Blog Archives

How to Make it Easier to Get Kids Back to School


Professional Organizer Colette Robicheau shares the best tips for getting ready to go back to school.

She talks about how to make the yearly return to school a smooth transition and how to prepare your youngest for their first time to school.

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STAGING – Flaunt Your Best Assets

Highlight and draw attention to elements in the home, such as a great view, architectural details, even repairs, renovations or equipment upgrades. Your kitchen and bathroom are prime selling opportunities, so pay special attention to these areas. For example, keep your kitchen counters clear of any knickknacks and small appliances, and remove any magnets or personal items from your fridge. Remove as many personal items as you can from the bathroom so it looks pristine and that there is lots of counter space available. Replace leaking or worn faucets to give a new look to the room. Make sure to clean under the sinks. Potential homeowners will be checking out all the details. If there are any leaks, fix them. Then clean up the damage using contact paper or paint. Spending a little extra time to fix up the existing items in the home is an inexpensive way to make great changes, therefore increasing the selling value and decreasing the time it will be on the market.

living room

Motivation to Let Go of Your Stuff

Sometimes we are waiting for just the right time to let go of some of additional stuff. We know we have too much; there are things we longer use or have duplicates from upgrades or gifts.  It’s always a good idea to pack up some items after any gift giving special occasion like Fathers’ Day, a birthday or Christmas. Remember when items come in to your home it’s a good time to also take some things out. And know that there are so many people in the world that can use your unwanted items. Read this card and see if now is the time to pass on your things to someone who could really use them.

Weekend To-Do

Precook Meals

Jackpot! How to Make Garage Sale Gold

Organize a great garage sale 

Garage sales are a simple and fun way to clear out some unwanted clutter from your home. If you’re downsizing or just looking to let go of items you don’t use anymore, garage sales are a great way to make some money, meet your neighbours and de-clutter your home.

Organize Anything has come up with some great tips to make sure you hit garage sale gold.

1) It’s all about timing. Traditionally garage sales take place on Saturday mornings between June and October. If you live in a university town, aim to have your sale in late August/early September to take advantage of the students coming back.  Set up your table early in the
morning
– serious buyers start early and will visit many sales in one day.

2) Product placement. If you haven’t used it or worn it in a while, sell it. If you’re only keeping it because it was a gift, sell it. Baby equipment, sporting goods, furniture, tools, books, small appliances, toys and framed art are best sellers. Clothes don’t sell well. Put a big item or something eye-catching closest to the road. You want to attract positive attention from
passers-by.

3) Garage sale doesn’t equal garbage dump. Don’t sell something you wouldn’t buy. If an item is in serious disrepair, old, or not attractive, don’t waste your time or your customers’ by putting it out for sale.

4) Garage sales are a team effort. The more people involved in your sale, the better it will be. Recruit family members
to help you set up your tables and monitor customers. You’ll also need helpers to assist customers in moving heavy purchases to their cars. Make sure that you always have one person dedicated to running the cashbox. If you’ve got younger children in the family, why not have them run a refreshment stand? It’s a great opportunity to teach them about money.

5)  Advertising. Beyond the tried-and-true method of putting posters on the telephone poles in your neighbourhood the week before, there are several other approaches to letting people know about your sale. Post notices on the community bulletin boards of your local community center, supermarket and schools. People will stop if they see a crowd, so recruit family members to “shop” if you’re worried about traffic flow. Post the information online on websites like Kijiji.com. Email your friends and family – don’t forget to promote items that will get attention like couches, TVs or novelty
items.

6) The price is right. Garage sales traditionally sell items for less than $50. Exceptions being newer furniture or home electronics. If you have antiques or higher priced items you would like to sell, consider contacting an appraiser or holding an estate auction. Go through the items you want to sell before the sale and price them. Put a sticker on them in an obvious place and record the item in a notebook that you keep at the cash register.

7) Colour coded. You may want to colour code items to make it easier for yourself and customers to know how much something is selling for, green = $5, blue = $10 and so on. You can also have tables with items under for a dollar or two
dollars – get creative and make it easy for you to manage.

8)  The weather factor. A perk of the garage sale is being able to spend the day outdoors. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. Use your garage or have a tarp or a tent handy in case you wake up on the morning of your sale and it’s
raining. The tent will also be handy the day turns into a scorcher and you need
to escape to the shade.

So next time you need to let go of a lot of the clutter in your home, pick a Saturday and plan for rain or shine. Recruit your family members, tell your neighbours and lay out your wares. You’ll have fun and you’ll even make a little money in the end.

STAGING – We Buy With Our Senses

People buy from emotion. Our senses are how we define the world around us and have a strong link to memory and emotion. What better way to create an emotional appeal for our home than through our senses.

When you decide to put your home on the market it makes good sense to consider your home not only with fresh eyes but also consider the other senses as well.

Smellgrapefruit

We often hear about the tactic of using the aroma of freshly baked bread or cookies to fill a house that is being shown to potential buyers. Think of unconventional ways to entice your buyer’s nose (without triggering allergies) with scents such as cinnamon, grapefruit, and cedar. But take care that nothing is too strong. Unnatural chemical renditions of flowers or herbs are highly promoted and sold but these can be very offensive, especially if they are trying to mask another unwelcome odor such as that from a pet. The reality is nothing beats the smell of clean. Overbearing scents make no sense.

Touch

Textures are hot right now in home décor and work equally as well when staging your home. Textures are appealing to the eye and make the person eager to touch and closely examine an object. Use the addition of textures as both a tactile and visual technique with the use of pillows, throws, window treatments, bedding, and carpets. Adding the depth of texture will make one want to linger in a room or home and feel more comfortable.

Sound

wind chimesTreat potential buyers to the sounds of nature by opening a window to your backyard. Encourage birds to congregate and sing in your yard with an attractive bird feeder or bird bath. Hang wind chimes so that even stormy days seem cheery. Have water features running in good condition indoors and out. Play soft music to encourage buyers to relax and enjoy your home.

Eliminate sounds that mean something is wrong – a squeaky door, a toilet that keeps running. This includes cleaning your aquarium’s filter, rain gutters, water pipes, air conditioning and any other appliance or items that could raise the decibel rating or an eyebrow or earlobe of a potential buyer.

When you are staging your home think beyond pleasing the eyes: sooth the ear, nose and hand, as well. Improve the emotional appeal of your home, with improved sensory appeal and you will find a happy buyer quickly.

Spring Into Gardening

It’s that time of year again – the experienced gardeners are digging out their tools and cleaning out their flower beds and preparing for another season of gardening glory. But what if you’re new to the gardening game and you’re not quite sure where to start?

We’ve put together some easy tips to help you green your thumb and take up gardening without getting overwhelmed. These 6 tips will assist in making your gardening season a pleasurable one free from stress, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors!

1. Start small. Too many people take on too much; they get overwhelmed and give up.  For your first year, take the time to build your knowledge, read and talk to friends and suppliers. To avoid stress and get the maximum reward out of your gardening hobby take short cuts, make it easy by using plants instead of seeds.

2. Starting the season. As with any physical training schedule, start off slow and gradually build your gardening time and activities. Gardening can be a demanding activity with lifting, stretching and contorting.  Experts warn gardeners to consider gardening as any other type of exercise, and remind them that they need to work up to longer and intense sessions.

3. Learn the best way to lift and lean. A day in the garden can be just as risky as doing a 5km run by someone who has not trained for it. Gardeners are prone to injuries such as muscle strain and sore backs due to overexertion.  Refresh yourself on how to properly lift heavy objects – including bags of mulch and fertilizer – here.

4. Cover up. When working in the garden, flip flops just won’t do, even if it is a warm day, it is important to wear a good sturdy shoe.  Also clothing that covers, a wide brimmed hat to cover from harmful UV rays and help prevent sunstroke, it is very easy to lose track of time while working in the gardening, leaving you spending countless hours working in the sun.  Sunscreen and bug spray are also two very important items not to be forgotten.  A sunburn or bug bites could deter anyone from returning to the garden.

5. Storage is king. You do not need a large shed for storing gardening items.  These helpful solutions will help the gardener with the smallest of storage areas.  First, only buy what you need. That way, you do not have access supplies laying about, needing storage.  Buy tools that are mulit-purpose. You can use lidded garbage cans for storing homemade organic fertilizers, use empty milk crates for storing items, they hold a lot and are very easy to stack!

6. Don’t lose your tools. No matter how organized you storage space is, it is still very easy to misplace gardening tools, creating challenges if you are looking for that one specific tool.  One way to keep tools at your fingertips is to paint all of the handles the same color, that will make looking for tools is easy.  If you have newer tools with foam grip, that cannot be painted, you could try tying a colored plastic bag through the handles.  The bag will withstand dirt, water and wear and tear.

Gardening is a great way to get outside, enjoy some gentle exercise and get back to nature. Share pictures of your garden – new or old – on our Facebook Page this summer and tell us how you keep your flowers growing.

How to Purge the Urge to Procrastinate

Do you procrastinate? You’re not alone. It’s easy to say, ”I’ll do it tomorrow,” when faced with a project. But if you keep putting it off, you run the risk of racing the clock to complete it at the last minute. And if you do complete it, you may be unhappy with the results. So when you feel the temptation to procrastinate:  

1) Ask yourself why you procrastinate – There are many reasons why we put things off, from fear to lack of motivation. Knowing why you procrastinate will help you break the habit.

2) Identify what motivates you – Is it tight deadlines? The promise of a reward? Think about what motivates you and use that to get the ball rolling.

3) Prioritize your tasks – It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have several projects competing for your attention. Categorizing tasks as high and low priority will help you to focus on the most pressing projects.

4) Consider the time required – Be realistic when looking at the time it will take to complete any project. Block out time in your calendar so you have a clear start and end date with sufficient time to get it done.

sticky note wall

5) Avoid distractions – Easier said than done. But by focusing on the work at hand, you can complete it quickly and properly. And that will give you more time to focus on other responsibilities or activities.

6) Tell someone else – Knowing that you’ve told someone what you’re planning to do is a great motivator. Even saying it out loud to yourself is often enough to get you started.

7) Anticipate problems – There are always tasks that pose challenges. The key is to visualize them and how you will respond to them. This can significantly reduce anxiety and will help you perform better.

8) Plan a reward – It’s easier to complete a task or two when you know that there will be a reward for your hard work.  

9) Do things as they occur to you – This way, you won’t risk adding another item to your “To-Do” list. You may even find the thrill of getting something extra done motivates you to take on other projects.

10) Ask yourself ”Is there an easier way to do this?” – A little extra thought can make the difference in getting a task done quickly and easily.

If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at www.organizeanything.com

Turn Your Home Into a Residential Commercial

Simple steps to increase the appeal of your home to potential buyers

Preparing to sell your home this year?  The most common mistake many sellers make when staging their homes that you can avoid is preparing your home based on your personal tastes.

When selling, you are creating a ‘residential advertisement’ for your home, so it must appeal to the audience you want to reach.  Because the market is very broad, the look or decor of your house must appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers.  After all, like any ad, you have limited time to engage a potential buyer. If they can’t instantly see themselves in your property, they’ll move on to the next one.

Here’s what I recommend to create an effective residential advertisement:
 

1) Have a great opening First impressions are crucial. Make sureoutside your property is well maintained, including your garden. Create curb appeal or buyers will drive right by to view the next property without giving your home a second chance. Remove any leaves, equipment or trash from your lawn, driveway and gutters.  Exterior upgrades — a freshly painted door, new welcome mat, clean windows, new house numbers — will help to enhance the appeal of your home.  And consider first impressions once the buyer enters your home.  Keep your entry hall spacious and bright, and ensure your home is free from any food, pet, cigarette or other unpleasant odours.

2) Edit When selling your home, less means more.  Buyers want to picture themselves and their belongings in your home, which they can’t do if it is cluttered or filled with personal items.   Remove extra furniture and any collections, family photos, religious, or seasonal artifacts.  Neutral paint and décor will help increase the appeal of your home, creating a blank slate for buyers to imagine how they will use it.  You should also clear clutter and personal items from closets, storage spaces and medicine cabinets.  In short, keep only those items you need on a daily basis, and donate or pack the rest.

3) Sell the positive features and benefits Highlight and draw attention to the positive aspects of the home, such as a great view, architectural details, repairs, renovations and equipment upgrades.  Your kitchen and bathrooms are prime selling opportunities, so pay special attention to these areas. For example, you should keep your kitchen counters clear of any knickknacks and small appliances, and remove any magnets or personal items from your fridge.

Clean Couch4) Create Visual Appeal Dirt, mold, fingerprints and cobwebs all detract from the appeal of your house.  Be sure to clean thoroughly in every nook and cranny and empty all wastebaskets, for enhanced appeal.  You should also consider updating the look of your house by removing dated items. Replace these with a few well-chosen accessories like fresh flowers or lighter drapes that brighten up your house.

5) Make it easy Buyers should know what each room or space is used for, so leave something in each room to make its purpose clear.  Ensure traffic flow throughout your home is easy and arrange furniture to convince them to linger in each room, creating a lasting, positive impression.  Be sure to make any necessary home repairs- buyers will appreciate knowing they can move in without any extra effort or costs.

Remember, the key to selling your house is to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.  This will help you to create a residential advertisement that maximizes the appeal of your house, leading to a quick and easy sale.

Five Ways to Lose Five Pounds..of Paper

Feeling a little heavy? Wake up in the morning and dread starting your day because of the extra weight? Then it’s time for you to lose that extra five pounds of paperwork and get streamlined this summer!
Organize Anything has five great tips to help you shed those extra pounds and watch your stress slip away.
1. Keep it online. Why waste ink and paper printing out bills, invoices and other documents that can easily be stored on your computer? Go digital and have your bills emailed to you instead of sent through traditional mail. Worried about losing your records? Save everything on an external hard drive or a well labelled memory stick.
2. Get to know your shredder. When you get your mail, sort through it at the paper shredder. Shred anything that’s not a bill or personal letter immediately. Not only does it cut down on paper clutter, but it helps you eliminate your chances of identity theft.
3. Use notebooks for messages. Keep a spiral notebook with a pen tucked inside it beside your home phone and one beside your computer. This helps eliminate the scraps of paper and Post-It notes that can take over your work space when you’re not looking.
4. Don’t just file, follow through. If you sort your paperwork into “urgent,” “high priority” and “low priority” make sure that you empty these trays by the end of the day. The idea is to complete the tasks or have reassessed their priority by end of day. Try not to re-file or re-pile papers at the end of your work day. Ask yourself what is the next action I need to take with this item.
5. Recycle anything that’s not critical. Consider your personal circumstances and decide what you should hold onto for the long run: wills, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, prenuptial agreements, alimony and child-custody agreements, divorce decrees, adoption papers, military records, citizenship papers, passports, health care power of attorney, current insurance policies, employment contracts, deeds, property titles, mortgages, and stock and bond certificates are all paperwork that you should keep long term.
Store these things in a safety deposit box or safe place where your next of kin knows where they are.Be sure to shred anything else you don’t need as time goes on. Also important is to ask your accountant or book keeper to see what you as an individual or business owner really need to keep and for how long.
Keeping pounds of extra paper is clutter you don’t need in your office or home.  Paperwork is easy to ignore, and it’s even easier to let it pile up. Do your part for the environment by eliminating your paper trail, while relieving the clutter in your home and office. Make this the summer you lose those extra five pounds of paper.

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