Organizing with Seniors

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Many of my clients are seniors transitioning into another phase of Living.  Some are considering retirement and others have already retired.  As part of the transition, many have decided to stay in their homes, which they have been in for 25+ years.  As most of us know, over time we accumulate a lifetime of “stuff”.   So now it is time for us to decide what we really want to keep and it may no longer be an issue of what “stuff” the children want.  Many are discovering that our children are not emotionally attached to the things that we hold dear.

When I work with seniors, I try to help them to understand that I DON’T want them to simply get rid of everything.  With tender care, I help facilitate them through the organizing process.  I must be patience, but at times, firm to guide them through making very difficult decisions.  I understand the emotional attachment we have to our things that are now a lifetime of memories.  Please don’t misunderstand we all realize that we cannot keep everything.  The closets, basements, attics, garages, sheds, etc. etc. etc. are overflowing. However, usually once the client calls me, they are ready to purge…. But, by how much is the question, so I must be prepared and proceed gently!

After my clients have decided what they are willing to give away, I find organizations that the client wants to contribute to and/or support, i.e. homeless shelters, churches, etc.  I have also worked with a local auction house, who are experts in appraising valuables.  Yard sales, consignment shops and on-line selling are all viable options.  But understand that it may take a lot more time to clear the clutter. Unfortunately, most of us believe that our stuff is worth a lot or maybe not!?!?

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Some of my clients are transitioning into senior independent living communities. Therefore, the new home may be considerably smaller than the house where they raised their children.  All aspects of the process mentioned above still apply, however, now it is even more critical to downsize.   Major de-cluttering is required.  It is usually easier to facilitate the purging process in phases, starting with larger to smaller items; from more cluttered to less cluttered areas of the home.

It is wise to understand, how much or how little storage my clients will have when they move to their new home. I strongly suggest to my clients to avoid paid storage facilities unless absolutely necessary.   Make sure it is temporary arrangement and assign a specific timeline/deadline to clear it out.

Many of our seniors are recent empty-nesters and the “birds” are reluctant or they simply refuse to come and get their “stuff”.  We must help them to physically move their “stuff” or arrange for the pick-up and or delivery to their new homes!

I always spend a little extra time sitting and chatting with my new clients.  My primary role is to get to know the person first.   Now we’re ready to help our seniors to de-clutter, organize, throw away the old and get ready for the new … to transition into their next phase of Life!

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Candy H. Speight, Owner/Professional Organizer

Order Your Steps

We are not only organizing their stuff, but we are bringing Order to their lives…. 

“A Client’s Perspective”

In 2017, I’d like to begin a series called “My Journal, My Journey”.  My desire is to share the “Ordering Your Steps” process, from my client’s perspective.  My hope is for people to see the real value of restoring Order to our hearts, minds & homes.  So let’s begin….

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Carla.  I met Carla back in September and during our very first visit, Carla was pure, spiritual energy!  Although I was there to help her, she has inspired & encouraged me in so many ways.  Her testimony serves as another confirmation of the true purpose that the Lord Himself has ordained for me.

Here is “A Client’s Perspective”:

The initial thought of having an organizer come to my 2 bedroom apartment seemed like an absurd idea for someone (like most of us working parents may think), who “should” be able to handle/declutter on our own. However, it’s became obvious with each laundry session of mountainous loads of clothes to the constant appearance of the “Altar to the Paper Gods”, it was time for me to release my pride and give myself permission to receive help. Through this process with Candy, I found her method is simply to help create clarity with your participation in your environment and to show more possibilities of what your space can do for efficiency and organization purposes. In trusting my desire for a deep cleanse and purge of old and some new things with Candy, I find I’m no longer the proverbial “Bag Lady” and know what it feels like to pack light. My clutter stayed for as long as my judgment of it being there in the first place continued (I had to let that sink in my soul for a sec, soon as I let go, so did the clutter). Thank you Candy for reminding me to release in my timing and to see how all are interconnected in our life, home, etc. I am ever so grateful to Thema of THEWOMBSAUNA for connecting us and highly recommending you.   I will never forget this blessing of an experience!
Much Love & Appreciation, 

Carla

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Since I started Order Your Steps, it has been a journey and one that has only just begun. This journey, thus far, has truly been exciting, challenging, yet very enlightening experience.  I believe that our ministries/businesses are really a reflection of who we are and who we are to become.   A journey to show us, how are lives are meant to touch others and how their lives are meant to touch ours…. Our Steps are being Ordered!

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WISHING EVERYONE A BLESSED AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!

 

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Holidays are Coming! …. Are you Ready?

The Fall season has FALLEN32962411_s and there are less than two (2) months left in the year!  BUT DON’T PANIC!   Believe or not, you still have time to prepare, plan and minimize some of the stress that may be associated with the hustle and bustle of the Holidays.

Let’s just look at a few thought starters….

  • Start NOW! – Although it appears that you have a while yet…. you really DON’T.  Start planning now!  Get out the pencil and paper and jot down 2-3 “Must Do’s.  Maybe it’s clean the pantry, prepare the menu for Thanksgiving dinner or simply pull out the decorations to get you in the mood.
  • Establish a few LOOSE guidelines, objectives and timelines.  Remember this is NOT to make the preparation more stressful, so keep it loose, i.e. “I want to have my menu and grocery list finalized at least 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving”.  Put the date reminder on your calendar.
  • Put a few items in the plan for Christmas Prep also.  Maybe you want to get the spare rooms ready.  Change the linen, make room in the closets, if necessary or  set the guest towels aside.
  • Give the kids the sale papers!  Let them start to prepare their wish list, so that they have the incentive to go through their old toys early (old clothes too, Moms) and donate to someone less privileged.

As I say often, set aside 20 minutes per task ONLY.

  1. Identify the task
  2. Set the timer
  3. Do as much of the task as you can
  4. When the timer goes off, Stop! and go on to something else
  5. DON’T TRY TO EAT THE ELEPHANT!

Try to Pace Yourself, Starting Now!

Don’t wait or you will be caught in the Holiday Whirlwind before you know it!

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Are You Ready !

Please let us know if this helps!

Organizing the Garage

On Memorial Day, I decided to organize my garage… against my husband’s better judgment.  :-/  .  Although I was unable to really get rid of a LOT of stuff, my husband did agree to throw some of his things away, especially since for the most part, he had forgotten he had some of it???  In spite of my boundaries, I was able to establish some semblance of Order!

Please let me know what you think….

Spring brings Freshness & New Birth!

spring4Our weather here in the DMV (DC, MD, VA) has been a mixed bag since our season has changed from Winter to Spring. We went from Winter (very Cold!) to Summer (very Hot!) or as it seems.  No really from 40 degrees to 80, almost overnight! But normally when you think of Spring, it’s a period of refreshing.  The trees are blossoming, the birds are singing and there is a slight breezy chill in the air.

So what does Spring has to do with Order and Organizing?

Many of us think of Spring Cleaning during this time of year.  The house has been closed up, families have spent most of their time indoors and it is now time to open up the house and let the air in. Cleaning can be considered phase one of organizing, but cleaning and organizing are technically two different things.  In my opinion, cleaning is to remove dust and dirt, but organizing is to remove clutter and disorder.

As you begin to freshen up the house, consider phase two of the process.  Once you have cleaned all the windows, washed the window sills and scrubbed the baseboards, then it’s time to sort through the winter clothes, purge and put them away.  Move through the Spring and Summer wear, sort, give away and get ready for the New Birth! Shed off the old, and put on the new.

We are almost halfway through the 3th month of the year already.  Assess your progress as it pertains to your objectives & goals for 2016.  Do an attitude check… what is your temperature?  Are you still in the coldness of the Chaos of your past or have you given Birth to the warmth of your future? Peace and Order are so critical to our well-being.  Take a moment to see where you are, so that your Steps may be Ordered to the next level…

Your Season of Refreshing & New Birth has Sprung!!

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Organizing: Customized just for you!

Order Your Steps is coming up on our 5th anniversary in September and it continues to be a very fascinating & enlightening, yet challenging journey.  We have visited with more than 100 clients at various stages of their lives.  Most of our clients have very hectic schedules and/or “retired” with very hectic schedules.

So, as professional organizers, how do we customize the process of getting organized, just for you?  Each person is soooo VERY different.  Thus, our Challenge, to understand just how much time and money are you willing to invest?

We often know what we want, but we are not always sure what it might take to get there….

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Organizing Process Customization Requirements

1. We can’t do it without you!

In order for an organizing project to be successful, you must be TOTALLY engaged in the process and willing to make decisions quickly.  If you are really not sure if you want to give it away, keep it and move on.  

We now make sure that we take breaks periodically and drink plenty of water.

Music also helps too!

2. It’s going to take TIME !                                        “Rome was definitely not built in a day!”

In my experience, thus far, clients are willing to invest, on the average about 6 hours!

We can get A LOT done is 6 hours, however, the pace must be fast and smooth.  I must admit that my pace is a lot faster than most!  🙂  … Working through the entire organizing process; to sort, purge and organize, is not always easy, I just happen to love it!

3. We both must have Realistic Expectations!  “We can’t eat the elephant!

Oftentimes, we expect miraculous results in a day, when in actually, it took months, maybe if years to accummulate the clutter that needs to be eliminated.  We must break it down into bite-size pieces.

We will divide the project into phases and prioritize the areas that are most important to you.  For large jobs, we will usually spend the first session or two, pre-sorting into various categories, which makes the purging process a whole lot easier.

4. It’s going to take a financial investment!

Know your budget…Organizing is an investment in your physical space, spiritual well being & peace of mind. My mission, as a professional organizer, is to give you your money’s worth in my time and expertise.  45725415_s

A little testimonial

I’m currently working with a client whose project started in December. When we first met, there was a sense of mild desperation in her voice.  She was just frustration with the clutter in her home and the disorder in her life.  We initially focused on her bedroom suite and then on to her office.  We have worked together for only 8 hrs., just once a month, but she has been fully engaged in the process.  We have completed her master walk-in closet, dresser & dresser drawers, under the bed, sitting room with bookcase and bathroom!

She has a very hectic work schedule, so she has not been able to do homework assignments.  However, she has maintained her space and now her teenage children have noticed that she spends a LOT more time in her bedroom sanctuary in Peace and Serenity.  

Organizing is TOTALLY worth your time, commitment and money …. Your Heart and Determination will help to establish the Order!!

We will customize the process to meet ALL your needs, because we are confidence about how much better your life will be.  

 

Why do we HIDE our mail?

My guest blogger today is Jane Campbell.  Jane is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers.  Jane has many callings: writer, professional organizer, a representative for a cabinet organizing product, ShelfGenie and a lifelong student of psychology.  She is guided by the principle that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.  Jane loves all things that  make homes safer, more efficient and more hospitable.  She is going to help us better understand  “Why we HIDE our mail?”  

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Are you one of those folks who hide mail in a bag, until the time “when you can get to it?”

Speaking as a professional organizer who has decluttered an 11-room house whose floor was pretty much carpeted with papers, I must warn you that that can be a slippery slope.

The “paperless society” never got here. Paper–much of which still comes to us through snail mail–seems to be a law unto itself. Some Catch-22’s from that law:

1) The more you ignore what comes in the mail, the faster it can come.

For example, if you try to ignore the bills that come to you in the mail, more and more bills will only get sent.

2) The longer you wait to deal with the mail, the more useless some of that paper will become.

For example, if someone mails you a check, and you don’t cash it by the “cash by” date on the check, you may never get your money. Also, if your bank has made an error and you don’t correct it within 60 days, they don’t have to let you correct it.

3) That time “when you can get to it” is either now, or never.

The mail has a lot in common with bananas. Would you put bananas in a bag and let them sit for a month? Not if you value your sense of smell.

I have a client named John. The other day I said this to John: “Old John used to put things in a pile without a specific plan to go back through it, at a specific time. New John has better habits than that.” John agreed.

Some habits I’ve suggested to John:

“Wash and iron” the mail. Open each envelope and throw the envelope in recycling. Straighten out the pages. If there is more than one page, and you can’t put it all in recycling right away, staple all the pages together. E pluribus unum. Move on to the next envelope and repeat this process until all the mail is out of the envelopes and all the envelopes are in recycling. Put the mail into a neat stack.

At this point, you might get interrupted. If you can possibly leave the mail in a neat stack before you attend to the interruption, please do so.

Go through the stack of mail as soon as you can get back to it. One thing may leap out at you as being the most important thing to deal with right now. Deal with that thing. You may feel you can put off dealing with the whole stack right now. Maybe you can. But, 1) try to go through the whole stack before you make this judgment, and 2) come back to the stack as soon as you can, within 24 hours at the most. Keep coming back to the stack, and keep dealing with the most urgent thing. When something has been dealt with, put it somewhere else. File it, if you must. Now you can safely put it in a bag, if you must. Put it in recycling, if you possibly can.

Follow these simple procedures, and you’ll start to feel better about things in bags . .

I hope that you enjoyed and found this information helpful!

A Special Thanks to you, Jane, and we hope that you will come back and visit with us again!