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Fall Cleaning Tips

Hey Collectors!

Along with National Preparedness Month and back to school tips, I wanted to share some fall cleaning tips. If we take care of things they are less likely to break, get rusty and fall apart leading to clutter. Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep your stuff in good working order!

Here are a few of my fall cleaning tips to get you started. Of course, decluttering and getting organized is part of fall cleaning.

Ready to go. Gather cleaning supplies. I tell my clients to keep in one area such as the pantry or underneath the sink. I like to keep my supplies in an easy to carry caddy so I can easily go from room to room. Keep your main cleaning supplies here: whatever you use on a regular basis. Some things you might want to keep: sponges, gloves, duster, window cleaner, general purpose, oil soap and bleach. Something that you use once a year, such as sealing countertops, can be kept in the pantry or garage.

Get Help. Fall cleaning can be a chore, so consider hiring someone to do deep cleaning. See if family or friends would be willing to help. Of course, offer to do the same for them. If you have small children, hire a babysitter or schedule play dates so you can stay focused on cleaning.

Map out a plan. Make a list of everything you need to do both inside and outside. Most people suggest working inward and downward, so you could start at the top corner of a two-story home. Clean from the top down. Do not move onto another room until you have finished the room you are working on.

Consider hiring professionals, such as window washers, if it will save you time and energy and possible injury!

Outside. Now is the time to clean and store patio furniture, garden pots and tools. Drain and store garden hoses. Service and drain the lawn mower as recommended.

Don’t forget to clean outdoor furniture cushions to prevent mildew before you store them.

Check caulk around doors and windows and re-caulk as needed.

Have your gutters serviced to clear debris. Remove lint from the outdoor dryer exhaust.

If you have a snow blower make sure it is working. Stock up on deicing products.

Inside. In my back to school organizing tips for parents, I suggested going through spring clothes for children and adults. If you haven’t done that already, do now. Make sure summer and spring clothes are cleaned if you are going to store. If you have fall clothes stored, air out.

Flip and rotate mattresses and wash all bedding such as quilts, comforter, bed skirts, etc. Air out pillows and blankets, preferably in the sun.

Deep clean carpets and replace doormats if needed.

We are trying to go more natural in our household and use everyday items such as baking soda and vinegar to clean. You can find lots of easy to make recipes by Googling.

I also love working with essential oils when cleaning. I am especially fond of lavender and lemon. Pinterest is a great resource for essential oil recipes. I have created a collection of aromatherapy products, including this one geared towards cleaning: http://www.collectorcare.com/shop/essential-oils/releasing-letting-go-blends/space-clearing/.

What are your favorite fall cleaning tips? What is your least favorite fall cleaning chore? Share your comments below.

Not a fan of fall cleaning, clearing your clutter or getting organized? Would you like to be clutter free and organized for the holidays? Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email rachel@collectorcare.com to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

Back to School Organizing Tips Part 2

Hey Collectors!

I hope you enjoyed our first blog on Back to School Organizing Tips for children. If you missed it you can read it here: http://www.collectorcare.com/back-school-organizing-tips/

While last month focused on children, I wanted to share some back to school organizing tips for parents. As a busy single mom, I need to keep myself organized not only for business, but also for my son Shane! If I am not organized, it affects Shane. The more organized and free of clutter I am, the better mom I can be to Shane.

Most of us have started the school year and now is a great time to build organizing habits and get into routines. Organizing can help you save time and money as well as reduce your stress. Who doesn’t need more stress reduction? Here are a few back to school organizing tips I have found very helpful for parents.

Get Organized

Now that the kids are back to school, take some time to get organized and clear clutter!

Organize Clothes. Go through clothes and give away, sell or store for a younger sibling clothes that no longer fit. If they are worn, turn into rags or toss. (My rule of thumb when donating: if I wouldn’t give it to a friend because it’s in bad shape, I wouldn’t donate it.)

Make sure fall clothes still fit and make a list of anything you may need to purchase that children have outgrown: winter coats, sweaters, boots, etc.

Don’t forget to go through your own clothes! If you haven’t worn it in a while, donate or sell. Take the time to try on clothes and see if any need adjustments. Put it on your to do list to have clothes altered.

Organize/ Update Health Records. Many children have back to school health examinations and physicals. Many doctor’s offices now have on line record keeping. Check with your physician or health plan to see how long they store files and if they keep everything such as test results. Shred any old records (outdated prescriptions, etc.) that you don’t need.

If you don’t already, create a health record file for each family member and pet. Include things like current meds, allergies, physician phone numbers and health insurance information. In case you need it, will be easy to find.

Go through files. The onslaught of paper from schools has already begun! Before you get too overwhelmed, take the time now to go through your files and purge. Be judicious when it comes to holding onto school mementos. I suggest no more than one box per year and even less if you are able. Consider going through items with your child. Something might be important to them that you aren’t aware of and they might not need to keep what you considered special.

It is also a great time to start preparing information for your taxes. If you haven’t already, create a folder to keep all receipts for tax purposes.

Laundry

Pick laundry days. There is always laundry to do, but I suggest picking regular days to wash clothes. Let everyone know what days you will be doing laundry. Children will know to make sure to know when they need to have something in the laundry. No more not having a clean green shirt to wear for Earth Day.

Build a routine around laundry. On the days you do laundry, plan routines. After putting in laundry, you could pack lunches, do dinner prep or answer email. After you put clothes in the dryer, you could make dinner, return phone calls, or read mail. The more we do something at the same time, the more quickly the task gets done.

Get children to help. So many parents, especially mom’s, take on the burden of doing everything. Assign age appropriate chores for children. Teenagers can wash, dry and fold. Younger children can help sort and put away clothes.

Family Calendar

Create a central calendar. I am a fan of having one calendar that lists everyone’s activities. In our house, each person is a different color. My activities are in pink, Shane’s are in blue, etc. That way with a quick glance, each person knows what is on the agenda for the day.

If you have a command center or an office area, this is a great place to keep the calendar. If you have older children and/or are tech savvy, Google calendar is a great option.

Remember to add any event, appointment to the calendar as soon as you say yes or schedule!

Involve everyone. Make sure that everyone uses the calendar. It might take some adjusting, but if you make it a habit every time you schedule something, it will become automatic.

Don’t forget to block out time for yourself as well as family time. So many times we overschedule and it is important to have time to relax, recharge and have fun.

How do you organize for back to school? Where are you challenged when it comes to clearing clutter for the school year? Share your comments below.

Are you struggling to get organized or clear you clutter? Had you hoped to begin the school year organized but it didn’t quite happen? Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email rachel@collectorcare.com to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

Are you prepared?

Hey Collectors!

Are you prepared? September is National Preparedness Month. Living in California, we all know that an earthquake can strike at any minute. Even if we are lucky to not experience an earthquake, it is good to be prepared for other emergencies. I have peace of mind because if something happens, my family and I are prepared.

Getting Started! I encourage you to take the month of September to create an Emergency / Preparedness Pack or Kit. Some of the things you will want to think about keeping in your emergency pack include:

  • Medicine;

  • Food and water (one gallon per person per day) for 3 days per person;

  • Cash or travelers checks;

  • First aid kit;

  • A change of clothes;

  • Feminine supplies; and

  • Matches and a flashlight with back up batteries.

If you have infants you will need items like diapers and wipes. What else would you like to include in your emergency kit? Do you need toys or activities for your children?

Create a checklist. I have a checklist of all the items I have in my Emergency Kit. I keep it on the computer so I can easily update, in case I need to add something like medicine. I have it posted on the pantry door as well as on my bag in the garage. Here’s a checklist from Ready.gov to get you started: https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/checklist_1.pdf

Don’t forget your pets! Our pets are family as I am sure they are for many collectors. When preparing for you and your family, prepare for your pets. Here are some of the things you may want to have packed: carrier, leash, food, meds, water, litter, toys and a blanket.

Stay in touch! Facebook now allows you to alert people if you are safe in the event of a disaster or tragedy. However, if power fails, you may not be able to use phones or computers. Consider having a safe place to meet family or friends. Have a plan and decide who will evacuate any elderly or disabled people that cannot leave on their own. Once you have arrived at your meeting place, you can let the outside world know you are okay.

Storing. In our car, we have a change of clothes for each family member. We keep extra food and water in our pantry and have extended emergency packs, including cash, for each person in the garage. Pick a place where you can easily find what you need quickly. Consider having a mini emergency supply kit in your car.

Go through your supplies annually. Go though your kit every year and make sure everything is still working, hasn’t expired and still suits your needs.

If you would like to learn more about National Preparedness Month, volunteering or participating, you can find more information here: https://www.ready.gov/september

Are you super prepared and ready for anything or have you done nothing? What are your struggles with getting prepared for an emergency? Share your comments below.

Not prepared for an emergency? Collector Care can help you not only prepare for emergencies, but also clear extreme clutter and get you organized! Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email rachel@collectorcare.com to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

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