Too Much Clutter?
I had the opportunity to work on a second episode of Hoarders:Family Secrets Season 7 with Dorothy Breininger, Dorothy the Organizer, and 3 other local organizers from the NAPO Michigan Chapter. I learned more strategies in working in hoarding situations as well as learned from my fellow professional organizers about their techniques for sorting/organizing. Michelle and her family were wonderful to work with and I was glad to be able to be part of the process to help them start to clear out the clutter.
I had the opportunity to work as part of the clean out team that worked with David and his family in a recent episode of “Hoarders:Family Secrets” which aired on the Lifetime network. Matt Paxton and his ServiceMaster crew, along with myself and two other organizers from Wisconsin, worked to clear out the yard and 4 rooms in the house. As part of the organizer team, we worked in the home to declutter and organize the spaces. We were able to give David and his family functional and useable spaces again. I wanted to see first hand what a large scale clean out process entailed and how the person hoarding reacted to the intervention. In these situations that are documented on the show, many times the person hoarding is in a situation where the authorities are involved and faster clean out is required. This is not recommended by many mental health professionals as an intervention for someone who is hoarding but is not being required by authorities to clean out by a specific timeline. Ongoing therapy with qualified professionals and hands on work with a trained professional organizer over a period of time is the recommended strategy. Overall my work on the show was a great experience where I continued to learn new strategies for working in hoarding situations. You can see me as part of another team of organizers in an upcoming episode on 7/16/15 at 9:00pm (EST) on Lifetime.
If you or someone you know struggles with hoarding, contact Susie’s Organization Solutions LLC for assistance. 616-554-3175
Caregiver’s Corner Column (April 2015)
“What do I do with all of my Parent’s Stuff?”
By Susie Marsh, LBSW, Professional Organizer
Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of “Stuff” in your home? Did you acquire the items from parents or family members who either downsized to a senior living community or to your home? Did your parents pass away and now you have to decide what to do with their possessions? You are not alone. Statistics show that the age group of 60+ makes up close to 20% of the population. There is a steady climb in the number of older adults who are living longer so it only makes sense that their families are going to need to deal with the items that have accumulated over a longer span of time. The older population also can tend to keep more items because they grew up in the era of “don’t waste that” and “keep it because you might need it later”. They also may be emotionally tied to things due to loss of loved ones and a lifetime of memories.
Here are a few practical tips on what to do if your home is bursting at the seams with “stuff” from your own acquiring and from the homes of family members.
• Get appraisals for items such as jewelry, furniture, art, collectibles, etc. Be prepared for lower prices due to saturation of those particular items in the market. Get second opinions if you have any concerns or questions. Consult a certified appraiser for high priced items and consider an auction to get the best prices. www.appraisers.org
• Get rid of the clutter. Sort out any items that can be donated, sold, given to another person, recycled and/or tossed. Consult professionals who work in the field to help clients de-clutter, downsize, organize, estate sale work, senior moves and more. Professional organizers can be found throughout the country. www.napo.net These professionals can be a wealth of information about resources in the community.
• Consult with an estate sale company about holding a sale. Estate sale companies take an average 35% of the total sales for payment but can liquidate an estate quickly.
• Selling online can be a good option as well. Ebay, Craigslist, online estate sales/auctions and Facebook garage sales are just some of the ways people are selling items.
• Garage sales are a popular option as well but can be time consuming for set up, pricing, working the sale and clean up. Keys to a good garage sale are set up like items together, easily accessible shopping and good competitive prices.
• Dispose of paperwork with identifiable personal information on it by shredding. Recycle papers such as magazines, newspapers, junk mail, and more. Unsure of what paperwork to discard? Check out: Consumers Reports http://bit.ly/1jJfdP1
• Seek a professional if you fear you or a family member has a hoarding problem. www.ocfoundation.org Hoarding disorder is a mental illness that requires intervention by trained mental health professionals. To learn more about hoarding disorder: www.challengingdisorganization.org and www.childrenofhoarders.com
• Ready to let go of the item but you want to remember it? Take photos of the items that are special before you let it go.
• Make sure to label any bins or boxes you store or keep items in for easy retrieval later.
De-cluttering can be a daunting task if your home is filled with an extended family’s lifetime of “stuff” and memories. If you have the right information and tools, it can be done efficiently and effectively. A less cluttered home makes for a more peaceful calming space and less brain clutter.
Caregiver’s Corner is provided as a public service of the Caregiver Resource Network. The Caregiver Resource Network is a collaboration of West Michigan organizations dedicated to providing for the needs and welfare of family and professional caregivers within the community. Funded by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan with Older American’s Act Title IIIE, Family Caregiver Support funds. For more information consult our website at www.CaregiverResource.net or call toll free at 1-888-456-5664.
Happy New Year and Hello 2015!
Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2015? Did your resolution have anything to do with “getting more organized”? You aren’t alone. “Getting Organized” is one of the top resolutions many people choose right behind losing weight or getting healthy.
If “Getting Organized” is your resolution, here are my Top 10 Organizing Tips to help you in the coming year:
- Start small. Pick one area of your home and work on decluttering this one area only. Move on to the next area when you have the first area done. Small changes = Big Rewards!
- Set up a Command Center. Here you will track your families activities, pay your bills, track chore/responsibility lists, keep track of paperwork coming in and going out of your home.
- Use technology to your advantage. Find Apps and other helpful sites online that can make your life easier. (Apps, websites, etc.) Reminders, To-Do lists and more……
- Get off the junk mail lists. dmachoice.org and www.paperkarma.com are great options to get this done.
- Have a schedule for doing routine tasks including cleaning, bill paying, paperwork/mail check, etc. and stick with it. Having a regular schedule gives you reassurance that things will get done and you can feel more relaxed.
- Remember your passwords by using a password book (address book A-Z works well) and record each password under the correct letter. Write in pencil so you can update easily. Lock the book in a drawer or cabinet for safe keeping. For tech options, there are apps that will keep passwords for you as well.
- For collectables or kids toys, rotate what items are out for display or play. Donate or sell all items that aren’t needed anymore. Why not make some extra money off items taking up space?
- Make some meal plans. Start with just a few recipes and build on those. Keep them simple and ones you will be likely to make regularly. Set up your pantry with those favorite items so meal prep is easier and quicker.
- Use a bill pay master list to keep track of all payments and auto withdrawals. Paperless billing will eliminate paper coming in your home but you need a way to remember when bills are due and not incur late fees.
- Daily “15 minute Dash” . Use the last 15 minutes of your day to walk around your house and put items back in their place. Enlist your family members to take part and reward them for a job well done! It’s much nicer to wake up the next morning to a home that is clutter free and items are easily found. (Keys, wallets, eyeglasses, homework, phones, etc.)
Contact SOS if you need assistance with your organizing project! www.SusiesOrganizationSolutions.com 616-554-3175
“Family Caregiver University” sponsored by The Caregiver Resource Network (West MI)
This is a series of classes begin the month of January 2015 and continue each month until December 2015. Please visit the CRN website for more information on these classes. www.caregiverresource.net
“What Every Caregiver Should Know about Downsizing, Decluttering and Getting Organized!” is a webinar that I will be presenting to the caregivers of the Family Caregiver Alliance in July 2015! To register, visit their website at: www.caregiver.org/caregiving-webinars
Team SOS is active in the fight against cancer for 2015! I am a team captain again for the 2015 Relay for Life Byron Center event. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. Join me and my team in the fight by joining the team, donating, purchasing a luminaria, becoming a sponsor and/or showing up to the event June 5-6, 2015 at the Byron Center Sportsplex to walk the track! Find out more details at: www.relayforlife.org/byroncentermi
Click on “Teams” and “Susie’s Organization Solutions LLC” to find out how you can help! Thank you for your support!
Hoarding Resource List:
I assisted in developing the hoarding resources list for the Napo Michigan Chapter. Visit the website to see area resources and find out more about the talented and hardworking professional organizers who are members of Napo Michigan.
I want to thank you all for helping me to have a successful and busy year of providing professional organizing services to the community! I appreciate all of my colleagues who have given my name to potential clients as well as my past and present clients who have referred me to their family and friends. I will continue to do my best to provide quality and compassionate services to my clients. Here is to a happy and healthy 2015!
SOS March Organizing Updates/News 2014
SOS March Organizing Updates/News:
I am now a Golden Circle Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers! That means I am a “seasoned” organizer! Since I have been a social worker for over 25 years and an organizer for 7 years, I would tend to agree with that! I also am a member of the NAPO Michigan chapter and am looking forward to collaborating and sharing with my fellow organizers!
Relay for Life Byron Center: Susie’s Organization Solutions LLC has formed a team for Relay for Life Byron Center! Relay for Life is the fundraising part of the American Cancer Society. I am so happy to be heading up a team again this year and am honored to be the Team Development Chair for Relay for Life Byron Center! I would really appreciate your support of my team through donations, walking the event, joining my team, supporting fundraising events or purchasing a luminaria bag in honor/memory of your loved one who has battled cancer. I have had several very close family members pass away from cancer and I want to do my part to fight back. Thank you!!
Please visit my team’s fundraising page to support us: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/SUSIESORG
Organizers for Charity: I have joined a community called Organizers for Charity. Their goal is to provide the community with resources to donate their unwanted items to charities. As a professional organizer, I have always encouraged my clients to donate their unwanted items to charities that can give to others. I even include free haul away of donation items to charities as part of my services to make this option easy for my clients. Organizers for Charity maintains a “Donation to Charity Directory” to make this process of donating easy as well. They are a new organization and hope to grow in the future!
Susie’s Organizing Tips and Tricks :
It’s March but Spring time is right around the corner!It’s time to think about what projects you want to tackle when “Spring Fever” hits you!
- Do you have CLOSETS that need de-cluttering and organizing?
- Do you have KITCHEN cupboards that are crammed full of glassware, dishes, cookware and other items that you don’t even use anymore?
- Do you have a GARAGE that is overrun with kids toys, tools, automotive supplies and yard equipment?
- Do you have a BASEMENT that is filled with bins, papers and “stuff” you haven’t needed or used in years?
- Do you have JUNK DRAWERS that you can’t even open anymore because they are full of “junk”!
Spring time is a great time to look at your spaces and see how you can use them better to meet your needs.
Think “Purpose and Place” for everything.
- First step: Honestly look at the problem areas and make a plan to change it. (Action!)
- Second step: Measure your spaces. (Very important!)
- Third step: Find or purchase organizing products like bins/baskets/trays, etc. that FIT your spaces. (Reuse if you choose or buy new!)
- Fourth step: Use the new organizing products in your spaces. (They don’t work if they are stacked up in a corner somewhere!)
- Fifth step: De-clutter and downsize what you have in your spaces. (Designate boxes for Donation, Go Somewhere Else, Keep, and Toss/Recycle.)
- Last step: Put the keep items into your newly de-cluttered spaces. (Put like items together in zones).
- Call in a professional organizer if this is overwhelming or difficult for you to do by yourself. SOS can help you!
SOS Contact Information:
Contact Susie Marsh, if you need help with Eliminating your Chaos and Clutter!
- Residential Settings, Personal Work Spaces, Mental/Physical Challenges, Assisting Older Adults, Speaking Services
- Gift Certificates are Available if you want to give the gift of organization!