ORGANIZING PLAIN & SIMPLE MONTHLY
Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
May 2014 – Vol. 13 No. 2
“Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” ~ John Petit-Senn
One way to declutter…move (or just pretend to)!
Did you know that May is officially National Moving Month? Are you planning to move this summer?
I’ve moved 10 times in the last 22 years, including my last move from a 3,500-square-foot home to a 350-square-foot motorhome. So even if I wasn’t a professional organizer, I could give you a few decluttering and moving tips!
I recommend creating a moving binder where you can keep your to-do list and notes, moving estimates, and everything related to your move, including phone numbers for utility companies at your current and new home.
One checklist everyone needs – whether you’re moving or not – is a home inventory checklist. You can download one from www.InsureUonline.org, the non-profit site of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, where you’ll also find lots of good information about things to consider when you’re buying a new home and protecting yourself right from the start.
As soon as you know you will be moving, start decluttering room by room. You only want to take with you those things you love and use (and can use in your new place). Why pack and move stuff that will just clutter up your new home?
Have a yard sale or better yet, donate everything to charity, get a receipt and take the write-off on your tax return. A lot of charities will pick up your donations if you ask. It doesn’t get easier than that! Go to DonationTown.org to find a local charity that picks up in your area.
I’m a big fan of selling on Craigslist. I’ve sold things on Facebook, too. I created a photo album with pictures of what I was selling and then asked my friends if they would take a look and share with anyone they thought might be interested.
When we sold our last home, we had a 3-day estate sale. The company we hired priced everything, brought in tables and set up the sale, advertised the sale, and took care of everything from start to finish, including running the sale, for a 35% commission – well worth the price. Check out EstateSales.net to find a local estate sale company.
If you’re making a long distance, especially if you’re moving to a new region, think twice about taking all of your furnishings. Furniture can be costly to move and after paying to move it, you may find that your current furniture is all wrong in your new place. Sell it, save the cost of moving it, and buy new furnishings when you get where you’re going. (Lesson learned: Someday, when we decide to leave the traveling life and move back into a bricks-and-sticks home, I plan to buy all of our new furnishings from local moving sales!)
Get your packing supplies early. You can order boxes online and have them delivered to your home. Moving.com is one of many companies that sell boxes online and also have a handy calculator to help you figure out how many boxes you need.
What I do is use the calculator to figure out what I need and then look for them for free at Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org. If you’re going to do this, start looking early and keep looking until you have all you need. It’s hit or miss.
Label each box with the room it will go to in your new home. Write the room name on all four sides of the box – you’ll be glad you did. Also include a brief description or quick list of the contents. And do yourself a favor that will save your back – use smaller boxes to pack heavy items like books and dishes. Save the larger boxes for lighter items such as bedding and decorative items.
You can use newspaper for packing material, but I think it’s worth the extra expense to get packing paper, because I don’t like getting newsprint all over my hands. But that’s me.
In addition to boxes and paper, you need some good packaging tape. Word of advice: Get the good stuff. If you cheap out on lower quality tape, you’ll regret it every time you have to stop to find the lost tape end. I’m a big fan of Duck brand EZ Start packaging tape. Its special release technology makes it easy to start each time and ensures you never lose the tape end. Plus it won’t split or tear. And it unrolls smoothly, easily and quietly for those late-night packing sessions!
Be sure to pack a “move day” box or or small suitcase for things you want to keep handy on move day, such as a box cutter, snacks, phone chargers, maybe even your toothbrush and pajamas so you don’t have to open a gazillion boxes to find them that first night. I always unpack bedding and make my bed first so I don’t have to do it at the end of an exhausting day.
Take your time setting up and organizing everything in your new home. As you’re unpacking, keep a few empty boxes handy for things that don’t make the cut in your everyday living space. Don’t just move them out to the garage or down to the basement. Make the decision now to donate or sell them. Your future self will thank you.
Favorite organizing products and resources
As a professional organizer for the last 14 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.
Last month, I mentioned Shoeboxed, the service I use to organize and store my receipts online. I can forward email receipts or scanned receipts or just snap a photo with my smartphone and upload to my account that way.
This month, I want to share a new ebook from my friends at List Plan-It, one of my readers’ favorite resources for getting organized. 100 Days of Summertime 2014 is available in PDF (145 pages) and includes a 34-page workbook for planning out a fun and productive summer.
100 Days of Summertime 2014 lists for $8, but for you, it’s just $5 with the coupon code: 100DAYS3OFF. Oh, and if you want to take a look at an excerpt of the book before you buy, you can click here. Then come back here to purchase.
For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/suggestions.
Shameless promotion: Autograph, anyone?
If you don’t have a copy of Secrets of Professional Organizers (Volumes 1-3) in your Kindle library, you can grab a copy for just 99 cents today through Sunday, May 25. On Monday, May 26, it will go back to its regular price of $8.97. This is the #1 bestselling organizing book on Amazon! Click here to get this book for just 99 cents!
I signed up for a special service that allows me to autograph your Kindle books. If you’d like me to do that for you, click here to request an autograph.
And for your reading pleasure…
Got kids? You might find some useful tips (including one of mine) in this DailyParent.com article on organizing the playroom.
I was also interviewed for an article that appeared on Forbes.com – 7 steps to a clutter-free closet. Great tips in there for you!
That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission which goes toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter. Please note that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.