Kids are Inherently Hoarders

Kids are Inherently Hoarders

Kids and all their treasures, well in their sweet, innocent eyes they are treasures. To many parents it is just junk, trash and in my case a lot of rocks. Sometimes not even rocks but chunks of concrete. So how do we battle the clutter of kid “treasures”? I implanted the “Treasure Chest” aka the junk box. For each of my 3 children their chests look very different, my eldest is on the spectrum, so his box has nuts, bolts screws, even pencil shavings. All somehow work into a master plan to build a snowplow and use the pencil shavings as snow. He has been gathering these “treasures” for years. My daughter’s chest is full beads and sequins and anything pretty. And my youngest son’s is rock, mulch and sticks, all treasures in his eyes.  It is our agreement that if it fits in the chest then it won’t be thrown away.

Twice a year we completely purge their rooms. All 3 kids have their birthdays near Christmas, which gave me the great excuse to implement the donation schedule. In order to make room for new birthday and Christmas gifts we must first make a box to take to donate for girls and boys that don’t have as many toys. Amazingly the kids get very excited to do this, they discover toys they had forgot about, find toys that they are longer interested it and always find new ‘treasures” to add to their treasure chests. I allow them to sort the chests and decide what they can part with. It gives them the responsibility to decide for themselves if that feather or rock or sequin still brings them joy or if it is in fact just junk. Through this process my kids have grown to make decisions on their own as well as to stay organized.

I hope you find these tips helpful with all the kid junk, I mean treasures.

 

Written by: Erin Pickering, Project Coordinator

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In Death Do We Inherit

In Death Do We Inherit

My Dad passed away about two months ago which I shared with you in my last blog, In Death Do We Organize.Now, it's another take on this whole experience, In Death Do We inherit!

Some of you folks, have lots to potentially inherit; money, cars, homes, stocks, etc., and that is great, for you. But, there are many of us that don't have a pile of stuff coming our way, in fact, more than many. I'm one of those who inherited a few precious items from a few precious possessions. And make no mistake, I am so grateful!

See this picture of Saint Nickolas? That's a very old doll, over 100 years old, from the Swedish side of my Mom's family. Boy, do I remember every Christmas seeing him come out of the tissue paper for a few months of holiday. When I was a child, I was scared of Saint Nick, as an adult, he still freaks me out a bit! LOL Yet he is FABULOUS! 

I remember to this day, the moment when my Father said in front of my sister, Janet, (thank goodness) that HE would be MINE. WOW, I felt then I won the lotto! And still feel so fortunate to have this amazing family treasure.

Next, you'll see a little basic cordial glass of absolutely no value. But, it's the memory of this that takes my heart away.

My Mom was a heavy smoker, (menthol, Salem Lights), and never stopped until the final last years.

However, her way of self medicating was to fill this little glass with maple syrup and as she stated,

"It will coat my throat so I won't cough as much."  Now the medical establishment may disagree with Mom here, and as a kid I used to think, really? But I still see her sipping out of this glass while doing dishes at the sink, her yellow Playtex gloved hand holding carefully not to slip.

This Holiday Season, no matter what you own, may you embrace beautiful and hilarious memories and inherit them in your heart forever. 

Happy Holidays!

Written by: JD Farley, Project Manager

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Transforming your Junk Drawer into a Junk Door

Transforming your Junk Drawer into a Junk Door

One of the ways I like to control the junk drawer dilemma is by creating a junk door. On the door of our pantry I have taken a clear over the door shoe hanger and filled the LABELED pockets with various items such as tape measures, chip clips, small tools, string, tape, flashlights, and anything else that one needs quickly to complete a task.  It is very important that the pockets are labeled otherwise it becomes a free for all when items are being put back.  Our family really likes the junk door because they never have to hunt down random items.

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The Older You Get, The Less Stuff You Need

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I cannot seem to remember exactly where I heard this, but I recently read an article that made me think about the elderly and how much “stuff” they hold onto and why they should let most of it go. In order to achieve this necessary step in downsizing, you will need to identify what items bring you happiness and in order to achieve this, you will first need to define what makes you happy.

One thing I read was that when elderly people begin downsizing their belongings, they should not only hire a professional organizer to help facilitate this transition, but they should also keep a memory box/container of items that is known as their “throw out” box. As sad as it sounds, we all are going to eventually pass away and when that time comes, we don’t want our families to have to go through all of our belongings while trying to mourn their loss, so why not make it easier for them to enjoy the happy memories? This idea of the “throw out” box is as simple as it sounds - make a box dedicated to items/memories that only you, yourself, hold onto because of personal feelings or reasons you never shared with anyone else, that way when you are no longer with us, that will be the one box that your family knows won’t hurt your feelings if they just threw it out!

Also, another good tip would be to create bins for each person whom you want your belongings to live with :)

Whether your next phase in life is downsizing into a smaller home, moving into assisted living, or passing away - you shouldn’t have to worry about all of your “stuff” weighing you down!

Written by: Lindsay Gomez, Professional Organizer

What to do when the kids leave but their stuff stays?!

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One of the issues that comes up with the empty nest situation is what to do with the belongings of a child who is slightly nomadic but still needs a home base to store things. I have two at the moment and I have come up with a pretty good system to keep things orderly and accessible.

The first thing I do is wrangle them to spend at least half a day with me systematically going through their items and sorting into piles of keep, donate, and archive. I like to use The Container Store’s Deep Sweater box for clothing and larger items, and their regular Sweater Box for smaller things. Labeling with a label maker is essential to the process which makes it much easier to locate specific items. We then put the bins in a closet of their designated room, and then archival items we place in our storage room. It goes without saying that this process requires occasional editing and more purging.

We have found that this process makes it easy for them to either call me from the road and send them certain items, or when they do return they have a much easier time finding that flannel shirt they love.

Written By: Leslie Dietrich

Downsizing your SPACE, Up sizing your WORLD

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If you had said to me ten years ago, I'd be living in a 1,014 square foot condo in a HIGH RISE no less, I would have fallen of my chair! What? Really?

Yes, really.

Much has been written about downsizing, the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of leaving the familiar, the steady, the home.

Yet, on the other side of this coin, treasures many have not dreamed of, I certainly didn't, are there for the taking.

We brought up our sons in suburban Connecticut, not far from the high school. WE had gardens, land, an outdoor shower, (yes, I miss that a lot), a basement, an attic and lots and lots of stuff. A typical American family rising two kids with all the accoutrements, paraphernalia, things; sports equipment, school items, toys, games, you name it, along the way during those precious years. 

Then the kids hit the college scene, grew up faster than my heart could take, secured jobs, their own insurance (YES!) and the family home, became a little sad, a little lonely, though still safe for my way of being.

When my husband got a job offer to Denver, we thought, how can we leave this place? How can we? But we did!

As the years went by, from the lovely Eastern home in Connecticut to our fabulous Western pad in Denver, the "things' we thought were so precious began to fade, began to become heavy. 

One by one, year by year, we starting shredding, keeping the things we LOVE, USE and TRULY WANT.  And you know what? The freedom from our stuff has given us freedom for so much more! 

Rather than raking leaves, we hit the art museums! Rather than shovel snow, we are skiing!  Rather than cleaning out the garage, we are playing golf!! 

I treasure our magnificent years in Connecticut and still get teary eyed at those fantastic memories. But, my husband and I decided that WE, must make new memories and see our beautiful world in a bigger way, and I'm so glad we did. 

By: JD Farley, Project Manager & Professional Organizer