Cleaning and Organizing for the New Year: Preparing to Sort

collector care professional organizers

collector care professional organizers

Hey Collectors!

2017 is here! What are you most excited about creating, doing or enjoying? I am excited about getting married this year, watching my son Shane continue to grow and learn, and growing my business and podcast, Hoardganize.

Last month, I posted about where to begin. This is my most asked question as a professional organizer. I created a unique step-by-step plan and basic steps for my clients. You can read that blog post here:

In today’s post, I am going to continue how to set up and get organized. I see many people get overwhelmed and try to tackle too much stuff. By doing easy to manage basic steps, you are more likely to clear your clutter!

Preparing to Sort

After you have created your sorting station, next begin to prepare to sort! You are at your sorting station, now what?

You should have space to put containers when you created your sorting station. The first step is to grab the following items: 4 EMPTY containers for sorting. It doesn’t matter what they are—it can be the brown paper bags from the grocery store, bins, plastic containers, or amazon boxes. You will also need:

  • Trash bag

  • Recycling bag

  • Sharpie

Don’t get caught up in having matching containers and making everything perfect! Remember, our goal here is to clear clutter and get started sorting. Focus on being able to sort, not on how the containers look! Perfection can be a big obstacle for anyone looking to clear clutter.

If you are more visual, check out this episode on YouTube:

Begin by LABELING all four of your empty containers:

  • TO GO TRHOUGH — these are all the items you will be going to sort. Just load it on up to begin. When it is empty, reload.

  • KEEP — the items you want to keep. I know many of you might be thinking, “I want to keep it all, I need that.” Right now, we are just labeling and preparing to sort. I will go into more detail in next month’s blog. (If you are ready to move forward, check out the next episode on Hoardganize:

  • DONATE — contains “I am okay and feel good about donating.” I personally only donate to ONE organization until the clutter is under control. Instead of creating separate bags like hair care to a women’s shelter, keep your focus labeling your bags.

  • IMPORTANT — this bag is for “I cannot live without.” Some of the items might include: money, medication, keys, paper for work, urgent current and immediate items such as your mortgage bill.

Photos and collector coins could also be important. You might be confused because a lot is important to you. Focus on what is most important that needs to be addressed RIGHT NOW or today.

If you are nervous because the categories are too broad, that’s okay. It’s very normal for you to feel you this way.

Look at all you have accomplished! You created your sorting station, labeled containers and are ready to get started. Next month, I will talk about choosing what to start!

Remember, happiness is a place between too little and too much.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to sorting? What is the first room or area you are going to begin decluttering? Share your comments below.

Still stuck with sorting? Feeling overwhelmed and need some guidance? No worries, we can help! Collector Care helps people clear clutter and get organized, including working with hoarders and hording situations as well as extreme clutter.

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

Adventures in Hoardganize:
What People Hold Onto

Rachel Seavey, Blogger Owner of Collector Care

Rachel Seavey, Blogger
Owner of Collector Care

Hey Collectors!

Sometimes we can get so serious when it comes to getting organized and clearing clutter. It can sometimes be a big and overwhelming job. I wanted to share with you some of the fun things we have found on some of our jobs. There is no judgment! Let me repeat, no judgment! I have found that lightening the mood with my clients always helps and energizes them to keep going.

Here are some of our finds:

Why do you think people have held onto this stuff? Why have you held onto stuff? If someone is a hoarder, there is usually trauma associated with holding onto things. For people who aren’t hoarders, they may be afraid they might need it some day or are bothered that they might have spent a lot of money and feel if they are “losing” if they let it go.

I have also found that people are sometimes afraid to return items. What’s holding you back from clearing that clutter that may turn into a photo above? The worst that can happen is that they say no and take no returns. The best that can happen is you shed clutter and get some money back! Any items that the department store will not take – immediately donate! Do not come home; go straight to the donation center.

In my professional experience, I have found that once my clients do about five separate returns they are much more cautious during their initial shopping excursions and end up bringing home less stuff that turns into clutter.

What is the craziest thing you have found when you have decluttered? What is the oldest thing you have found? Share your comments below.

If you need some help clearing your clutter (including extreme clutter and hoarding), we can help you! You don’t have to tackle your clutter by yourself. Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you get organized and/or declutter.

Photo Credits:

Get Organized Month – Easy Organizing Tips

Hey Collectors!

The National Association of Professional Organizers sponsors January as GET ORGANIZED Or GO Month. January is a great time to get organized because you can get prepared for the year. If you spend time now on clearing clutter and getting organized, then you can focus on creating, being and having fun! Who wouldn’t want more time for that? I would personally love more time at the spa getting pampered….

Have you ever thought about what being disorganized is costing you? I wanted to share some statistics with you. Do you see yourself in any of these statistics? Here are some stats on office disorganization I found on Brother USA:

  • The estimated annual dollars spent on looking for misplaced items in the office is $89,840,657,069 among full-time office professionals.

  • Estimated 38 working hours (or close to one work week) per person each year are lost as a result of looking for misplaced items in the office.

  • 66% of office workers having spent up to 30 minutes of time during a typical work week looking for things they have misplaced around their office, a major contributing factor for lost time in the office.

  • 46% of office workers have lost one of the following items in the past year (a file folder, mobile phone, calculator, flash or memory drive, a briefcase, suitcase, or luggage, lap top computer, or a PDA)

  • Close to four in 10 (37%) of office workers have gone into a work meeting feeling unprepared

  • Office supplies are on the top of office workers’ list of items lost in the last year with close to three in 10 (28%) have lost a file folder in the past year.

  • 87% of office workers say when their workspace is disorganized they feel they are less productive than when their workspace is organized

  • 86% agree that having a disorganized workspace is unprofessional

  • 30% of office workers have lost out on getting reimbursed for a business or travel expense because they misplaced or lost a receipt

To search more statistics on office disorganization and home disorganization, check out NAPO’s database:

My 10 Quick Organizing Tips for The New Year

  1. Begin by SCHEDULING time to get organized. If we don’t write it down, we probably won’t do it!

  1. Create a vision of what you would like your home to look like. Write this down and/or create a vision board. Make sure to always keep your vision handy where you can reference it to keep you going.

  1. Return anything unopened, new, or with tags on it, that you haven’t used and is collecting dust. If you don’t have it, you don’t have to organize it.

  1. Jewelry can usually be organized fairly quickly. Necklaces should be stored individually or hung vertically so they don’t become tangled with themselves or other jewelry. Bracelets can be kept in a compartmentalized drawer or tray. Organize earrings by type. Studs and hoops can be stored in small compartments. Dangly earrings should hang vertically to avoid entanglements and damage.

  1. Organize with Ziploc bags. They are great for containing small items and are easy to label and use. Tame unruly toys, hardware, cosmetics, collections and snacks with ease!

  1. The brown paper bag is one of my favorite tools to use for sorting. Bags are simple to label, lightweight and a great way to sort documents. I like to have two in front of me: one for shredding and one for recycling. The brown paper bag is great for carrying out recycling, garbage, compost, and small donations. Really, anything that you need to carry out of your home and take elsewhere.

  1. Tackle donation junk mail. Put all of your solicitations in a box. Go through this box with ruthlessness. Open up each solicitation that you are interested in donating to.

Next, create a spreadsheet or list of whom you just donated to, how much and the date. Write “return to sender” on ones you aren’t interested in and put them in your outgoing mail. If that’s too much, recycle or shred them immediately.

  1. Don’t hang onto items “just in case”. If you don’t love it move it along to someone in need.

  1. Organize and start your filing for the year. Commit to being 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. Get ahead of the game and start keeping track of your receipts for taxes so you aren’t in a panic come tax time next year.

  1. Be mindful of your buying and spending. Constantly ask yourself if what you are thinking about acquiring matches your ultimate vision.

What are your favorite organizing tips? How has organizing saved you time, money or reduced your stress? Share in the comments below.

Are you tired of losing money because you purchased something you already owned? Do you spend hours looking for your keys, bills or other important documents? Collector Care can help you get organized to start your New Year off on the right foot!

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help your loved one.