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…. 

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….

“March Toward Simplicity” Challenge

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Order Your Steps, a member of Faithful Organizers, is offering the March Toward Simplicity Challenge through our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/Order Your Steps.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FAITHFUL ORGANIZERS, AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF CHRISTIAN PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZERS, TO LAUNCH IT’S 1ST ANNUAL MARCH INTO SIMPLICITY CHALLENGE!

TORRENCE, CA (February 12, 2016) – Faithful Organizers, an international group of Christian Professional Organizers, is launching their first organizing challenge to the public. March Toward Simplicity will run the entire month of March with the exception of Sundays.  Each day, participants will be challenged to complete a small organizing task to help simplify their lives. Members of the organization are encouraging their clients and affiliates to participate in the challenge as way to motivate them to address their clutter in small chunks and to maintain the systems they have in place.

 “This is a tremendous opportunity for people to be part of something big,” says Jean Furuya, Faithful Organizers executive director.  “Getting organized ranks 4th in New Year’s resolutions.  This challenge will motivate participants to do a quick, daily project to see how simple it is to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. We are addressing several different aspects of organization including time management, productivity and household clutter.   It is our hope that the feeling of success will continue beyond the challenge to where organizing becomes a daily activity.”

Plan 30 minutes for each task and set your timer!!

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You can also access the daily challenges through a link on the Faithful Organizers website: http://www.faithfulorganizers.com and om their Facebook page: Facebook.com/Faithful Organizers. 

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!

The Ramblings of a Professional Organizer ….

Garfield“I’m too busy to get organized!”  REALLY?!?!? ……That’s makes absolutely NO sense!  OK, I need to calm down… BUT, people just don’t understand that if we would take the time to get organized and put some semblance of Order into our lives, then we would have more time to enjoy what’s really important in life!

Let me explain… It is my true belief that disorder & clutter has a psychological effect on our productivity, stress level and overall state of mind.  As we enter another new year, things are hectic (as usual) and sort of out of control (again!).  Therefore, some of my clients are simply TOO BUSY for our organizing sessions and have postponed, in some cases, until the Spring …. which is kinda ok, IF we resume in Spring.  It is so frustrating for me, because I have seen their spaces and I know that if we could just get to Ordered Chaos, their lives would be so much better.

We must ask the questions, Are we just TOO busy to take a moment to breathe, Too busy to spend quality time with the ones we love or Is everyone on the run all the time?? Ultimately, life is too short and time is too precious to let it pass us by.  All I am asking is that we come out of the forest and see the trees …

For us to say that we are TOO busy to organize, is an oxymoron.  “What will it truly take to get our house in Order?”  Don’t try to eat the elephant, we can only take one small bite at a time…. the papers on the dining room table, our home office with files stacked high, the kids’ closet, the daily morning routine, family mealtime after work, or even finding quiet time (what’s that?!?!?)

Well, my moment of frustration has passed.  It means so much to me to help you to get there(?), whereever your Order is. It’s so logical to me.  I see it so clearly in my mind’s eye.  But I know that it is not an easy task.  It is extremely difficult to convey the concept of Divine Order to those that are in chaos.  But I will NOT give up!  I will continue to chip away at the clutter and disorder, one life at a time.  It is just that important to me. It is my mission, it is my calling.  So, March, April, and even May will get here soon enough….and hopefully, by then, at the very least, we will be able to see the trees!

Motivation

As some of you may know, I had an ad on Living Social during the month of February and March.  The offer was 2 hours of organizing services for $50. The response was really good, especially with regards to clicks on my website.  So what does that have to do with “motivation”???…. Well, I’m getting to that!  Two (2) hours really isn’t a lot of time to complete an organizing project, so you either want the client to buy additional hours of your services or you want them to be motivated to continue the project without you.  Both are WIN-WIN scenarios!!

There was one client in particular that was given the Living Social voucher as a gift. She had taken the time to make a list of questions for me prior to our visit and was really excited about getting started.  She has a sincere desire to de-clutter and become more organized, but again, we only had TWO hours.  We started our time together by sorting and purging through her dresser drawers.

Here is an excerpt from the email that she sent me after our visit…

Ms. Candy! 
I had a great time with you Saturday, I am so glad you came. Thank you for the motivation, I truly needed it. As for separating my work and casual clothes that are folded I think I am going to keep that as is. It’s more important that they are folded up and put away in the drawer.  There were numerous items that we decided to hang in the closet, so the closet became our 2nd area of focus.   I was drawn to the nearest Walmart to purchase those things you spoke of called “skirt hangers”. Those things you called “skirt hangers” really do exist, AND they hang up skirts perfectly! … LOL!!!   :-D.  I purchased 3 skirt hangers that hold 6 skirts each, so I have extra hangers if I purchase more skirts. 

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I’m even amazed myself on how much we were able to accomplish in 2 hours.  We didn’t have time to work on other areas of her apartment, so she did the kitchen after I left.

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I love it when a plan comes together.  My goal is truly to have the client motivated, so that they will de-clutter and organize on their own and maintain it after I leave. This client suggested that I FaceTime with her, every once and a while to check on her progress.  AWESOME IDEA!

I appreciate all your suggestions and motivation. Thank you for helping me declutter my apartment of all the clothes! Everything is on the up and up and I plan to keep it going. Have a wonderful day! 

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