Tag Archive: organized

Three Symptoms of Compulsive Hoarding Behavior



If a person enjoys collecting things, does that automatically make them a hoarder? NO. There are three common symptoms of compulsive hoarding behavior to watch out for.

Symptom #1:
The person will have an irrepressible obsession with acquiring material items. These items do not even need to be acquired through shopping, it is common for hoarders to get them from the trash and from other people.

Symptom # 2:
The compulsive hoarders living space becomes so over-ridden with these items, that it makes it very difficult for the person to move around and function normally in the space. As the rooms become more and more cluttered, they become completely unusable.

Symptom # 3:
The person who is exhibiting the hoarding behavior shows signs of diminished functionality because of this disorganization and may also begin to suffer from depression.

A person can only be diagnosed with compulsive hoarding behavior if all three symptoms are present. The compulsion has to be so overwhelming that it actually causes visible problems in the life of the person affected.

Compulsive hoarders have a tendency to perpetually attain as well as save material possessions indefinitely. Even when items are useless and maybe even hazardous. It is quite common for hoarders to save items for years or even decades.

To better comprehend to emotional state of the hoarder, here is a common hoarding scenario:

A man in his sixties has attempted to get some professional help with his hoarding behavior. His wife has left him and his children have moved out because he refuses to get rid of the junk that has accumulated in the house over many years.

He feels helpless, but is not capable of throwing away the items.

The kitchen has a lot of old food containers, wrappers and trash on the floor. The living room is completely full of boxes of junk and there is only a narrow walking path within that room.

The fire department becomes aware of the situation and deems his house as “not up to code”. They then give him a deadline to clean up his home and advise him that is if it is not completed by that date that the city will be forced to take action. Even after being given a warning about the situation, his compulsion to attain items through uncontrollable shopping and through ‘roadside trash collecting’ has not ceased.

What does it feel like to be him?

When he walks down a street, he actively avoids going by newsstands, because he knows that he will have the compulsion to purchase an excessive number of magazines and newspapers. If he does, the new purchases will then wind up in some random box in the living room – again.

He is uncontrollably drawn to the newsstand, thinking that maybe those newspapers and magazines will contain information that will hold the key to turning his life around for the better.

He also feels this way when he observes people throwing away broken furniture, appliances or gadgets in the trash. He looks through dumpsters and trash cans regularly (at least once a week) to acquire stuff. He feels as though if something can be repaired or ‘isn’t in that bad of shape’, then it is worth saving.

When the professional organizer/therapist arrives, they start off slow. The therapist asks the man to choose just a few items to throw away (items that have no use and are not needed).

When he attempts to throw away a small piece of paper with some random notes scribbled on it, he feels like he can do it at first, but then he starts to get frantic as the scrap of paper falls into the trash can.

The reason? He feels like he is throwing away a piece of himself.



Why Storage Companies Are A Bad Idea



When people consider organizing their home, they sometimes get overwhelmed and may even consider getting a storage unit to store some items. They think this will help solve their clutter problems. Maybe, if they can just get some of the stuff out of their house, then they can organize everything that is left. Although, that is not usually the case. The only real solution for your clutter problem is to sort though items and decrease the amount of things that you actually keep.

Self storage companies put commercials on television bragging about how they can solve your clutter problem. Do not let them convince you that this is a great idea. It definitely is NOT a good idea. They entice you with great offers for your first months rental on the storage unit. Some companies offer $1 for the first month or even the first month free. Even if you intend to just utilize the storage for just 1 month, I would still avoid taking that route. It sounds good in theory but, what usually happens it that you end up leaving the items in there longer than you intended.

I, and many other people, have used a storage unit in the past. I have learned a valuable lesson from my personal experience. In my case, I was in the process of moving from one apartment to another and the renovations on the new one were not going to be completed for about 2 weeks. Instead of sorting through my belongings and getting rid of some of my unnecessary stuff before I moved, I thought it was a great idea to get a storage unit temporarily (or so, I thought) to make the transition easier. I intended on getting all of my items out before the end of the month but, of course, that did not happen.

As is the case with most people, once you put the stuff in storage, you tend to forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind. I, myself, always seemed to be too busy to go and sort through the stuff or get anything out. And of course, you can only go there when the place is open, which also limits the time you have to sort through the items. Before you know it, you have been paying for the storage unit for over a year. The costs really add up. I realized that it would have made my life a lot easier if I had just sorted through everything before I moved. That way I could have just kept the items I really needed (not the ones I just wanted to hold onto) and downsized. Not to mention, all of the money I would have saved.

The storage companies already know that this is going to happen to most of the people who rent the units. They know that once people get the items into these units that they are going to keep them there for an extended period of time. That is what they are counting on. That is why they do everything they can to convince your to put your items there in the first place. They figure that if you were the type of person to sort through the items quickly, then you would have done so earlier and, therefore, would not have needed to store these items there to begin with.

I know, because I used to be that type of person myself. It is not easy to change and it is difficult for people to part with certain items, especially sentimental items. These companies know that when a person finds it hard to deal with all of the clutter (and the emotions that go along with it), that they can easily take advantage of their vulnerability and offer what appears to be an easy way out.

This only prolongs your agony. Try to avoid this trap at all costs. The money spent on a storage unit, each month, could be better spent on something else. Plus, if you are unable to continue paying on the unit for any reason, then the storage company keeps all your stuff and auctions it off. That is why you see shows like “Storage Wars” popping up on television. It happens so frequently that they actually turned it into a TV show.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you get rid of all of your mementos or family heirlooms. But, I do suggest that if you have some special items, the best place for them is not in a storage unit. You should honor these items, by displaying them in your home, so that you can see them and appreciate them everyday. What is the sense of having these precious items if you cannot enjoy them.

I believe that everyone can learn to declutter their homes and lives. Once things are neat and organized, you may also notice that some of your stress will go away and you may feel a new sense of calm. This is usually because it is so much easier to find things that you need and is becomes more effortless to maintain the organization. Begin your decluttering process today. You will be so happy that you did.



Reduce Clutter Information




Reducing clutter in you home is easy if you have the information that you need to know, in order to get your things organized. Most people do not even think that they have any clutter.

But what exactly is clutter?

Can you define it? Most of us would be hard pressed to define the word. But, we know it when we see it! Actually, though, the definition is easy and fairly straightforward. Clutter is any item which you own, but you don’t use or you don’t take care of.

Now, think about this. If you own and use an item, you’re probably going to take care of it — at least to some degree. But if you have some article you don’t use, you’re more likely not to take as good care of it.

For example, there’s the souvenir plate from Disney World that Auntie Vera gave you. Do you really love that plate as much as you say? Then why is it stashed up in the attic with your yearbook from high school? That souvenir plate has just passed “the clutter test.”

We find reasons — or sometimes we create — reasons why we just can’t start the decluttering process today. And even if we do start the process, we find many more excuses for not throwing items away.

Trust me, on my quest to make our personal spaces less crowded with items we neither need nor use, I think I’ve heard just about every excuse for not throwing individual objects in the trash. From wanting to sell them at a yard sale to donating them to a place that can sell them.

I know how hard it truly can be to part with some material possessions. And we now know why it’s not the easiest thing in the world. It can be very overwhelming. Especially when the memories, attached to the items, are of people that are no longer with us. Believe me, I get it! I’ve been there myself.

But at the end of the day, when you look around after you’ve tried to declutter and you still see a bunch of unused “stuff”, what have you really accomplished?

Nothing more and nothing less than merely going through the motions. Now you can tell everyone “I’ve tried.” Well, perhaps you assessed the situation and determined that it was hopeless. Or you surveyed a room or two only to find it a little too emotionally draining.

But as long as you’re carrying around even one of these excuses, you really haven’t “tried” at all. You’ve just successfully — for another day — avoided the entire process.

Hopefully you will use the tips and tricks (provided in my other articles and eBook) that have helped me through this process and begin to finally reduce all of the clutter that you have been accumulating in your home.



Tips on How to Organize Your Pantry


As you declutter your kitchen, you should also take the time to organize your pantry. For example, let us look at the spice rack. How many spices do you actually use when you cook, anyway? A rack of 30 or 35 spices makes you look like an experienced cook, but I want to know who really needs all of them anyway. Only keep, on hand, the spices that you actually use when you cook.

Next, you will want to check the expiration dates on all of your pantry items. Sometimes we put items in the pantry and lose track of how long they have actually been in there. Especially if you take advantage of a great sale and buy a large quantity of a certain item. You may not be able to use it all up before it expires.

Also, if you have any non-expired foods that you no longer eat, then donate the food to a local food bank. Not only will you declutter your own pantry, but you will be helping out someone else in need.

One thing that I like to do to help organize food items is to use small plastic bins to hold various items. I buy a bunch of these bins at the dollar store or online and put them in the cabinets. These pantry organizers allow me to store the foods by “bin”. For instance, I keep one bin container for packages of microwave popcorn. Another for seasoning mix and yet another for my hot chocolate packets.

I even have bins for some of my small bottles of spices and baking yeast packets. I find that I do not use that many different spices and do not really need a spice rack. You should try it. It will give your cabinets a much more clean and neater look. And it certainly makes it easier to find the items that you need quicker.

If you are like me, then you are probably tired of all the bags of snacks that are in your cabinet (of course, that does not stop me from buying them, though). I find it helpful to pour the bagged foods into some sort of hard plastic, sealed container. I even do this with large bags of potato chips too. Along with keeping them fresh, it also help to prevents them from ending up crushed into pieces (while in the cabinet), once the bag is opened.

You can use this same tip when it comes to storing bags of anything – beans, cereal and even rice. Not only does it make your cabinet space look cleaner and more organized, it also helps to keep the food inside fresher for an extended period of time.

I also find it helpful to use an over the door organizer, to save on space and to make items that I use every day easily accessible. It is great for storing, foil, plastic, food storage bags, etc. Another great asset I have in the pantry area is a can storage rack. Not only does it keep the cans neatly on the shelf, but find that I can easily keep track of the expiration dates. It helps me to maintain a first in-first out rotation system, that way the older stuff gets used first.

By the time you finish, you will notice that you have much more room in your pantry to store necessary items. And you will actually be able to find things when you need them.
 

 

Declutter Your Kitchen Drawers

Now is the time to declutter the kitchen drawers. Lets start with the junk drawer. Each of us has at least one “junk drawer.” This is the miscellaneous drawer that isn’t big enough to hold a utensil tray or wide enough to contain all our miscellaneous cooking tools like wooden spoons, spatulas and various measuring cups.

Most of us convert it into a dumping ground out of necessity. It becomes an “I-just-don’t-know-where-to-store-it” stuff drawer. Matchbooks often get thrown in here, along with lone screwdrivers, thumb tacks, elastics, and pens that usually make their way into this drawer. It seems convenient, especially when you think that you do not have time to put the item back where it belongs.

The first thing that you need to do is to decide what you really need and what you do not. And only you can be the judge of that. But keep in mind, if you are throwing stuff in this drawer just because you are too lazy to put it back where it belongs, then that is just making more work for yourself later.

It is best if when you are finished with an item, that you put it right back where it belongs. If you do not have a particular place for an item, then figure out where the item is most commonly used and store it there. For example, if you are storing that screwdriver in the drawer because you find yourself using it often in the kitchen, then it is ok to store it in a kitchen drawer, But if you are just keeping it there because you don’t want to take the extra steps to put it in the tool box in the garage, then do NOT store the tool in this drawer. Put in the tool box where it belongs.

As you go through the drawer, have a trash bag and empty box handy. If you have any old rusted thumb tacks, worn out elastics, pens that no longer write or any other items that are no good then throw them away. Use the box to hold the items that need a new home. Now take that box and go room to room putting the items back where they should be. For instance, any office supplies should be put away in your office, tools in the garage or basement, etc.

Once the drawer if cleaned out, you’ll probably discover that you really do not have may items left in the drawer, But before you put any additional items in this drawer, you should ask if there is a better “home” for that particular item.

Proceed to go through all your drawers. If your house is anything like mine, you probably have one more monster drawer to conquer. And that is the one that is full of wooden spoons, spatulas and miscellaneous kitchen tools that do not fit in the silverware tray or in that container on your counter that holds most of that kind of stuff.

Ask yourself how many spatulas do you really needs. Do you need multiple sets of measuring spoons and cups, How many manual can openers and veggie peelers do you you really need? Do you really need to own three potato mashers? Unless you are cooking for an army of men, I doubt that you will need that many.

I’m sure you’re beginning to get the idea. Now on the other hand, if you find you need different sizes of spatulas, then by all means keep one of each size. But otherwise, it is a good time to get rid of them.

Take each of those items that you decide not to keep and considering donating any items. that are in good condition, to a thrift shop or rummage sale.
 

 

Easy Ways to Organize Office Desktops

Decluttering your office and desktop may be the best thing that you could ever do for your career and yourself. Having an organized work space will allow you to avoid the chore of sorting through the clutter to locate any necessary information that you may need. It is also a great way to impress clients. People usually feel more comfortable working with someone who is organized.

Pay special attention to the layout of the office and be sure that you have a clear walking area between and around the furniture. Make sure that the desk is the appropriate size for the room. If your desk is too big, it will make the room seem crowded. Search for the right office desk for you.

Since you will likely need to house not only a computer, but a printer and a fax machine too, you will need to have enough space to accommodate all of these items. You will be able to increase your work space and better organize your office, if you place your office essentials in their own separate area.

For instance, your printer should be set up on a printer stand and should not be placed on the desk. This will give you more desktop space and you can then place the stand next to the desk for easy access, Plus, this will give you some extra room to store printer paper and accessories.

Also, positioning your desk so that it is easily accessible to the other office equipment is extremely beneficial. If you find that you do not have enough room for all of you files or books, then you may consider buying a book shelf.

It is easy for a desk to become disorganized and cluttered. Begin your desk declutter by determining which items need to remain on the desktop. Organizing paperwork is one key to creating a clutter free desktop. Start out by labeling all the files and folders that may be on your desk.

You may want to get a step file holder for your desk that will allow you to quickly see what may need your immediate attention. You might also consider using stacking trays, they are great for sorting “inbox” and “outbox” items. They also conserve space and are an additional way to keep your desktop tidy. For more tips on decluttering your paperwork click here.

Next, focus your attention on the drawers of your desk. There is a variety of plastic trays and caddies available in you local office supply stores that will assist you in organizing your desk drawer items. Some of them are actually made specifically to fit into a desk drawer. You can utilize them to organize your loose pens, paper clips, staples, etc.

Another thing you should do is to check the floor of your office, make sure that you have not begun to dump items there that you don’t have any room for.

When you are finished decluttering the office, it is quite easy to keep it that way. The best thing to do is to take about ten minutes, at the end of every day, to put everything back where it belongs. This one simple strategy will prevent things from getting out-of-hand once again.
 

 

Great Tips To Organize Your Paperwork

Discover how easy it is to declutter your paperwork and other paper items. First of all, you need to get a filing cabinet. At the very least, get a filing box. Or maybe even several boxes. You can buy them online or at just about any office supply or discount store.

If you have a home office, it’s very important at some point that you purchase a filing cabinet, Even with the age of digital forms and cybersaving sites you still need to have a filing cabinet. I doesn’t matter what anyone says, the “hard copy” of many documents, warranties and contracts will never totally disappear from the face of this earth. Also, keep in mind that every major appliance you buy includes with some type of operating manual. From that hot water heater to your refrigerator to your car, there are papers that need to be kept from each of these. It’s best to have them all stored together, rather than spread out all over the floor and cluttering up the drawer space in your home.

Instead of thinking about all the clutter that you currently have, begin visualizing your home as clutter free. Seriously, visualize it as clutter free. You’ll realize that as you go through your day that you’ll not only notice the clutter more, but you’ll slowly start to do something about it! It sounds weird, but after a while you have a mental picture of your home as (it should be) clean and organized. And the next thing you know, you’re taking steps (maybe just baby steps) towards your vision.

A lot of the clutter builds up in our homes simply because we refuse to deal with it “in the moment.” This concept is best demonstrated by the daily mail delivery. Every day your mail person drops mail off in your mail box. What exactly do you do with that mail? If you’re like the majority of people, you browse through it and then put it aside. Maybe you planned to deal with it after dinner or after the kids are in bed. However, you forget all about the mail and instead you end up reading a book or watching television.

Then you discover that a particular sales flyer for your local grocery store, that you set aside, is actually two weeks old and the sale is over. It either ended up being buried under a huge stack of junk mail or it fell under the couch. Yes, that is the nature of clutter. Instead of setting everything aside for later, you should have dealt with it in a more efficient way. You could have spent a few minutes separating the bills and placing them on your desk in a specific container, where you would then have them ready for the next time you need to pay them. Next, take the junk mail and start to prioritize that. Mail that you do not want should be thrown out immediately.

Sales ads that you may want to look over later, such as supermarket weekly sales ads, set aside in a basket where you can look at them later. Place this basket close to where you sit in the evening, that way you will remember them and at least glance through them. Now, at least you know where it is when you decide to write out this week’s shopping list.
 

 

Declutter and Organize Your Entire House

The fact of the matter is, your home did not become disorganized in just one day so it is not going to only take one day to declutter and organize your house. You may consider setting aside a specific amount of time every day to tackle this problem. Start out by getting three boxes; put labels on them indicating items to “give away”, “throw away” and “put away”. The “throw away” box should be lined with a garbage bag, making it easier to throw out the trash.

Begin by doing one room of your home at a time. Keep in mind that the goal is to organize therefore you will want to do your cleaning in an organized way. Start at the entrance of the room and continue to work your way clockwise around the room. Be sure that you do not skip any part of the room. It may be difficult to determine what items are important to keep and which ones are ready for the trash or for the give away box.

You should ask yourself several questions when determining what you will do with a specific item. Begin by asking yourself how you feel about each item. Do you love it? Does the item have sentimental value? Does it make you feel sad or guilty? You should not feel guilty about getting rid of something that was given to you, if it is just cluttering up your home. Another thing to ask yourself is if the item has been used in the past year. Ask yourself if it is broken, in bad condition or if you have another one that might be better. These are all good reasons you may want to get rid of a particular item. As soon as your “give away” box is full, you can either take it to your local thrift store or you might consider listing the items for sale on eBay or craigslist.

You may not have realized how many items were out of place in your home until your see your “put way” box after you begin to declutter a room. Once this box is full then stop your decluttering and put these items away now. Do not put it in a closet, the basement or the attic and think that you will get to it later. You know that you will never get around to doing later. Do it right, now then you can move on to the next task.

While working your way around the room you are decluttering, do not skip things like furniture, shelves or drawers. This is the best time to organize the room, as well. For example, if one piece of furniture is a desk, then go through and organize the draws. Be sure that you have a specific place available for items such as pens, envelopes, stamps, mail, and important papers. Make sure that you also sort through the papers to see if you could get rid of anything that is older then a year or possibly create a alternate space in the home where you can keep important financial information for several years.

Decluttering your home is not as overwhelming as you think it is. Just make sure to take your time and be consistent. Do a little every single day until each room is done. Keep a cloth with you also so that you can clean as you go. When all your decluttering is completed, then you can go through the room again to display your special items and set up every room of your home just the way you like.
 

 


Kitchen Organization Made Easy

Before we attempt to conquer the kitchen clutter, we should consider why we have a kitchen to begin with. The primary function of a kitchen is to have a place to prepare food. And sometimes it also provides us with a place to eat the food that has been prepared. The only reason why I mention this fact (which seems redundant), is that these days, most kitchens look more like a place to store appliances.

Now is the time to use some kitchen organization to bring it back to its original purpose, the warm inviting place in the home for the family to get together, cook and enjoy a meal.

We will begin by clearing space on the counter. Most people complain that they do not have enough kitchen counter space. For instance, two of the appliances that are used the most are the toaster and coffee maker. Although, most people keep them on top of the counter all the time, they are usually only used in the morning. They are taking up valuable space.

So my suggestion is, after they are used and cooled off, then put them away in a cabinet. You should also do this with any other appliance you use. Better yet, before you store each of the items, really think about the last time you used them and if they are actually worth keeping, If you only use the appliance once a year, then maybe you can live without it. Now may be a good time to get rid of any appliances that you really do not use.

Next, we will start to clean the kitchen cabinets.

The cabinets tend to get overloaded because we keep too many unnecessary items. For example, how many cups does a family really need? I am sure that some of the cups probably belong to a set of dishes. If you have all of the dishes in the set and use if on regular basis, then you should definitely keep the cups. But if you do not have the entire set, then maybe you really do not need all them cups.

Use this same process with all of the items in your cabinets. Most people have dishes that are seldom used because they may be cracked, chipped, or just do not match your other dishes. If you do not use these dishes – and have enough of others for your meals – then either throw them out or donate them to charity.

In addition, if you cannot remember that last time you used a particular pot, pan, or casserole dish, then you probably do not need it.

Now, let us turn our attention to the dreaded refrigerator. If your refrigerator looks anything like mine used to, then it is full of leftovers that sit there until they go bad and have to be thrown out. If you have been avoiding this task because you cannot bear the thought of facing all the rotten food, my suggestion would be to just throw it out container and all.

I would not normally recommend that you throw out a perfectly good dish, because I always wash and reuse or recycle my containers. But, just this once, it may be the only way to jump-start the cleaning process for you. Just make sure, that after that initial cleaning, you evaluate the items in the fridge every day or two, that way you can get rid of any food that it starting to spoil and avoid throwing away any other dishes.

Here is one easy way to keep the fridge in good shape is. Before you go food shopping, check the food that is already in the fridge. Open containers and check to see if leftovers are still good, check all expiration dates on any unopened foods in both the fridge and freezer, evaluate all fruits,veggies and dairy items.

Not only will this keep the fridge clean, but it will also help with your shopping list. You will easily be able to see what you may be out of and what items can be used to complete your planned meals. At this point, you can also take a look at the shelves and drawers to make sure that they are clean. So, when you get home with your shopping, you can just put the food away knowing that the fridge is in good order.

The only way to really keep the kitchen clean is to organize this space on a daily basis. Just don’t let anything get out of hand. If you use something, then try to put is back in its rightful place as soon as you are done with it. And make sure to clean any dishes right away, if they begin to accumulate then you may get overwhelmed and not want to do them.

 
 

Decluttering Life: Tips For Decluttering

When we think about decluttering our life, we first have to consider how it all got started. Our clutter begins to accumulate even before we are born — and we are not even aware of it. So it is not even our fault yet! At this point it is what others people are “doing to us.” Have you ever noticed that?

I’m referring to the continuous accumulation of material things in our life. Think about the concept of a baby shower. Even before we’re born we begin acquiring items through this ritual. Then our family discovers any number of reasons to “shower” us with even more material gifts as we grow up.

Now, gifts are great, but . . . eventually our room of gifts and toys and stuffed animals morphs itself as we get older into a house of stuff — some needed and some, well, not so necessary.

A favorite saying of people lately is “life happens.” Life, in fact, is exactly what happens while we ‘re making our plans for the future. Before we have our plans set in stone, it seems our life situation has changed — and well, so much for our plans.

This is the same thing that happens when it comes to our possessions. “Clutter happens.” Look around you. It’s hard to believe that, at one time, your home was empty – completely empty, to be redundant! What would you do, if someone told you that you had to leave it all behind, how would you react?

Could you, in fact, willfully walk away from all your material possessions right now?

It is time to find out what items are really important to you. Time to assess the items that you have and determine what is necessary and what items are just clutter.