Keep Vs. Donate

Hey Collectors!

To ensure success, I have broken down where to begin into many different steps. I have been posting a blog series on Where to Begin. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs or if you prefer to listen, check out my podcast:

Today we are going to talk about KEEP vs. DONATE. How do you decide this?

We are going to pick up from last month’s blog. Be at your sorting station, with your bags or boxes labeled: Keep, Donate, Important and Trash. Have your “to go through” (TGT) box to tackle. Last month we talked about staring with easy items to go through. If you have discarded trash and recycled in the area you are working, you are now ready to begin with your TGT box.

If it is a perfectly good item, you might be confused on whether you should keep or donate it. You might like everything in your TGT box. Know you can lean how to make decisions on your items. Some might be more challenging than others. You might have some new items. You may know you have duplicates. You may be excited to see these items again. The task might be daunting. It is okay if items are all mixed together or all the same category. Do not over think; keep moving forward and go through all your items in the TGT box one by one.

You will most likely have the urge to get up and put things away. Do not do this! This will slow down and/or sabotage your process. If an item feels urgent, put in your important bag to deal with right after the session.

Sit at your sorting station and focus on your TGT box. If you have ADD or ADHD this is important! Don’t put things away because you might not come back as other things distract you. Consider writing a note to remind you to stay put.

If you have hoarding or extreme clutter, you may not have storage so it is important for you to make decisions. Don’t obsess over miscellaneous items. Remember, OHIO (Only Handle It Once) doesn’t work for those with extreme clutter or hoarders. I believe it is okay to have a second or third pass on items. Do your best to try and not get hung up on your items.

I give myself 30 seconds and my clients a minute. If I can’t decide, I put in my keep bag with the plan on revisiting later. Try to weed out what you can let go of. Here are some more tips:

I know somebody that could use that! Put the item aside and really think about this. If you have extreme clutter, perhaps you have a friend you have been meaning to give stuff to. Do they really want? If you called them right now, would they truly be excited about the item? Consider it if takes a lot of effort to get to the person. Do you need to make a trip to the post office and mail? Bring over to their home? Your friend might not want the items because they might not have same sentiment as you do. Trust your friend will survive without the items and let them go. Put the item in your donate bag. Don’t get caught up in helping others; the priority right now is helping you!

What if I need it someday? Think about how often you have actually used the item. When was last time you used? Is there a duplicate? How easy would it be to get another one? If you did need it, would you get that exact item or would you choose something else? Remind yourself of your vision of living a clutter free life. Does your item help you realize that vision?

Hold, touch, smell, and look at each individual item. As you do this, ask yourself: do you truly need it? Do you have others just like it? Is it something you actually use? Is it in good enough condition to use? Would someone with much less appreciate it more? There are many people in need who truly would use and get value from your stuff.

If you decide to keep, put it in your keep bag. If you believe someone else could get better use, place in your donate bag.

If it is not in good condition, put in the trash or recycle. I see a lot of garbage being donated to charities. If you have a puzzle with missing pieces, do you think a child would appreciate a puzzle with missing piece? If the item is ripped, torn or stained, throw it out. It is not fair to donate unusable items. The non-profits have to absorb the cost of the landfill fee.

Before moving to another area, go through all items in your TGT box. Once the box is empty, you will be left with keep and donate. If you put anything in your important bag, deal with it immediately.

What about items you aren’t sure about? Maybe you have a blouse you are not sure about because you don’t know how many blouses you have and want time to think about it. If you are spending a lot of time thinking about it, put it in your keep bag. Don’t allow it to slow you down.

Let me reiterate: it is okay to have second or third pass of things. You might decide later you don’t want items in your keep bag. Deal with the uncomfortable feeling of being less than perfect. Now, this isn’t a hall pass; try your best to make a decision to keep or donate. Always ask if someone with less could use the item more. Imagine your home when the decluttering is done. Is that item included in your vision?

Label your keep container with what room it came from and date. Don’t sort and put items away from your keep bag. You might not have space if you have extreme clutter. The goal is to learn how to go through items by yourself and what questions to ask yourself, not to have your home instantly organized. This is a long process. It took a long time and effort to clutter your home and it will take time and effort to declutter.

Congratulate yourself on a job well done and reward yourself! You just sorted a box all by yourself! Celebrate your work by watching a movie, having some ice cream. Acknowledge your hard work and progress and never give up!

Take your donations to your staging area. If the bag is full, take the trash and recycling out if you can physically do it. Have your sorting station clear for the next time you declutter. I like to wipe down my station. Keep it clear as it is easy to clutter again. Make a rule that you are not going to clutter it again.

We will talk about donations in the next blog in this series.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to deciding to keep vs. donate? What has helped you? Share your comments below.

Deciding whether to keep or donate items is only part of the process in decluttering and getting organized. Collector Care can help! Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you with decluttering, hoarding, extreme clutter and getting organized.

Image Credit:

Spring Cleaning – 3 Tips on Living an Organized Life

Hey Collectors!

Life seems to go non-stop 24/7 between work, home, business, life, mind, body and spirit. Because we are always going, sometimes our chores get pushed to the wayside. If we let our chores slide, laundry/dishes/garbage will pile up (and smell) if you don’t take the time to handle them. They don’t mysteriously accumulate out of thin air. (Sorry!) You actually have to do the work.get organized

Most people don’t like doing chores, but they do them because they understand the consequences if they don’t. Trust me, you are not the only one that hates doing chores. Most people would rather be doing something else. Remember, there is nothing wrong with disliking chores; this doesn’t make you a bad person.

Part of living an organized life is scheduling your chores so your home or workspace doesn’t become like an episode of Hoarders. Everyone can be organized. Like anything else, it is a skill you can learn. Are some better than others? Yes, but we can all learn the basics that can keep us on track.

Here are three tips to help you schedule time to clean and do chores. After spring cleaning, you will be able to continue these habits all year long!

* Write it Down. Take the time to write down your daily schedule. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. See where you can make time daily or weekly time to clean. Be honest. If you watch hours of TV everyday or are constantly updating your Facebook status, you have time to do your chores. If you read every night, commit to one night a week doing laundry instead.

* Rules. You are going to have to set some rules. For example, once the trashcan is full, it goes out, no exceptions. Or every time you go out you must take out a small bag of trash. Perhaps every Sunday you do laundry.

* Start small. Start out small and work your way up. Always set yourself up for success by taking baby steps. Instead of planning to organize your entire home, organize one room, or one area at a time. Stay focused and in the same area until it is clean and organized.

What’s your best tip for living an organized life? Share in the comments below.

You can do this! Remember, the more you do a habit the easier it becomes, so be patience and commit to sticking with it!

Need a jump-start to spring cleaning? Ready for a new life? Collector Care can help you clean, get organized and declutter to jumpstart your new life.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you compassionately clear your extreme clutter.

Image Credit:

Three Reasons I LOVE Working with Hoarders

Hey Collectors!

Happy Spring!

Did you know that I LOVE working with hoarders?

I am often asked why I love working with this amazing group of people. I understand why people want to know because the work conditions can be dangerous and sometimes hazardous. Many of my clients are depressed and overwhelmed. Many have suffered severe trauma. For many, that may be a challenging group of people to work with.

I love working with hoarders because no matter what, I see the bright side. Even the most extreme cases bring stories of joy. Despite all the current struggles, there is still a fighter within all of our clients. They have a fire that burns deep inside.

When my team helps someone save his or her home or repair a strain on a marriage due to extreme clutter, we help fuel that flame. We help remind them of a time when they were happy, and we help them get their lives back on track. I am honored to share such a sacred time in their lives.

Here are three reasons why I love working with Hoarding Disorder clients:rachel seavey

1. They see a use for everything. A broken piece of ceramic can be created into mosaic, hair can be composted, or a milk carton can double as a flowerpot. Their ideas are endless. I am so grateful to my Collectors for debating, arguing and literally showing me your points. I never would have known the many ways to reuse a bread twist tie. Your creativity is boundless. THANK YOU for being so resourceful.

2. They make it work. It doesn’t matter if my clients are teetering across five feet of garbage, or stacking boxes in a corner with magazines and important mail, they know how to make it work. They are skilled survivalists climbing over and under to get a drink of water or sleeping on their beds with everything but the kitchen sink. I am in awe of their ability to adapt.

3. They make me laugh. Laughing is good for the mind, body and soul. Even in the most severe cases, we are able to find humor. Even with the pressure of eviction, divorce or family members launching attacks, we find ourselves laughing throughout the day. After going through the 50th large home depot box of mystery items, and the 3,000 garments in the closet, you really get to know someone well. Everyone is exhausted, emotions have run high, and laughter and joking are much needed. The majority of my clients can find humor in their collections and situations.

rachel seavey

As a side note, I LOVE going through your mystery boxes. Thank you for your time capsules and random acts of organizing.

If you are a Hoarder, what do you love about yourself? If you have a friend, family member or loved one who is a hoarder, what do you love about them? Share in the comments below.

If you are a hoarder, can you see the beauty in where you are right now? Can you acknowledge the good of your hoarding disorder?

Are you a hoarder ready to make some changes? Have a loved one who is a hoarder and needs help? Collector Care works with hoarders, extreme clutter and getting people organized.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you compassionately work with your hoarder or clear your extreme clutter.