Are you a shopaholic?

Hey Collectors!

Are you a shopaholic or worried that a friend or family member may be? Does your shopping lead to clutter for you? Do you over shop or overspend on a regular basis?

One of the ways clutter easily accumulates is that we continue to buy stuff, without getting rid of stuff we already own. With the holidays coming up, now is a great time to taking first steps on cutting down compulsive shopping.

What exactly is compulsive shopping? According to an article on WebMD:

“Compulsive shopping and spending are defined as inappropriate, excessive, and out of control,” says Donald Black, MDcluttergirl, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. “Like other addictions, it basically has to do with impulsiveness and lack of control over one’s impulses. In America, shopping is embedded in our culture; so often, the impulsiveness comes out as excessive shopping.”1

What are some signs to know if you have crossed the line and are a compulsive shopper?

Going over budget. You set a budget, but go over it. May be you don’t have a budget. Perhaps you have credit card debt and know you can’t afford to buy something, but you just can’t stop.

More often than not. You just don’t go on a spring spree or Holiday spree. It’s more often: monthly or every other month. You find a reason to justify buying.

Hiding what you buy. Like an alcoholic, many compulsive shoppers will hide their purchases. They also might have secret accounts and family and friends have no idea how much debt has accumulated.

Can’t have just one. Like Lays potato chips, often compulsive shoppers can’t purchase just one item. Instead of buying one pair of jeans, they buy five.

Emotions related to compulsive shopping. Someone might use shopping as a way to soothe feelings such as anger, anxiety or depression. Some also may get a “high” from shopping.

There is no shame in asking for help and if you are a compulsive shopper, most professionals agree that you will need support as you treat your addiction. A therapist, counselor or professional organizer can help you get a handle on your situation. Many professional organizers, including myself, work with therapists and counselors to have the best possible outcome.

If you are ready to clear some of your clutter and still have receipts and tags, you might enjoy this blog I wrote on how to return merchandise:

Is there one item you can’t seem to say no to when you shop? How have you learned to slow down or stop your shopping? Share your comments below.

Has your shopping created clutter? Do you need to support to get a handle on your purchases? Have you stopped shopping but need help organizing what’s left? Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.


Fall Organizing Tips

Hey Collectors!

Fall Organizing Tips

Fall Organizing Tips

Can you believe we are in the last quarter of 2016?!? Fall is a great time for not only cleaning, but also getting organized. The holidays will be here before you know it. Being organized and clearing clutter goes a long way in reducing your stress!

Here are some of my favorite fall organizing tips. What are your favorite organizing tips for fall? Share in the comments below.

Decorations. Halloween is upon us and Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza and Winter Solstice will be here shortly. Now is a great time to organize your decorations. Because we only take these out once a year, sometimes we can forget to declutter and organize them. Take the time now. If you do a good overhaul now, you will have minimal work next year!

First, sort and separate all of your decorations into categories that make sense to you (Halloween, Tree, Outside, Displays, etc.). Once you have sorted, go through all of your piles and take the time to purge. Consider swapping out items with friends if you want a new look this year instead of going out and buying more decorations.

Next, assign a home for where the decorations will go. I like to keep all my decorations together, but you may like to keep them in different areas. For example, housing outside decorations in the garage and storing Christmas tree stockings and decorations in a closet.

After you have decided where the items will live, choose a container that will fit each category. Some categories may need more than one bin. I like clear bins so you can easily see what is inside, but I suggest putting a label or even an index card on top or the side so you will know all the contents. You will never have to go searching for decorations again!

Games Books Toys! With the holidays coming up, you will most likely be getting more stuff. Especially with kids, take the time to clear out what you already have before you organize. You might also find out gifts the kids want and can get started on your holiday shopping AFTER you have gotten organized.

Remember to concentrate on one area at a time. I encourage you to have your children go through their items with you. Teaching kids early on to clear clutter and get organized will help them later in life. If your kids are older, help them out by sorting games/books that are for younger kids. They may be able to simply look at the pile and have you donate it all.

After sorting by item (games, book, toys) see if any additional purging can be done. You could also pre sort games that have missing pieces or are beat up and let them go. I also suggest setting a limit for children (i.e. we will keep only books that fit in your bookcase).

Decide on a home for all your items and ask your child for input. Maybe they would prefer books in their room instead of in the playroom. Look for containers to store what’s left. Invest in sturdy containers. If they are flimsy and fall apart you may not use and clutter will accumulate again. Remember to measure twice! For example, if you will be using containers for a bookshelf, don’t forget the measurements of the shelf as well as the number and size of items you have to store on the shelf.

Garage. This can be a huge undertaking so I suggest blocking off an entire weekend. Garages can easily become overwhelmed with clutter because many people stick in here what they cannot make a decision on.

You are going to want to take everything out of the garage. EVERYTHING. Give it a good cleaning, sweeping. If you are feeling adventurous, consider a fresh coat of pain.

Go though everything and purge duplicates and anything you haven’t used in a while. If it’s rusty and not working, consider putting it on If you don’t have the time or desire to repair something out there, there is usually someone who does. A win win for everyone.

After you have purged, start organizing your items by category. You might have sports, holidays, lawn and garden, tool, etc. Come up with categories that make sense to you. After you have created organized piles, assign an area in the garage for each of the items. You will want to make sure you have enough space for all your items. Measure the space it will be stored as well as the items if you need to buy containers.

Don’t forget going vertical –I love pegboards for tools as well as above. There are a variety of racks and containers to utilize top space.

It’s a good idea to label and create a cheat sheet near the entrance to the garage of what you have and where it is.

Make it easier. If you are clearing clutter why you get organized, consider having friends and family come by and see if they would like anything. Or call a charity that comes and picks up. Here’s one that supports Veterans:

If you haven’t started your fall cleaning yet, check out my blog with tips for fall cleaning and a few fall organizing tips:

Don’t have time to get organized? Would you like to be organized to reduce holiday stress? Collector Care not only helps clients get organized and clear extreme clutter, but also works with hoarders.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

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:

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 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

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