:

  1. Carry a small note pad and a pen at all time; leave one on the night stand, and  next to all telephones
  2. Only write notes in this note pad; put the date you write the note and put down all important information like: date, time, address and phone number.
  3. When you have time transfer information from note pad to your calendar.

Ernest and Frank’s cartoon is funny but the message is not.  Too many important things are forgotten because we do not take the time to properly write things down in order to remember.

The Anatomy Of A Move #2

Day two of my 30 day blog quest.  Yesterday I briefly touched upon 3 things you should consider when looking and engaging a professional mover to handle the “heavy lifting” that takes place during a move.

Today I want to back up a bit, and talk about the time line of  what and when things need to be started and completed.   Many people feel that selling the house and finding a new place to live is the very first item that needs to be started and completed.   Once that is done everything else just falls into place, right?   If you were taking a true/false quiz the answer I would mark as correct would be false!   Why, because once you decide you want to sell and move that is when you need to start organizing, de-cluttering and downsizing process.  An organized and uncluttered home will show and sell better.  

Depending on the size of your home, how long you have lived in the house, and its condition organizing and uncluttering could take a weekend of dedicated work or several weeks of work as time permits.  This is before even listing for sale.   Once this is done and the house in on the market, it could sell quickly or it could take weeks or months depending on the Real Estate market in your area.   So for starters the timeline begins as soon as you decide to move.  

Then once you have a signed purchase and sale agreement and everything is done, all you have to do is sit back and wait for moving day!   Wrong, you are given a certain date when you need to pass papers on the house and usually you need to be moved out completely by that date.   It ranges from a week to thirty days, and if you’re lucky it could be six weeks.   This is when the true move timeline is important in order to meet all the necessary deadlines.  

Stay tuned as we follow the timeline throughout the thirty days.

We All Have To Put Our Trash Out

I was scheduled to speak in Newport RI today about ‘Where Do I Begin To Downsize?‘  and, unfortunately,  it was cancelled.    Since it was a beautiful day and I had no other appointments scheduled, I felt like taking an afternoon ride around the fabulous homes and mansions of Newport.   It would do me good, so off I went to Newport!

It certainly put me in a better frame of mind.   Today was trash day in Newport RI and, almost without exception,  every one of the mansions and McMansions that line Ocean Drive had their barrels lining the street in front of their long, winding,  gated driveways.   I was reminded that, no matter how rich and famous you are or however big and elegant your home is you still have trash!

The more I thought about this the better I felt.   Even though the owners of those mansions, probably have all kinds of help to haul the trash to the street, they have the same bottles, cans, and junk  that I have.  Other than having a bigger and more affluent home and lifestyle they are no different from you and I.

This was a valuable insight for me today, because I have been dealing with a lot of my own trash lately — both junk and mental trash.   So today is trash day for me!  All the trash I have is going out today!   It is time for me to get rid of my actual clutter, AGAIN.   The  old catalogs, papers, and stuff that is hanging around cluttering up my space and subconsciously causing me aggravation – GONE!  Now I know how my clients feel when I work with them to clean out their clutter and trash.   It is also time to trash old and dated thoughts, anger and pet peeves – I AM LETTING THEM GO! WOW, what a great feeling to know that  things that bog you down can fairly easily be gone.

Baby Boomers rejoice!  If you are fortunate enough to live in an Active Adult Community, like I do,  you can haul your trash to a community dumpster, press the compact button, and away it goes.    Mental trash is a little harder to be rid of but, it can happen and the sooner the better.

Remember there  is always someone who will help you remove whatever clutter you need to deal with today.   Just remember we all have to put the trash out and we all have similar trash.   Yours is not any worse or better than your more affluent neighbors — it all smells after a while!

No Air Conditioning, Fans, or Fresh Air!

Okay, I am sitting here at my computer barely dressed, in an air-conditioned office, under the overhead fan and I am hot!    I love summer as long as my home and car is air-conditioned and I have ceiling fans, with out these conveniences I would not be a happy camper.   Not sure how we made it through so many years with out these things.

Even though I am hot, I am far better off compared to a woman I visited this morning.     This woman was in a small, very cluttered home with no air conditioning, fans, or fresh air!   It was stifling sitting at her kitchen table.   It amazes me how she was able to be in that house.   How do our seniors do it.

We talked for about 20 minutes before I was given the grand tour of the home to figure out what was required — just to put the house on the market.   It really was a nice home in a very nice neighborhood of starter homes.   Her problem is that she is sick, old, and physically unable to maintain the property.   She is barely able to take care of herself!   There was no discussion of family in the area to help her, and we talked about her using my services.   She said,  she was at her WITTZ END!   And she was!

Once I get going, and tackle the house one room at a time it will quickly start to shape up!   This is what I do, one room at a time, I move my clients from FRAZZLED TO DAZZLED!   After her home is sold we will move her into a retirement community where she will have all the amenities that she deserves, and she will not have to worry about the lawn, heating oil, or air conditioning.

You know You Grew Up In . . . When You Remember!

It is funny how Face Book pages are springing up reminiscing about the good old days of growing up in your home town.  We are all looking back on them through rose color glasses, and fondly remembering things that we did way back when.  I am doing the very same thing and I really enjoy connecting with classmates and others who remember a kinder gentler time.

I remember when every Saturday morning we loaded up the car, in my case it was my Mother’s Rambler American, with trash for the weekly trip to the Town Dump.   The Dump, not politically correct now, was the place to go, be seen, to meet people, and to find precious worldly treasures.

Every politician running for office would do meet and greats at the dump!  Every organization with a cause to promote was at the dump passing out information or demonstrating for their cause.  You could always see and talk with someone you knew, whether you wanted to or not.

Then there were the people who would rummage through the items people dropped off looking for the treasure of the day.   You would be amazed and the people who were rummaging.   Looking back this isn’t such a bad idea.   Many good things have been tossed out in haste and found by people who were just browsing.

Today, I am finding that some well known charities have stopped accepting furniture and other household items.   It is becoming more difficult to find places for clients to donate or give away their valued possessions.   Although our environment no longer encourages open dumping, I fondly remember the “good old days” when I spent Saturday mornings at the Town Dump, shaking hands with politicians and the trash pickers!

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