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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.

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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

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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.

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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 here.

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.