It's easy to get overwhelmed by clutter. The piles of papers on your desk, the items that've been hiding under the bed for months—all of that stuff can start to feel like a weight on your shoulders. It might even seem impossible to clear it all away, but we promise you, it isn't! We've helped many clients declutter their homes and simplify their lives over the years, and we've discovered a few tricks along the way that make this process much easier than you think!
How to Decide What to Keep and What to Toss.
When deciding what to keep and what to toss, we encourage our clients to consider their needs. What do you need the item for? Do you use it now, or at least once a year, for a specific task, or are you keeping it “just in case”? For just-in-case items, if you do end up needing them in the future, is there another way to get the item (like borrowing from a friend or purchasing a new one)?
If it’s something you can easily replace for under $20, if you need it in the future, then worst case is you’ll spend under $20 to replace it, and you can donate it. The space and mental clutter you clear now by letting go of all those “just in case” items makes the risk of needing to buy one thing again in the future seem not so bad.
If you're having trouble determining whether an item has sentimental value, ask yourself: If I didn't have this [item], would I miss it? Do I remember where I bought/gave/received [it]? If it’s not something you remembered you had or even care about seeing on a daily basis, it’s not something worth holding onto. We encourage many clients to take a photo of the item, so they can remember it, then let it move on to another owner!
Say Goodbye to Things You Don't Need.
Decide what you want to keep, and what you want to throw away. Once something is in the toss/donate pile, do not pull it back out. Make your final decision and be done with it. We take donations away for clients each session. That way, the decision is made and you don't have the urge to second guess things (or drive around with donations in your car for months).
You may be tempted to try selling items that seem valuable, but if you don’t already have a plan in place to sell those items, chances are they will sit around for a while. Even the best of intentions can get pushed to the side due to overwhelm.
If your stuff isn't worth much in monetary value (it can help to set an amount, say $50 or more per item that you can realistically sell it for), consider recycling or donating it. If it’s totally unusable or not worth repairing, toss it. You’ll instantly feel lighter!
Setting Up Organizing Systems.
Creating functional systems is what it's all about at Hello Simplified. We want your home to work for your individual needs. We give every item a home, so it's not only easy to find items, but it's also easy to put things back where they belong.
Using labeled containers makes daily life simple. You’ll know where everything goes, and if an item doesn’t have a home, this can be an indicator that either you already have too many items or it’s not something worth keeping.
Avoiding Clutter in the First Place.
It's not always possible to avoid clutter, but with a few reminders in place, you can avoid clutter in the future. Some rules we like for maintaining an organized home are: Don't leave things lying around - put them away as soon as you're done with them. Don't buy things you don't need, and don't keep things you don't use just because you paid money for them.
Let it Go if it Doesn't Bring You Joy.
As you declutter, it's important to keep in mind that not everything needs to be kept. If it doesn't bring you joy, or if it doesn't serve a purpose in your life, then it's time for that item to go.
The same goes for things that aren't used often enough and have no sentimental value attached to them. There are many reasons why people hold onto things like this: maybe they think they might need them someday; maybe they don't want to throw away something expensive; or maybe they feel guilty because it was a gift. It’s time to let go of the guilt and reasoning with ourselves as to why we need to hold onto things we don’t love or use. If they aren’t serving a purpose in your home, let them go!
Hopefully, this guide has helped answer some of your questions about decluttering and how to get started. However, if you’re overwhelmed or just want a partner in decluttering, we are here to help. As professional organizers, we can simplify the process and get your home decluttered and organized efficiently.
Ready to get started and learn more? Download our organizing guide to see how we can help!
Did you know that one of the top triggers for stress in a house is unorganized closets? Having an organized closet can help you start your day off on the right foot, make mornings (and laundry days) easier, and assist in creating an overall zen feeling in a home. Sounds pretty great, right?
As professional organizers, we know it's easier said than done, but we are here to help. We've outlined a few simple tricks and tips we use when organizing our client's closets.
Start by Taking Everything Out of Your Closet.
It's important to start by taking everything out of your closet and making sure it's completely empty. You want to start with a blank slate. It may seem like a waste of time at first, but if you don't take everything out and organize it all at once, you're likely to get stuck halfway through and may never complete it.
Starting with a blank slate also allows you to stop and rethink where items make the most sense to hang. For example, if you’ve always kept your blazers in the front, but now you work from home, they can likely go towards the back of your closet!
Sort Your Items Into Categories.
As you pull items out of your closet, sort them into broad categories, such as pants, skirts, dresses, t-shirts, etc.. Your bed is a great place to sort clothes into these piles (and see which piles start getting really high).
You might realize you tend to buy sweaters when you shop and have more than you’ll ever wear. Seeing everything piled on your bed can put into perspective how much was really housed in your closet. You will probably discover clothing or items you forgot you even owned!
Once you're done sorting, you'll be able to go through each category one by one and hold up the item. Decide then and there, do I love it? Am I hoping I fit into it later? Is it damaged? Asking some simple questions helps you determine whether an item is a keep, donate, or toss.
Most importantly, you need to be honest with yourself, because getting rid of items you no longer use, need or love will create space not only in your home but also in your life. Less clutter = more mental freedom!
According to the Pareto Principle, we only wear about 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. You may own 10 pairs of jeans, but which 1-2 are you most likely going to grab time and time again when you go to get dressed?
When You're Not Sure Whether to Keep or Donate an Item...
If you're not sure whether to keep or donate something, ask yourself if you've worn it in the last year. If the answer is no, then there's a good chance that you won't be wearing the item again. If it's a “someday I hope this fits” piece of clothing, or an outfit you bought for one special occasion but never wore again - it may be time to part ways and let it find a new owner who can use it! Just think, if you end up losing a bunch of weight or have a special occasion coming up, you’ll likely want some new fresh clothes anyways!
Other questions we ask our clients to consider: ‘does this item fit my current style and what I want my style to be going forward?’ Would you buy this item in a store today? If not, let it go. If you’re upset that you spent money on it, remember that it’s a sunk cost. The money is gone and instead you can think about how you can learn from this experience moving forward in your purchasing decisions.
It can also feel really great to know your items are going to people in need. You can donate to your local thrift store, church, charity group, etc. You'll be helping their efforts while freeing up space in your closet. (We take donations for our clients so it's one less thing on their to do list!)
If something is really sentimental that you don't want to part with - such as a wedding dress, make sure you honor it with the effort to keep it preserved. Take the time to properly store it in the right container, or even have it pressed. Taking a photo of something sentimental and saving it in a “memories” album on your phone before donating it works great too! You can remember all those concert hoodies via photo instead of them taking up valuable closet space.
Put Clothes Back Into a Clean Closet.
Once you've removed all of the clothes from your closet, sweep and dust the closet. You wouldn't put clean dishes into a dirty cupboard, so don't put your newly organized clothes into a dusty closet!
If you have the ability, consider moving shelving up or down to fit your clothes better. You may not need as much dress hanging space anymore, for instance, so adjusting your closet to fit your new needs is a great way to ensure you'll keep the organized system going.
You can also add baskets or other organization products to make things easier on yourself in the future, like shelf dividers, shoe racks, and a laundry hamper.
Details Make a Difference.
Hanging items together by type makes your closet look neat and organized and makes it effortless to find things. For instance, putting all t-shirts together, long sleeves, jeans, dresses, etc. Put similar types near each other too: Sleeveless shirts, then t-shirts, long sleeves, sweaters, cardigans, etc.. Then within each type you can even take it one step further and group items by color: all white tshirts together, all blue jeans together, etc..
Use thin hangers to maximize space and create an elegant look that won't take up too much room in your closet! Put everything facing the same direction, such as the fronts of all shirts face to the left when you’re standing in front of the item-it'll save time once it's time for laundry put away, too!
Hire a Professional Organizer!
If you feel like your closet is too overwhelming to tackle, it's time to bring in the pros. We can help take the guesswork out of getting organized by creating a system that works for you and your lifestyle. Our team will help make sure that you have an easy-to-maintain system that keeps your clothes looking great and you feeling good on a daily basis.
Ready to get your closet organized? Download our organizing guide to get a good idea of how we'll help you let go of clutter, organize your belongings, or start fresh in your new home.
Are you ready to declutter, organize, and simplify your life? Investing in yourself and your life is a significant first step, and knowing that a Professional Home Organizer can help can provide much relief.
If you’re ready but want to understand the process better, we are breaking it down for you here. We aim to have every Hello Simplified client be confident and excited about their home organization journey, and we know that understanding how it works is part of the process.
1. Let's Chat on the Phone.
The first step is to fill out the contact form on our website. One of our friendly Professional Organizers will contact you for your complimentary phone consultation shortly after. You'll tell us a little about your home, the spaces you're dreaming of organizing, and a few other details that will help us understand the scope of work. This is a no-pressure, no-obligation phone call.
2. Schedule your In-Home Consultation.
If you're ready to proceed, we will schedule an in-home consultation at your earliest convenience. Seeing your home in person before the organizing can begin is essential in the planning process and overall success of the job. As you walk us around your home and through the spaces you want to declutter and organize, we can better craft the most efficient and tailored action plan for your end goal.
We understand it can be nerve-wracking to have a stranger come into your home; however, at Hello Simplified, we have a few mottos, one being no judgment and 100% confidentially. We know it takes trust to allow us to come into your home and create a simplified and organized environment, which is why our consultations are so important.
3. Give Us the Grand Tour of Your Home.
We really mean it when we say that the consultations are painless! You'll give us the tour of your space, and we'll take notes, measurements (if that's necessary), and photos for reference. The more detail you provide us, the better. Once we gather all the info we need to create a plan, we'll leave and send you a detailed organizing proposal (with 1-3 organizing options to choose from) within a day or two.
At the consultation, you'll also have a chance to ask any questions, chat about products, and let us know your scheduling preferences for the future.
4. We Want to Meet You Where You Are.
We always let clients know a few things before a consultation - one being you do not need to clean up. In fact, we want to see your space exactly as you use it, so there is no need to tidy up or put things away into closets. That's what you're hiring us for - to create a beautifully organized space! [As we said before, we've seen it all and never judge.]
We hope this breakdown helps ease your mind and excites you for your consultation! Are you ready to step towards a simplified life and organized home but aren't quite ready to book a consultation? Download our organizing guide to learn more about our process and company.
We all want our homes to be filled with items we love. But what about items we don't love that someone we DO love gifted us? Or items that hold sentimental value but we have too many of them. These can be emotionally difficult to part with.
As Professional Home Organizers, we aren't in the business of just getting rid of everything. We know everyone has sentimental items and that certain material possessions carry memories. However, we also know the weight physical objects can carry, especially when they take up space in our homes.
Accumulation of Family Heirlooms and Sentimental Items.
It's easy to accumulate stuff and it may be easy to get rid of particular things - like old mail, clothes with stains, or toys that no longer work. Those are relatively easy decisions because there is no longer a purpose or need for them. But what about family heirlooms or items that hold a special memory? Many people get stuck in their decluttering journey when they encounter things they love or did love.
When we come across sentimental items, whether a dress you wore to prom, your kid's favorite toy as a baby, or your Grandmother's China collection, things begin to feel confusing. We can easily tie up emotions with logical thinking and avoid decluttering those items altogether. That's why so many family heirlooms and sentimental items end up in boxes in garages and attics. However, where else do these items end up? The truth is they end up at estate sales, yard sales, or just being passed on to sit in someone else's storage space.
If You Love it, Let it Go.
If you love something, it's best to honor it. And if you love the person who gave you something, honor them by honoring the item.
That doesn't mean you need to hold onto it. In fact, it may be the most freeing thing to let it go. If you find yourself rationalizing why you're holding onto it, and all of the reasons are because someone gave it to you, because you might use it someday, or because you feel your kids may want it eventually, you may want to pause and reevaluate. Are you keeping it out of guilt? Do you want your children to be burdened with things out of guilt? Can you break the cycle now? These are all critical questions that can bring clarity.
Honor Your Loved Ones Without Keeping All Their Stuff.
There are a few ways to honor your loved ones or memories without keeping all of your stuff. Here are some of the ways that we practice and have worked wonders for our clients:
Is This Item a Past Version of You Or Something You Want to Carry Forward?
Just think about how good it will feel to give your items that chance to be loved by someone else! If you have stuff just sitting around, collecting dust, and preventing you from living a stress-free life, it's time to let them go. What good is something doing if it's just sitting in a box or pushed into the corner of your closet?
Perhaps you're holding onto pre-baby clothing or from another era of your life. Ask yourself, is it who you are and want to be now/going forward, or are you holding onto something that's really a past version of you that you no longer want to be?
When we have surrounded ourselves with items that remind us of our past, it's easy to get stuck there. In order to move forward and progress, we have to purge our home of stuff that no longer serves us; which includes letting go of the guilt that surrounds it.
We know this can be a daunting process, but you don't have to do it all at once or even alone. We are here to help guide you throughout the process, take your donations away, and be that unbiased voice of reason when it's hard to make a decision. Starting slow, with a solid plan, and having an end goal in mind is the best way to go about the process of letting go of sentimental items.
Are you ready to honor yourself and your loved ones? Download our organizing guide to get a good idea of how we'll help you let go of clutter and the guilt attached to those items.
Did you know that moving is considered one of the most stressful life situations we go through? If you've ever moved before, you know there's truth in that. After figuring out the where, when, and how of moving from home to home, there's still the daunting part that haunts many homeowners…packing!
Then after packing up an entire home full of your family's possessions, and moving, when you finally arrive at your new home, there still remains the task of unpacking. We've all been there - exhausted from moving and wishing we could snap our fingers and magically have all the scattered moving boxes unpacked and organized.
If you've hired movers, they get the job halfway done by moving stuff from one location to the next. Some even say they can pack and unpack for you, but we are here to humbly brag and tell you why we are even better than moving companies for packing and unpacking your home. And why the next time you move, you need the Hello Simplified team of professional organizers!
1. We pack systematically and label boxes clearly.
Moving companies that pack for you may go into a room, pack what's there in boxes, and label it broadly as the current space it's in. For instance, if you have a ton of books in the bedroom of your current home, they will pack those and label them "bedroom" - even if those books will be in the den in your new home. The random kids' toys under your living room sofa? They'll be tossed into the living room box! Then when you get to your new home, you're starting with mixed boxes of stuff that doesn't actually belong where it's placed. The last thing anyone wants to do after an exhausting move is unpack, sort and haul items around to different rooms.
That's where we come in! We start your move off on the right foot. Our professional organizers will systematically pack your home, categorizing boxes and labeling them specifically and clearly (kitchen: everyday dishes, upstairs bathroom: kids' towels, vs. just kitchen, bathroom). We label boxes based on what room they'll go in in your NEW home. So movers know exactly where to place items, making for easy unpacking. With clearly labeled boxes you'll know what to prioritize when unpacking and you can easily find what you're searching for.
2. We help you declutter, take donations, and would NEVER pack trash or expired items.
When you hire movers, they are there to do one thing - move. It's not uncommon for them to pack trash, expired food, and even broken items. Why pay to move things you will only toss on the other end of the process? That's why we also encourage decluttering before your move. We can help you go through your household items and ensure you're only packing what you want and need to pack. We even take care of hauling away your donations!
3. We don't just unpack boxes and leave; we organize and set up your home.
While some movers will "unpack" by emptying the contents of boxes, they don't put things away. This leaves you, the new homeowner, with a mess to clean up. With school and work schedules and the sheer volume of boxes, setting up and organizing a new home can take weeks or even months. It's overwhelming, so you quickly throw items into kitchen cabinets without much thought, thinking you'll figure it out and move items later. But next thing you know, 5 years have gone by and items are still where you originally put them.
However, with us, we unpack, put away, and organize for you quickly and efficiently in a thought-out manner using all our best practices and professional organizing knowledge. We can even make a custom product list for your space, do all the shopping, implementation of products and returns, so everything is 100% organized from start to finish.
4. We take the stress out of moving in and start you on the best foot possible.
Can you picture how nice it would be to move into a new home without stressing about finding your kitchen utensils, clothing, or sifting through boxes? Instead, everything will be exactly where it needs to be, organized and ready for you to start enjoying your new space. It sounds like magic, right? But it's just what we do! We love to simplify life for our clients at Hello Simplified.
Our goal is to lift the stress from your life. Our packing & unpacking services are one way we can help. Moves are often rushed and stressful, and there are a million and one things to figure out. Moving companies move your items in and then you're on your own. The last thing you want to consider is where to put those kitchen dishes - yet it's essential for your daily functionality. As professional organizers, we do this every day, and we'd be delighted to set up your home for you, so you’re organized and in love with your new home from the start.
Ready to book your phone consultation with one of our expert organizers?
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Contact us today to get on our schedule for your next move.
Not quite ready to schedule? Download our organizing guide to learn more about our small business.
At Hello Simplified, we specialize in helping clients going through big life changes. We offer home organizing services and packing & unpacking services. Read through for tips on how we help our clients feel less overwhelmed and more in control of their busy lives and homes.