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staging your home for sale red front door

Staging your home for sale

Selling your home can be an emotional and long process. Professional organiser Zoe Berry of Life / Edit shares her home staging tips in this blog post, to help make the process as stress free as possible.

Selling your house is well known to be one of life’s most stressful experiences, so anything you can do to ease the process must be a good thing. Home staging is something which is a standard part of the home selling process in some places (like north America) but here in the UK we are only just learning what a difference it can make both in terms of the speed of sale and profit you can make from your home. It’s amazing to think that buyers form an opinion in your home in around 10 seconds of walking in the door, so with that in context it’s incredibly important to make the right first impression. I recently staged a home for sale in Dundee and with a few tweaks and a keen eye, the property achieved 10% more than the pre-staging evaluation, and I only spent approx. 1% of the sale price on the changes.

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your property when you are selling:

Start with your kerb appeal

There’s no point spending ages making the inside of your house look desirable if the outside isn’t up to the same standard.  It’s important to make your home as eye-catching as possible from as soon as potential buyers first see it. So tidy up plants and lawns, give the front door a lick of paint and make sure your door furniture is looking super shiny.

Declutter and depersonalise

The most important thing you can do to showcase your home to its best standard is to declutter, as many people simply cannot see past someone else’s possessions. It is important that buyers can imagine themselves living in your house which is more difficult if your surfaces are full of your family photos and mementos. One or two carefully chosen pictures and ornaments are great – you don’t want it to look stark, of course.  Cast your eye around and check that your surfaces and floorspaces are clear.

Check your flooring

What state are your carpets in? Are they patterned and dated? Or have they worn and need to be replaced? What about your wooden floors? Do they need to be re-varnished? Remember the more jobs people mentally tot up in their heads when looking round a property, the more likely they are to be put off from making an offer.

organised entrance hallway decluttered

Is your décor up to date?

When selling your home it’s best to consider a neutral palate. That crazy feature wallpaper might be your taste, but to appeal to the widest possible cross section of people it’s best to go sophisticated. A subtle background means that people can imagine their belongings in your home more easily. Make sure that curtains and blinds are in good condition and fit properly. Long curtains can make windows feel larger and blinds can be a good option for replacing dated curtains as low cost.

Check each room one at a time

Hall

Buy a new doormat for your porch and clear all the usual shoes, coats and bikes away. A top tip for the hall is to hang a mirror on the wall to bounce light around.

Sitting room

Really look at your furniture placement. Yes, that might be where you have always had that chair but could it be repositioned to show the room off more? Make sure your sofas are in good condition and brighten them up with some new cushions. Clear magazines and books off shelves and from under coffee table and put back only what looks good: a few mags on the table and some carefully chosen pieces on the shelves.

APDO - staging your home for sale decluttering organising kitchen

Dining Room

Consider how your dining table looks with no one seated at it. A runner and a bowl of fruit or some flowers make it look inviting. Make sure you show the room size off as much as possible. If this means playing about with the positioning of furniture then do!

Bathrooms

When decluttering and depersonalising, all the same rules apply to your bathroom as elsewhere in your home . For a bathroom it’s also key to clear away any ‘functional’ items such as cleaning products, toilet brushes, weighing scales and toothpaste and toothbrushes. Update even a tired looking bathroom with fresh new towels, well-chosen toiletries and fix anything that needs updating such as grout/sealant etc. This way you show the buyer the potential of your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Bedrooms

Make sure you bed is in the right position to show buyers the proportions of your bedroom. Declutter and stage the room channelling  ‘nice hotel room’ i.e. make sure the bedding is clean, ironed and the bed made well. Make sure your bedside tables and dressing tables are clear, with just a few photos and carefully chosen possessions on show which compliment the décor.

Kids’ stuff

Children’s toys should be sifted through and, although you can’t disappear all of them, a large amount should be put away for when buyers are viewing.

APDO staging your home for sale organising decluttering playroom

Appeal to all the senses

Make sure you home is warm enough, clean and as bright and cheerful as you can make it. If it’s a dull day and your house is dark, make sure you have replaced lightbulbs. If you have a pet you need to eliminate any associated odours by washing upholstery, cleaning carpets and using air fresheners and giving the house a good airing.

And finally

You are trying to make your home seem uncluttered, have plenty of storage but also loved and lived in. It’s a fine balance and it’s a difficult one to achieve when it is your own home – which is why you might consider employing a professional organiser who specialises in home staging. It will be totally worth it when your house sale goes through. Happy selling!

If Zoe’s post has inspired you to stage your home for sale you can find more information about your local professional organiser here.

organised travel holiday organising seashell APDO

How to make the most of your holiday

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining and our thoughts will soon be turning to summer holidays. Tilo Flache, The ClutterMeister, shares his thoughts on getting the most out of your travels… and being organised, of course!

Travelling is all about experiencing things differently

Living life quietly in your home is a lovely state of affairs, but there is a danger of getting stuck in routines. This is not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but getting into the habit of always having things your way can prevent you from moving forward and applying changes when it becomes obvious that your way no longer works to your best advantage.

This holds true as much for your physical environment at home or at work, as it does for your mental agility. Doing the same thing, the same way, at the same time gets engrained into your being and occasionally needs shaking up to see things from another angle. That’s what a vacation is for!

Being exposed to new influences, be they different ways of living, meeting different people, staying in a different space for a while, will ideally show you things and spawn ideas that you never knew you had in you. It may take a moment to unchain your mind from your daily routine, but it is worth it.

One good way to ensure that you make the most of your trip is to disconnect your mind from home BEFORE you even leave. It is a good idea to leave as much of your regular life behind as you can: after all, you are on a vacation! That not only means that you want to take a day or two to transition from a busy work life to a more relaxed state of being before you leave, but also to separate the necessary from the normal and pack your bags accordingly.

APDO blog - organised travel

It’s not so much what you take with you, but what you pick up on the way

What does that mean? For one thing, don’t start from the assumption that you will need the same things on your trip that you would have at arm’s length when you are at home. Make room in your mind to quickly adapt to the circumstances you find at your destination, or during your journey.

Part of that process is to define what you expect from your holiday: is it interaction with others, peace and quiet, exposure to culture, a fortnight of partying? This knowledge will impact what you really need to pack. Of course, you’ll need to pack the basics, but does it really matter if you have a coordinated wardrobe for a beach holiday? Is it important to have a pretty shirt to wear just in case you enter a high-class establishment while hiking through the backwater jungles of Ecuador?

Give yourself the freedom to be different from the person you are at home and don’t get too upset over the thought that you might have wanted another piece of clothing you left at home. Work with what you have, and if all fails, add something local to your wardrobe; a small accessory may just make all the difference. Any such thing can even serve as a practical souvenir in the long run (hint!).

Similar consideration should be given to anything else you take with you besides your clothes: is it really necessary to take all those electronic devices? How many books are you really likely to read? How many toys does your child really need on the road? How much stuff can you leave behind rather than take just in case it might turn out to be useful? Make your choices before you leave and do not leave them for later.

Taking less luggage with you and adjusting your mind to stick with ‘what I’ve got’ rather than ‘what I want/need’ is ultimately the most wonderful start of a holiday. It’s an instant switch from daily routine to the exceptional state of holiday spirit. You’ll be more prepared to experience properly what’s going on around you, to relax and to enjoy your time away from it all. You’ll also be more receptive to noticing things around you and considering incorporating them into your life, perhaps bringing a positive change to your daily routine.

organised travel beach holiday organising APDO

Post-travel check-in with yourself

Many of us pack for all eventualities, and return with a suitcase half full of unused clothes, while at the same time having worn the hell out of that one pair of shorts because they were comfy. What does that tell you? You didn’t pack for the occasion after all!

It may feel strange, and you may not think you want to do this, but maybe you can spend 10 minutes looking at the items in your luggage after you return. That could simply take the form of you laying out all the items in your luggage to two sides: ‘used’ and ‘unused’, and taking a picture of the arrangement for future reference and as a reminder of where you may have gone wrong. Take note of what you used and what you didn’t. Maybe even ask yourself why you didn’t.

If anything, packing for a holiday is an exercise in avoiding any thought of ‘just in case’: ‘Maybe I’ll need this’ is the worst advisor for holiday packing, and even worse a notion for keeping things in your home. Learning how to overcome this urge on a vacation might just be the highway to happiness when it comes to stop cluttering up your attic, your garage, your cupboards…

Returning home also gives you a fresh perspective on what you have got used to, and you may end up wanting to make some changes to your home. By all means: go ahead!

If Tilo’s post has inspired you to get organised before your holidays, you can find your local professional organiser here.

 

San Francisco 18th International Conference on Hoarding and Cluttering

Studying in San Francisco: The 18th International Conference on Hoarding & Cluttering

Cherry Rudge (Rainbow Red), Jo Cooke (Hoarding Disorders UK CIC) and Heather Matuozzo (Clouds End CIC) are knowledgeable declutterers. Between them, they have over 20 years’ experience of working with people with extreme cluttering and hoarding problems. They regularly deliver training, coaching and advice to a variety of organisations including housing associations, mental health teams, charities, fire services and social care teams and recently flew transatlantic to further their own professional development and bring their learning back to the UK.

APDO members attend MHASF’s Institute for Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering Conference 2018

For the three of us, the idea of being able to talk about clutter, hoarding and “stuff” for an entire week was heaven.  Forget about drugs, sex and rock and roll – clutter was the buzz word and we used every opportunity to tell folks what we do and why we were visiting California.

Clinical studies of hoarding disorders began to be published in the USA about 20 years ago, so it was with great excitement that the three of us set out from Heathrow Airport (in the snow) on Monday 19th March 2018 to attend the 18th annual Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF) conference on Cluttering and Hoarding – Thinking Outside the Boxes: Innovation in Action.

MHASF is comprised of a diverse team of peers, supporters, advocates, family members, and providers dedicated to taking the peer and recovery to the next level.

The conference was held at the University of California, Berkeley, and was attended by over 100 people from across the USA and Canada, including clinicians, peer group members, social workers, people with hoarding behaviours, housing officials and professional organisers – all as passionate and as keen to expand our knowledge of the subject as we are!

Training day

Wednesday’s fascinating training day was by Dr Michael A. Tompkins (author of “Digging Out” and “The Clinician’s Guide to Severe Hoarding – A Harm Reduction Approach”), and covered the basics of two major topics important to anyone working directly with clients dealing with hoarding challenges: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement.

Interestingly, Dr Tompkins believes that (a) change is a state, not a trait, and (b) it is depression that underlies hoarding behaviours, with loss triggers being secondary to that.

hoarding conference organise declutter

Heather Matuozzo, Dr Michael A. Tompkins (author of “Digging Out”), Cherry Rudge and Jo Cooke,,

Day One

Day one of the conference opened with a wonderful keynote address – “DisordR, The Play”, a solo show brilliantly written and performed by Hilary Kacser, an actor who had travelled from Washington DC. It was very clever to start the discussions using visual creative art-based interpretation, devised by a person with lived experience, who also works in the theatre.

The play introduced us to self-confessed hoarder Pakrat Patty, and used humour to illuminate mental health, and the interactions with people who she met during her journey to recovery.

There followed several breakout sessions which divided the attendees into four groups:

  1. Public Health
  2. Housing
  3. Stigma
  4. Prevention

Over the two days, the aim of each of these workshops was to find three key areas of concern and then spend two further sessions seeking potential solutions for those concerns.

There were various options for the afternoon sessions on Day One:

  1. Resilience and Overcoming Hoarding, by Satwant Singh (Nurse Consultant in CBT and Mental Health, and a Clinical Lead for a primary care psychological service in London).
  2. Building peer supports on the stages of change continuum – David Bain + peers from MHASF.
  3. Listening and learning from participants in the Help for Hoarding Treatment study – Monka Eckfield (Qualitative PCORI Study, San Francisco). Peer-facilitated support groups used the “Buried in Treasures” work-book over 16 weeks, and therapist-lead CBT groups, which included home visits over the same amount of time.

In the afternoon, we attended the Experience Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) for Hoarding session, presented by Chia-Ying Chou (MHA Therapy Group, San Francisco).  She explored what compassion is – i.e. a sensitivity to suffering and a willingness to try and alleviate it or prevent it – and looked at wisdom, strength, commitment and warmth and the need to use self-compassion.

Meanwhile, the selective sessions we sadly missed were:

  1. It takes a village – Nancy Trout, Prairie View, Winston, Kansas. Discussed how she created a multi-agency taskforce, drawing on every aspect of village life.
  2. Journal writing – the techniques, the purpose the benefits – David Bain – how to keep a hoarding action journal
  3. Legal aspects of hoarding – Kellie Morgantini (Legal Services for Seniors, Monterey, CA)

The evening’s social event gave us the perfect opportunity to network and develop strong relationships with delegates from across the US and Canada.  They were most impressed when we explained how the UK’s annual Hoarding Awareness Campaign has helped increase understanding of hoarding behaviours and reduce the stigma associated with them.

18th International Conference on Hoarding and Cluttering

Day Two

Day two started with all three of us attending a breakout session by Donald Davioff and Kay Jewels (McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, MA) – “A Neurocognitive Approach to Hoarding Disorder”.

After an insightful video about the MHASF, the final key-note speech on the final day was “New Developments in Hoarding Research: a novel approach using virtual reality” by Hanna McCabe-Bennett from Ryerson University, Toronto.

Through a series of room images, two groups (individuals with hoarding behaviours and then another group without hoarding behaviours) were tested for their levels of discomfort, versus the levels of items in the room.   In another experiment people were invited to choose as many items as they liked from a virtual reality thrift store (charity shop).  These were then restricted to how many can be fitted into a trolley and then how many of those items could they fit into a bag.

They then changed the mood of the people by reading a script to induce anthropomorphism which, it was found, increased the difficulty for the hoarders in discarding even virtual items.

After a couple of days sightseeing, we returned from San Francisco more inspired than ever, and fired up for UK Hoarding Awareness Week (14th – 18th May 2018) and the National Hoarding Conference on 14th May.  Later in the year we are also looking forward to the International Hoarding, Health & Housing Conference in Edinburgh on 4th October, organised by Life Pod CIC. Hope to see you there, or maybe at the MHASF conference next year!

If you need advice on hoarding or want to find out more about APDO, please visit the APDO website for further information or to find your nearest professional organiser.

house decluttering service

Clear Your Clutter Day: How to reduce the single-use items in your home

MoneyMagpie’s Clear Your Clutter Campaign is a year-round push to get us all to declutter on every level, to make a positive change, gain freedom and reduce stress in our lives. Friday 13th April is National Clear Your Clutter Day 2018, and to mark the occasion, the team at MoneyMagpie are sharing this post about cutting down on single-use plastic in our lives.

How to reduce the single-use items in your home

Cutting down costs often starts with cutting down waste. Many households are filled to the brim with items designed for one-off use. Replacing these single-use items with reusable solutions will save you time, money and is a great way of contributing to the protection of the environment. There aren’t many opportunities to save the planet and save money at the same time, so get involved! Read on to find out the top wasteful items and how to replace them.

Plastic bags

This one is truly a “no-brainer,” especially since supermarkets introduced the 5p carrier bag charge. Depending on how many shops you do, the costs quickly stack up and over a year you could be looking to spend close to £10 on something which destroys the environment and has little benefits for you after its one-off use. Replace plastic carrier bags with a sustainable fabric carrier bag. Usually you can buy these in the supermarkets themselves or get one online. The other advantage to these bags is that they aren’t as flimsy as plastic, so you can fill them to the brim without having to worry that they’ll tear.

Caption Mock up Blank Cotton Tote Bag on Brick wall Background Hipster lifestyle Alt Text

Plastic water bottles

Here are some not-so-fun facts. Only 1 in 5 plastic water bottles is recycled. Plastic water bottles can take between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose. Over twice as much water is used to produce a plastic water bottle than is contained within the water bottle when it is sold. Plus they sap away money unnecessarily, considering the UK is a country where tap water is safe to drink and has more stringent safety checks placed on it than bottled water!

Get yourself a reusable water bottle, which will save you a heap in the long run, stop the endless influx of water bottles lying around the house, and can be a quirky way to express yourself. Speaking of water, here are 12 ways to save on water bills.

Takeaway coffee cups

MPs have recently called for a “latte levy” of 25p to be placed on disposable coffee cups. Brits drink 70 million cups of coffee per day, and a lot of those 70 million cups are single-use paper ones. It’s a huge waste, and they’re not even very handy. It’s easy to burn your hands or spill your drink. Plus, you’ll save money by using a reusable cup::

  • Pret gives customers 50p off hot drinks if they bring a reusable cup
  • Starbucks will give you 25p off
  • Costa will give you 25p off
  • Paul will give you 25p off
  • Greggs will give you 20p off

Want to find out how much you’re spending on coffee, click here.

Plastic straws

Next time you’re at your favourite bar or restaurant, bring your own metal straw! It may seem a little silly at first, but it’s an easy way to reduce the amount of waste you are responsible for, plus it makes any drink look better. You can get them from most high street kitchenware shops, or online. It’s a cheap way to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Disposable razors

This is one which can earn you huge savings over the years. A bag of disposable razors can set you back up to £10. Ladies, you can pick up a solid wet and dry shaver for under £15. Gents, you can get a top quality electrical razor for under £50. Not only will you save big by cutting out disposable razors, you’ll also have a far more efficient and quick shave! Look good and do good at the same time.

reusable shopping bag clear your clutter day

Food packaging

So much fruit and veg comes pre-packaged by nature – it doesn’t need to be wrapped in plastic. Andy Clarke, the former boss of Asda, has called on supermarkets to stop using plastic packaging, saying most of it won’t ever make it to a recycling site. Even if supermarkets continue to use plastic to wrap almost everything, you can do your bit by trying to buy plastic-free. Apples don’t need to be sold in a plastic bag, nor does broccoli. If you can’t find these items unwrapped, try shopping at your local market instead. You’ll be supporting your local community and doing your bit for the environment.

If this post has inspired you to start decluttering for Clear Your Clutter Day, you can find out more about the campaign here, or find your local professional organiser on the APDO Find An Organiser page

APDO conference 2018 professional organisers

APDO Conference 2018: A review

It’s been an exciting four weeks for APDO Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers. Not only was there the creation of Spring Clearing Week between 24-30 March (a brand new public awareness week focused on decluttering and streamlining home and life), but that came hot on the heels of the APDO annual conference, held on 15 & 16 March.

The conference was a sell-out and was wholeheartedly enjoyed by the attendees, who included national and international APDO members and professionals from international associations. There was a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers, lively workshops on diverse topics, a Q&A session with experienced professional organisers, networking opportunities and fun socials. In a nutshell, this was two days of learning and sharing with a vibrant community of organising experts, who have endless passion for their jobs.

Kate Galbally (Better Organised) provides this blog based on what she took away from the event and it sums up the ‘feel good factor’ of the event.

Your message needs to be bigger than your fear!

The headline above was the rallying call from visibility strategist Ruby McGuire (Rock Your Fabulous Biz) on day one of the annual conference for the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers in London. What followed was motivation and inspiration with keynote speeches, plenary sessions and workshops delivered by industry-leaders from across the globe.

Perhaps you’re wondering what professional organisers found to talk about for two days? Or maybe you’re thinking about starting up your own decluttering business but haven’t yet taken the leap. I’ve rounded up some of the main takeaways from the event.

The culture of positivity

On arrival at the venue, Resource for London, it was immediately apparent that the people that I’d only ever interacted with online were just as friendly, welcoming and supportive in person. The inclusive and collaborative nature of the members shone through and the place was soon buzzing with introductions and conversations. There is definitely a collective drive and enthusiasm to learn more about how we can enhance the offerings to clients, whilst developing professionally and nurturing our businesses. The positivity was infectious!

How the industry is growing

APDO was formed in 2004 and now has 281 accredited members, but the statistic that really stood out was that the membership has grown by a third in the last year alone. It is so exciting to be part of such a rapidly growing industry – it is particularly reassuring to be sharing the journey with a thriving community of such professional and supportive business owners.

APDO Conference 2018 professional organisers

The breadth and depth of professional skills and services available to clients

Life coaching, counselling, interior design, social work, housing, law, PAs – one theme that struck me was that the organisers I spoke to all seem to have spent their working lives in roles that have primarily been about supporting other people. Now they use their expertise to help clients on a practical and emotional level by assisting them to get better organised.

From empathetic and long-term assistance for people with ADHD or hoarding tendencies, to hands-on help for people who are clearing out a loved one’s belongings after a bereavement, the ways in which organisers help their clients are many and varied. It was so fascinating to hear others’ stories of what has led them into this field of work.

How perfectly the content was tailored to the audience

Leslie Josel (Order Out of Chaos) delivered a powerful keynote speech about demystifying executive functions and ADHD. One key point she made was that understanding how your clients think is the only way to instill change. Well, the voluntary board at APDO had clearly understood the way their members think, as they had identified topics that are at the forefront of their members’ minds. We were spoiled for choice when it came to workshops, with topics including how to film and edit compelling footage on smartphones, the development of business workshops and webinars, supercharging social media content, readiness for GDPR and how to declutter your business ideas to avoid burnout.

What I’ll do next

I’ve already done it! I’ve cleared my diary to make sure that I will be attending next year’s conference.

APDO conference 2019

I love being part of this industry and seeing the growth that my business has achieved already. Working alongside my clients is satisfying and rewarding and as Cassie Tillett (Working Order) the founder of APDO has said, ‘When you know you’ve made a positive difference in someone else’s life, there’s no other feeling like it!’

 

If you’re not an APDO member but are interested in being part of the community, you can find out more here. Also keep an eye on the events page for upcoming campaigns.

begin mug with tea

You’re ready to declutter. So where do you start?

Guest blog author Jules Langford runs Cluttered to Cleared specialising  in virtual decluttering and offers the “30 Days to a New Clutter-Free You”, a unique combination of an online e-course with 1-2-1 skype and email support.  She can work with clients all over the UK.

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You know you need to declutter…

You’ve set some time aside

You’ve even stocked up on bin bags!

Now you just need to decide where to start.

So how about starting in…

  • The bedroom. After all, you’re fed up of the place being used as a dumping ground, and it would be much easier to get a good night’s sleep in a calm and clutter-free room.
  • On second thoughts, wouldn’t it be better to start in a room guests see, like the sitting room? And think of those relaxing evenings after dinner with your feet up, once it’s cleared.  Lovely!  But until…
  • The kitchen is sorted out, there won’t be any relaxing evenings anyway. Making dinner in such a cluttered environment takes far too long.  So maybe that would be the best place to start.  And you can get that healthy eating regime under way…
  • Then again, if you cleared the basement, think of all that useful storage you would gain. After all, the stuff from upstairs has got to go someone where…

By this time, you probably feel totally worn out.  And all without having decluttered so much an unpaired sock. But never mind, there’s always next week…

So where SHOULD you start?

The bottom line is it doesn’t matter so much where you start – just that you do.  See looking for that perfect starting point for what it is – a form of procrastination. Otherwise, you will be going round and round like a hamster on a wheel forever and a day.

Still craving a starting point? Consider the options below:

  • The room that’s bothering you most. What room is causing you the most hassle day-to-day?  The stress caused by a cluttered, chaotic room can’t be underestimated.  You don’t have to be in it, you’ve only to think about and it drags you down. Just think how great it would be to get that cleared, a real weight off your shoulders.
  • The room you would enjoy most if it was clutter free. Maybe your yen is for a bathroom that is more spa than swamp.  Or a bedroom that is more a sweet dream than nightmare.  Don’t let clutter stand between you and your bliss.  Your home is to be enjoyed, not endured.
  • One small area – build your confidence. If a whole room is too daunting – downsize your decluttering!   Be it clearing off the dining room table, the kitchen junk drawer, or maybe the overflowing coat hooks on the hall, this is the little difference that makes a lot of difference. And one thing always leads to another…

So make a decision –  and then make a start.  Because the sooner you, the sooner the clutter will be cleared.

If you need help to clear a path through the overwhelm, an APDO member in your local area would love to help. Search here.

Photo of man looking at pile of coins on table

Clear Your Clutter For A Tidy Profit

On Saturday 11 March, Jasmine Birtles, founder of self help money site Money Magpie is running the second ever UK National Clear Your Clutter Day. She will be encouraging people all over the UK to declutter their homes – and their lives – to gain freedom, space and a useful pile of cash! In this guest blog, she shares some of her tips for making money out of the junk that households don’t need anymore.

clear your clutter day
APDO members probably know better than most just how much junk the average home has.Of course, professional organisers are not generally expected to sell their clients’ goods, but it’s worth being aware of what some items could be worth if they were sold.

Happily there are now a few more outlets that will help to sell items quicker than you might expect, so with some of the junk at least, your client can get it out of the door and make some money all in one go.

Here are a few ideas for making money from the different types of junk that clients have finally decided to throw out:

DVDs, CDs and more?

Now is the time to make money by selling these as the market for them will only decrease with time as more and more people download them or subscribe to streaming services like Netflix.

If your client has shelves full of lovely old programmes, films and concerts they could be making instant cash from them through sites like Zapper and Ziffit If they have a lot of items the company will generally arrange to collect them for free. If there are just a few books and CDs they can send them for free.

It’s quick to upload the details and you get an instant quote for everything and either a payment through PayPal or a cheque in the post in a few days time.

Vintage and antique items

Here’s where your clients could potentially make some sensible money. Even if the family heirlooms were bought on the pier at Blackpool back in the day, your client could be pleasantly surprised at how much they might get now.

Collectibles often sell well on eBay. Find out how much you might get by putting the name or description of your collectible into the search bar and then clicking on ‘sold’ on the left-hand sidebar. You will see how much similar items went for. You’re often best uploading things on a ‘Buy It Now’ basis rather than auction in order to get the best price.

For more valuable items try the local auction house. Most of them have on-site specialists who can advise on a myriad of collectibles and minor antiques and will usually provide you with free verbal valuations.

If your client thinks they have something really valuable, email or send a picture and description of it to Sotheby’s, Christies or Bonhams in London. They will come back to them with a valuation.

Sometimes, a few items aren’t worth selling on their own at an auction house but they could be sold in one lot. Ask the auctioneers if this would be an option

Get rid of old gadgets

You’d be surprised at how much you can get for some gadgets, even if they’re ‘ancient’ technology or broken. There’s a growing market for gadgets of all sorts as you can see in this article.

It can be worth getting the client to search around on eBay for how much broken versions of their old gadgets are selling for and then either uploading them individually or selling them as a job lot on the site.

Mobiles
Your client can make money by recycling their old mobile phones. Even battered, ancient ones can be recycled for parts. You can make up to £200 for good ones, particularly iPhones. Try the mobile phone recycling tool here on MoneyMagpie.com [http://www.moneymagpie.com/make-money/make-money-recycle-mobile-cash] to find the best deal.

Printer cartridges
A few companies will pay for old printer cartridges. Cash for Cartridges for example will pay you £4.50 per item.

Odd electronic bits
Sometimes people sell a bundle of wires, adapters, odd bits of electronics that nobody recognises which are bought by enthusiasts or engineers who need the parts. Put them in a box and upload a picture with a description of the contents to eBay.co.uk and see what you get. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Selling alternatives

eBay is a wonderful resource for people needing to de-junk, but a few other sites are worth considering too.

 Facebook Groups
The best thing about Facebook Groups where you can sell items is that they are free. They’re local so you’re generally selling to people who are not too far away and that makes them handy for large items like furniture. But people are selling anything and everything on them, so it’s worth seeing what is available in your clients’ areas.

Gumtree
Again, Gumtree is local and, often, free. You have to be aware of the fraudsters that lurk there – rather like Craigslist in America – but as it has been going for so long, there are still a lot of people who look there first for certain items like cars and furniture.

Let everyone know about Clear Your Clutter Day where you can see some APDO members talking about how to declutter, how to organise and how to do it all on the cheap! If you need a helping hand to motivate you through feelings of overwhelm or provide a structured plan, find a local professional organiser.

 

Beautiful bouquet of daffodil in a living room. 3d rendering

Clear The Clutter For Spring

spring cleaning week
APDO Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers joins forces with National Spring Cleaning Week for the first time this March.

We recognise this is the perfect opportunity to declutter, clean and organise your spaces in order to create a more functional and uplifting environment.

Katherine Blackler (SortMySpace and APDO head of partnership liaison) explains “We are excited to partner up with Relations Group, the PR company behind National Spring Cleaning Week because we feel there are a lot of synergies with APDO’s work. Springtime has always been a key focus for the public to review and improve their spaces. As the days gradually lengthen and we emerge from those feelings of hibernation, we often look for fresh starts. People like to change the spaces around us to align with that drive for new beginnings. By teaming up with National Spring Cleaning Week it’s a great opportunity for APDO to showcase our members’ expertise when it comes to clearing as well as cleaning and how to get the best long-term results from your spring cleaning efforts.”

Cleaning conept - hand cleaning with cleaning brush. Isolated on white background

So what is spring cleaning and how does our APDO president Ingrid Jansen (Organise Your House) recommend we approach this annual phenomenon?

I remember when I was young, my mum would spring clean our home and my sister and I would be enlisted to help with this activity. She would clean on a regular basis, but she dedicated one week of her holidays each spring to turn our house upside down and we would do all the annual jobs.  The tradition of spring cleaning originated from homes of yesteryear having wood stoves or coal to heat them. When the heating was no longer needed come springtime it was the perfect time to get the soot and dirt out of the house and start opening windows again. Even though we had central heating my mum would honour the tradition of spring cleaning and many of us still continue to.

Now I believe there is a difference between cleaning, spring cleaning, decluttering and organising.

CLEANING

Cleaning are those daily, weekly and even monthly tasks that need to be done all the time. Daily task include doing the dishes, emptying the bins, washing laundry, etc. Weekly tasks include vacuuming and mopping the floors, cleaning the bathroom and toilet, dusting the furniture, doing a grocery shop and meal plan. Monthly tasks could be dusting the skirting boards, washing the car, sweeping the patio, cleaning the picture frames, etc.

SPRING CLEANING

In my opinion spring cleaning is when you thoroughly clean your house from top to bottom, starting on the top floor and working your way down. This is also the most efficient way to clean a room too; start with the ceiling and finish with the floor to make sure all the dirt is collecting as you go. Annual tasks might include using a ceiling mop for cobwebs, cleaning the light fittings, washing the nets and curtains, washing pillow and mattress protectors and vacuuming the mattress and getting the dust out of books. Tip: open the book in half and slam it shut again with reasonable force to shift the dust (ideally next to an open window!). Clean chair legs and vacuum the seat, wipe the bedframe, empty wardrobes and chest of drawers and move them aside to clean behind. Clean inside the drawers and wash the windows inside and out. Last but not least clean the floor (especially under the bed and other places often overlooked the rest of the year).

In the kitchen, empty all the kitchen cupboards to give them a wipe over. In the living room, move the sofa away from the wall and take out the cushions to vacuum the sofa. Clean behind the television which is a magnet for dust, and clean any table and chair legs. Again work from ceiling to floor and don’t forget your curtains and lights.

DECLUTTERING & ORGANISING

Now during spring cleaning you will end up emptying cupboards, wardrobes and chests of drawers to clean inside and behind them. If you can spare the time at this stage, it’s a sound chance to declutter (taking items you no longer want out of circulation) and to organise (putting items back in an orderly, logical way) during your spring clean. Check sell-by dates on food items and decide if you need to put quite all of the 15 black t-shirts you no longer wear back into the drawer. This process undoubtedly does take longer so you may decide to declutter and organise on another occasion.

However you decide to do it, spring cleaning is a great way to clear the cobwebs in both your house and your head to feel more organised! If you need help decluttering and organising while spring cleaning why not get an APDO professional organiser in to help you?  Check our Find An Organiser page for someone near you.

Welcome to Simplicity concept on road billboard

From Harvey Nichols to Diggory Lifestyle

Dee Hope runs Diggory Lifestyle covering Warwickshire, Cotswolds, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. Her aim is to help clients to ‘dee-clutter’ for a simpler life. In this guest blog she shares her story; how she found her true calling by going on her own journey – and how this gave her true insight into to how to help her clients.

Dee Diggory

I am a declutterer. I help people release the things in their life that are not important, and then help them create more space for the things that really matter.

My chosen career path emerged from the experiences I have had in life, and looking back, it is quite clear to me, that helping others is the most rewarding and fulfilling way to spend my days.

I was lucky to learn very early on in life that “things” will not make you happy, it was a very expensive lesson to learn, but I do consider it my most valued learning. I was 23 living in London as a professional nanny, I wasn’t very happy, I was new to the city and I felt quite isolated. I had just sold my flat and had several thousand pounds sitting in my bank account; so, what did I do? I went shopping. I walked up and down High Street,Kensington on my days off for months buying whatever grabbed my attention, skirts, tops, dresses, shoes, boots, sometimes two of the same item, until eventually, the money was all gone….

I remember standing in my room just looking at the stuff I’d bought, piles of it, most of which was still in bags and boxes, with tickets on, I’d never even opened them. I had felt the rush of the purchase, it had made me feel good, happy, but it was only fleeting.

It wasn’t real.

There was nowhere to hide, the money was gone, all I was left with was an empty feeling; and as I stood there silently looking at all the bags, I allowed myself to admit the truth, I was still unhappy and all these “things” had not helped.

So, I resolved to make some changes…

I gave notice to my employer and I sold all the ‘stuff’ that I had bought to friends at a fraction of the cost I paid for them. It was surprisingly easy to ‘let them go’, which was strange because at the time I bought them, I felt ‘I had to have them’. With the money I made, I just had enough to buy a ticket to Australia. I traveled for a year as a backpacker, I did all kinds of jobs, from crewing on a yacht, to picking capsicums on a farm to working on a horse ranch. I had no money, certainly no things, but…I was happy. I met some weird and wonderful people and had some amazing experiences.

As I reflect back now and think about when I have been happiest, it is in fact a series of moments, involving people, my beloved dogs and sharing experiences, “never things”.

These days I try to help people recover some of the freedom that I felt after making such bold changes. Less radical perhaps, but by reducing and organising possessions it is very possible to create space for life rather than “things”.

I have had many jobs, from nanny (expert with small children) to Executive Assistant (expert with big children) and use my skills and experiences to help my clients big and small put the important things back into their lives. Not only organising and prioritising their world, but also sharing techniques and tools, systems and insights, motivation and methods to maintain the process long after I’ve gone.

As I have said, this is the most rewarding work I have ever done.

One of my very first clients was a young mum suffering with post-natal depression. She asked for my help, her self-esteem was so low, she didn’t trust herself to know when to turn the dishwasher on. She told me I was her last chance, if I failed, she believed she may not have a future with her husband and baby. I am delighted to say I did not fail, she sent me a lovely card in which she wrote:

“Dee, thanks so much for the support, help and problem solving. Just having a listening ear was enough to help me move forward, let alone the decluttering and pro-activeness that followed! My confidence has soared and I’m finally being the organised mum I’ve always wanted to be!”

As if I ever needed reminding, this letter always tells me where happiness lies…and it is not in Harvey Nichols or Peter Jones.

Diggory Lifestyle has many services. Each tailored to match different moments in your life and adapted to your unique circumstances and budget.

Perhaps this guest blog has inspired you to consider professional organising as a career change! If so, find out more about training and joining APDO. If you feel you could benefit from the services APDO members like Dee have to offer, find a local organiser here.

clutterfree room

Top Tips To Stay Clutter-free After A Good Clear Out

 

Charlotte Jones is a Professional Organiser based in Woking, Surrey and Founder of Everything in its Place. Here she shares her tips on what must be the most vital decluttering stage of all – maintenance! If you could use some professional help (at any stage) find an accredited organiser near you

So, you’ve done the hard work. You’ve cleared out the vast majority of your clutter and your home is now beautifully organised. However, this is an ongoing process and keeping your home looking and feeling the way that you want it will require effort. 

Clutter builds up inevitably, clothes need putting away, the dishwasher needs emptying and the kids need telling five times every day to hang up their school bags! But keep at it because a tidy environment really does lead to a clear mind and a generally more positive outlook on life.

By spending just a few minutes each day doing these chores and being strict with yourself when it comes to leaving clutter lying around you will free up more time to spend doing the things that you really love and enjoying your new surroundings.

Top Tips: 

1. Reset to zero each night: Put everything back where it is supposed to be. This means that you will wake up refreshed the following morning ready to tackle the days challenges without having to deal with any left over from yesterday. It will also probably mean that you got a much better nights sleep, content with the feeling that everything was done and put back where it should be.

2. Deal with mail as soon as it enters the house: Can it be recycled or filed straight away? If you need to do something with it, file it in your dedicated ‘to do’ file and make sure that this gets emptied at least once a month.

3. Have dedicated areas which must stay clean, clear and clutter free: For example, the kitchen worktops, don’t allow paperwork to pile up here or items which belong elsewhere, ensuring that this area stays clear means that you will notice if any clutter does start to build up and can easily rectify the problem.

4. Have a good clear out of the kids toys, games and clothes before a birthday or christmas: This way, you can get rid of any unused items or things that the children have outgrown ready for the new load to enter the house.

5. Take photos to remind you of sentimental items: Still struggling to let go of those last few items that you know you don’t need but have some sort of emotional attachment to? Try taking a photograph of these objects and then letting the real thing go.

6. Buy Less: No recreational shopping, only go into a shop if you need something. Try it for a month and see if you notice a difference in the amount of things entering your home.

7. Have a donate box at the front door: anyone in the house can add to this box and then it can be taken to the charity shop each time it gets full.