Let It Go Green Road Sign, Business Concept

Learning To Let Go of Your Stuff!

I often get calls from clients saying that they have too much stuff. That they lack space in their homes and because they have too many items, nothing feels organized. Letting go of items can be challenging so here are a few tips on how to take a look at your possessions and decide if you should keep them or let them go.

Would I buy this item today? You are cleaning out your closet and not sure if you should keep that red top that you haven’t worn for ages. Ask yourself if you would buy the item today. If not, out it goes.

Gifts and Sentimental items – You have been passed down rusty knives, cookware and a ring from your grandmother. You don’t use any of them but want to keep them all as a reminder of her. If you don’t use them, then compromise by letting go of some of the items. Perhaps keep the ring as it doesn’t take up much physical space and it may have a better financial value and let go of the knives and cookware.

Take Pictures – You feel bad letting go of gifts or sentimental items that have been passed down to you. If you don’t use them and haven’t looked at them in ages, then take pictures of the items and let them go. You could always print off the pictures and display them in a scrap book or nice photo album for memory sake.

Donate – If you have items that are sitting in your basement, storage area or garage and you don’t use them, consider donating them. It will allow others the opportunity to enjoy your items that you are not using. If you have higher end value items that are taking up space that you really do not need, then perhaps check with your family members to see if they could use them, sell them in a consignment store, or auction etc.

Duplicates – Do you have two or three of the same items? If so, can you make do with just one and let go of the others?

What is it worth? Take a look at the items you are keeping just because you spent a lot for them and ask yourself “what is it worth today?” If you are keeping old computer pieces because you paid a lot for them, chances are you are not going to get a lot of money for them now.

Just in Case – If you are holding on just in case, it almost never happens. Also, consider how much it would cost to replace it. If you are hanging on to several items that cost little to replace, it is worth more to have more space and less clutter than it is to replace an item that cost so little. Especially when there is a good chance you will not need to replace it at all.

One in One Out – If you are considering bringing more items in your home, consider the one in one out rule. For example, if you buy a new top, then pick a top that you have not worn for a year or more and put it in a bag to be donated.

Hope these tips help when it is your turn to make decisions on whether to keep or let go of your items.

Until next time,

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer, member of the Professional Organizers of Canada and the Institute of Chronic Disorganization. If you would like more information on her organizing and coaching services please contact via Kathy@secondsetofhands.ca or 613.454.5706.

8 Tips for Time Management in the Workplace
Time management

8 Tips for Time Management in the Workplace

Minimize distractions – Do you check your email and go onto social media often throughout the day? What about every time you hear a “bing” on your phone, computer, IPad etc., do you quickly check to see what it is? If so, this could be causing a major interruption in your concentration level and work production. Instead schedule time in your day for checking emails and social media. Perhaps once in the morning, lunch time/afternoon and end of your day.

Start your day by doing an important and productive task – If you start your day by doing a major task, and you get tired later in the day or get busy doing other things that don’t relate to work, then at least you were able to have completed one productive task during the day.

Don’t multi-task – In today’s society we are encouraged to multi-task but whenever possible try to finish one task before going on to another. I know this is hard, especially if you have a boss giving you many tasks to do at one time, but it is proven that multi-tasking causes mistakes to happen and you will be more productive if you put all your attention in one task and complete it before going onto another one.

Confirm Appointments – If you have booked your appointments far in advance, it is best to reach out and confirm your appointments. Nothing worse than battling traffic only to get there and find out the person whom you are meeting has forgotten.

Leave the house, shut the door or use a divider – If you work from home and find you are not getting enough work done, shut your office door to let family members know you are busy, (but don’t forget to open it now and then lol) or leave the house and go to a quiet location. You can try your local coffee shop or try a shared rental office space. Being away from home can mean being more productive! If you work outside your home in a cubicle setting and find staff members coming up and talking to you, ask your manager if you can have a portable divider set up outside your desk area. That will let others know you do not want to be interrupted and will be a reminder for your colleagues to keep their conversations down.

Everything has its place – Whether a staff member has handed something to you to do, or you have come across something you have not done yet, everything should have a home. Don’t let things pile up. Schedule time in your day to file what needs to be filed, have a pending tray or file for items that need to be actioned, make sure supplies are put away etc.

Plan your day the day before – I am not sure why more people don’t do this tip because it really will help you be more productive and save you time! At the end of the day, take 5 minutes to look at your calendar the night before and write down the times of your appointments or meetings. Then write down a few key tasks you would like to accomplish the following day and schedule them around your appointments/meetings. Leave room in your schedule for other tasks that you will end up wanting to do once you are up and at it.

Tidy your desk before leaving!- Whether you work from home or away from home, take a few minutes each day and tidy up your desk at the end of the day. This includes files, pens, stapler, calculator, etc.) If your desk is tidy, you will find your items much faster and be more productive!

Until next time,

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer and moving specialists who provides hands on organizing help as well as virtual organizing assistance. If you would like more information on her services please contact Kathy at 613.454.5706


Happy Senior Couple In Room with Moving Boxes on the Floor.
11 Tips on How to Downsize with Too Much Stuff!!

“I feel so overwhelmed.” ”I don’t know where to start.” “I like all my stuff.” “My family member is downsizing and he/she has too much stuff.” These are often the comments that I hear from my clients when they call for downsizing help. I understand. I really do. Moving alone is stressful but it is even more overwhelming when you have to move to a smaller place and you have too much stuff and you are not sure what you should keep, or you are attached to your items and don’t want to let them go. Here are a few tips to help you or a family member so you don’t become so overwhelmed.

1. Declutter Early – If it is not too late, the best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to have a clear storage room and basement when it is time to downsize! That may not always be possible, but the less you have the better. Start decluttering a year or two before you plan on moving into a smaller home, and if that is not possible, at the very least, as soon as you start considering the move.

2. A bit at a time – To make it less overwhelming, do a bit at time. Sometimes there are 40 years or more of items to go through so pick a room, a closet, a cupboard and go through the items and decide if they can be donated, recycled, sold, shredded etc.

3. It is all in how you ask – While working with a senior, don’t ask too many questions at once, and try not to ask open ended questions. They get too overwhelmed and confused. Go through the items and pick the best ones and then ask a “Yes” or “No” question. Instead of asking which towels do you want to keep, put together the best facecloths, hand towels, bath towels and tell them you have put aside the best ones and ask if this ok.

4. Let them make decisions – Seniors find moving a challenging and stressful time but it will be less overwhelming for them if they feel they are involved in the process. Let them decide on the items they want to keep. The items may not be new, or what you would want to keep, but if they use the items, and there is room for them, then letting them keep it is ok.

5. Use a floor plan – You can often get a copy of a floor plan from the apartment or assistant living complex. If not draw one out and measure what furniture, mirrors, pictures etc. will fit. While visiting your new home, take measurements and take a good look at the cupboard space and storage space. One problem that I tend to see is that clients think they have more room in their new home then they really have. Moving too much stuff and not having the room for it is not ideal.

6. Let go of multiples – When in a smaller space, you will only need one or two frying pans, set of bed sheets, one pair of slippers, one winter coat, etc.

7. Consignment, Garage Sale, Donation, Auction, Estate, or Garbage? – If it is stained, ripped, chipped or broken, it goes in the garbage or recycle. If you have a lot of high end items, it is a good idea to get them appraised prior to selling them. But keep in mind that there is usually a cost involved having the appraiser come out and a cost to have it appraised, and your items are not worth what you paid for them but what someone is willing to pay for them now. You can put your items in consignment stores which you sometimes get 50% of what they sell it for, but if you have a lot of items, they may not have the room for all of them and they are selective of what they want. With estate or content sales , your items are usually sold in your home with a portion of the sales going to the person holding the sale. This is best to be done after the senior has moved out. Auctioneers work in two ways, they will either come and purchase your items outright and take them away. They later sell the items at their auctions or stores and they keep 100% of what they sell the items for. Or the auctioneer will come and take your items away, put them in their auction and take a percentage of what the items are sold for, and you get the rest. You can have your own Garage Sale or sell some items online and then donate whatever is left over. This method you get to keep 100% of the revenue but is time consuming. I am finding that auctioneers and content sales are becoming more and more popular as it leaves the selling to someone else.

8. At the end of the curb – Prior to garbage day, if you have items that you don’t think the charities will be interested in, but hate to throw it out, try putting it at the curb with a “Free” sign on it. You will be surprised at what some people will take.

9. Don’t hold on to gift giveaways – While working with clients, I often hear “I am going to give this to my daughter”, or “This is my sons”. If so, delegate a space for each person’s belongings and have them pick up their items as soon as possible. The purpose of decluttering is to clear out the house as much as possible.

10. Pictures and Paper – There is usually not enough room to bring all the pictures to a smaller place. Go through the pictures and see if there are any duplicates and ones that you do not remember where they were taken or who is in the picture. Let go of the ones you don’t need anymore. If you still have too many, consider keeping the favorites, and scanning the rest. When it comes to paper, most of it can be shredded or recycled. If it can be found on-line, then you don’t normally need to keep it. Keep the important papers relating to your last 7 years of taxes, birth and death certificates, social insurance cards, marriage license, business license, recent insurance policies and pension documents, mortgage information, vehicle title and loan documents, wills and power of attorney.

11. Ask for help – Downsizing can be emotionally and physically draining. Ask family members or friends to help. If you lack the support you need because your family/friends don’t have the time and energy to help, or they are out of town, consider hiring a professional. Senior Move Managers are there to help every step of the way.

Until next time,

Kathy McEwan is a Professional Organizer, Senior Move Manager, and moving specialist. Her clients are of all ages who could use a seconds set of hands. She is also a member of the Professional Organizers of Canada, the Institute of Chronic Disorganization and has a certificate in Senior Move Management.

Website: www.secondsetofhands.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa