Tips for Buying and Selling Your Home

5 Organizing Tips When Selling Your Home!

1. Start Early.

Give yourself plenty of time to find a reputable real estate agent, lawyer, mortgage broker, professional organizer, painter etc.

2. Declutter at least 3 months before you plan on moving.

Start with one area or room and decide what you want to keep, donate, sell etc. Let go of what you do not need and want. When one area is complete, move on to the next. This is an important step because you will not want to take the time to pack and unpack stuff you don’t want, also you won’t want to pay movers to move stuff that you don’t want or need. If you find this step overwhelming, then reach out to a professional organizer to help you.

3. Don’t wait until your home is sold to start packing.

Pack up items you will not need while your home is up for sale. Label boxes and put a red sticker or a different colour moving tape on all boxes to let you know that these items are not as important to unpack right away. After you pack them up, put them away in an area that will be out of the way, such as your basement or garage. These items may include off season items such as seasonal clothes or holiday items.

4. Use a planner.

Either electronic or hard copy and start keeping track of all your appointments that you will be having ex. mortgage broker, lawyer etc. Also, keep track of all the business cards/phone numbers and receipts of lawyers, real estate agents, handy man etc. and keep them all in one place ex. a binder.

5. Book Movers and buy packing supplies.

This should be done 6 to 8 weeks before moving day. Order boxes, bubble wrap, paper, tape, and specialty boxes such picture boxes. If you don’t have the time to get supplies or pack, feel free to reach out to us for help. We would love do all the work for you, so you can focus on other important tasks that need to be done.

5 Organizing Tips When Buying a Home

1. Mortgage

Visit your mortgage broker right away to discuss your needs. Once you know how much your budget allows, it will give you a better understanding on what your target market will be.

2. Real Estate Agent

Make a list of your top “wants” for your new home and pass it on to your Agent.

3. Take measurements.

Check room dimensions of your new home. Take measurements of furniture, pictures, mirrors, bedframes etc. and make sure larger furniture will fit through the door and fit in the assigned rooms. Draw a floor plan!

4. Change of Address.

After you have bought your dream home and a month before your move, don’t forget to change your address at the post-office.

5. Notify.

Notify your doctor/dentist office, children’s school, employer’s human resource department, banks, brokerage firms, magazines and newspapers, credit card, insurance, telephone, cable and utility companies of your change of address . Don’t forget to change your driver’s license and update your health card too!

If you are moving and would like more tips or help with decluttering, packing or unpacking your home, please feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to help.

Kathy McEwan

Professional organizer, moving specialist and owner of Second Set of Hands

Kathy McEwan, Professional Organizer


perfectionism, perfect, goals, time management, organized, organize


Do you struggle with organizing your home because you want your home to look perfect? Do you feel like you will not do a good enough job when organizing your home?

Often my clients say they don’t know where to start and they feel overwhelmed, and that is very true, but sometimes what is holding them back from getting started is perfectionism. They have high standards. They love Pinterest and Instagram for the beautiful pictures of organized homes, but feel like they will never be able to achieve that look for their own home. This may be true because many people need the help and guidance of a professional organizer and possible designer, but that is ok. It is ok to reach out for help.

When our standards are too high, we often feel discouraged. We feel like a failure. We are not happy, even when there have been major positive changes in regards to our homes getting organized. We feel like what we have accomplished is not enough.

Your home doesn’t have to be perfect, gosh mine isn’t, but instead it can be neat and tidy, functional and a relaxing environment for you to live in. I am far from perfect, and chances are you are not perfect either, and that is okay.

Features of Perfectionism
1. Never satisfied with completed work
2. Unrealistic goals and standards
3. Highly self-critical
4. Self-worth linked to success
5. High level of worry and anxiety
(Gould, 2012)

Follow these tips and you will become less of a perfectionist and happier with yourself and your work.
1. Tell yourself “it doesn’t have to be perfect”
2. Lower your expectations. Try not to set your goals too high
3. Celebrate the progress you have made and not perfection
4. Learn what should be perfect and what doesn’t have to be (Ex. If you take your car in to get the breaks repaired, they should be done perfect so that there is no chance of having a car accident. However, when asking your 6 year old child to fold his/her laundry, it doesn’t have to be perfect.)

Is there anything you struggle with because you don’t think you will do a good job? If so, leave a comment below. I would love to help you so you can succeed in accomplishing your goals.

Until next time,
Kathy xxoo

If you struggle with getting organized, and would like some help, please contact Kathy for a free half hour consultation where you can discuss your goals and what is holding you back.

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer and productivity expert. Kathy and her team have helped 100’s of clients get organized with in-person organizing or via coaching calls. Let Kathy help you!

Feeling stressed

Feeling Stressed

Do you find there is not enough time in the day? Is your life or work spinning out of control? Do you lack energy to get everything you want done? If so, you are not alone. I am hearing this from my clients all the time, and I too feel that way at times, or at least I start to feel that way. When I do feel that way, changes need to be done. We need to step back and take a look at all that we do each day. That is what I did recently and I want to share the changes that I did to help me have a more productive day and have less stress.

For me, it is not about raising children while working. I have been there and I will share how I was able to raise 5 kids, make supper for 7 people, do laundry for 7 people etc. and still be productive and happy at home and work. I will be sharing the changes I made so that my day went smoothly and was way less stressful during a different video or article which will be coming soon. So stay tuned!

Running on empty
Recently, I felt that I had too much on my plate regarding my business, Second Set of Hands, and I knew changes had to be made. I was working with clients approximately 4 hours a day, plus travel time which sometimes added another 2 hours. So that is 6 hours a day that was spent on working with clients and traveling to and from their home. Then I had to do all the rest of the work that is required while running a business. That included, posting in social media (twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn), writing blogs, working on presentations, scheduling clients, answering emails, returning phone calls, networking and so much more. It became impossible to do it all.


Changes that I am making
When we have too much to do, we need to cutback. It is as simple as that. As much as I love working hands on with my clients to help them get their home organized, I realized that I need to be more of the project manager and still be involved with my clients, but not do as much of the organizing. Passing that on to someone else was very difficult for me. I believe in going above and beyond for our clients, and wasn’t sure that I would find staff that would be able to do it. That is a mindset thing. I needed to change my mindset.

In the last year or so, I brought on a wonderful organizer, and hired another one a few months ago. I plan to bring on another one sometime between now and spring. My husband is also part of my team, and all my staff have been thoroughly trained by me. Because I need to be in my office more, and still want to work directly with clients, I will be doing more of the coaching calls, mentoring, and developing and doing presentations and workshops. Not saying that I won’t organize anymore, but saying I won’t be doing as much. I am super excited about this change and have a new website (still need to add a bit more information, but getting there), that explains more of what I will be doing ( I made a couple of other changes too.

1. Rented an outside office – best investment I made. I get way more done here than I did at home
2. Hired a bookkeeper to help me with payroll. Love her!

****So what can you do to cutback and outsource? What struggles do you have? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear why you feel that you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything you need done. I would love to help you!

Kathy McEwan

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer and productivity expert who specializes in helping her clients go from overwhelmed to organized. Be sure to pop onto her sister website and let her know how she can help you get organized and have a productive life with less stress.

Sorting through your loved one’s belongings after death

I often get asked, “What kind of clients typically call you for organizing help?” The answer is about 1/3 of our clients are seniors or those with health problems, 1/3 are busy professionals and the remaining third are those who are chronically disorganized. But there is another common factor that my clients often have. I am getting more and more calls from those who have lost a loved one and need help going through their loved ones belongings. This week 3 out of 6 of our clients had lost a loved one, and my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Client A lost both his parents who were elderly, and needed help going through all their belongings in preparation of putting their home up for sale.
Client B lost her husband to cancer. He was only 53 years old.
Client C’s roommate passed away and I believe she was in her thirties.

After losing a loved one, we go through a series of emotions including sadness, overwhelm, and loneliness. Sorting through the personal belongings of your loved one can be extremely overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you with the process.

1. If you are not ready, don’t do it – If you are not pressed for time, then take your time going through the items. Wait until you are emotionally ready.

2. Ask for help – don’t be shy about asking for help. It can be very overwhelming when making decisions on what to keep and what not to, so reach out for help. If you don’t want to ask friends or family members to help you, then consider hiring a professional organizer. PO’s can help you with the decision process, as well as be there for emotional support.

3. Be thorough – Everyone is different during this process, but most people are not excited about going through every little item. But make sure you do because you never know what you might find. I once found a lot of money (over a thousand dollars) stuffed into old papers. My client was very happy with that find.

4. If you don’t want it, ask family and friends if they do – If you come across items that you don’t have room for or don’t want, ask family and friends if they may be interested in them. You may be surprised at what they want.

5. Your loved one would not want you to be drowning in their stuff – I see this often, especially when a parent passes away. Some of my clients have boxes and boxes of their parents stuff and have a hard time parting with them. Please keep in mind, your parents would not want you to have a full basement, garage or home with all their stuff. They would not want you to be overwhelmed by all the stuff. They would want you to let the stuff go.

6. Selling items – when it comes to selling items, there are many different ways to do so ex. Estate sale, auctioneers, antique dealers, on-line auctions, you sell the items etc. Make sure to do your research on how to sell your loved ones items.

7. Memories – Letting go of loved one’s items can be difficult to do, but keep in mind, they are possessions. You will always have memories of your loved one, whether you have their possessions or not. It is ok to keep some items, but you don’t need to keep them all. If there is an item that brings happy memories to you, but it takes up a lot of room, and you really don’t need it, consider taking a picture of it. Pictures take up a lot less space.

Going through a loved ones belongings who has passed away can be tough. It can be very overwhelming, tedious and exhausting. Don’t forget to reach out for help.

Until next time,

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer and owner of Second Set of Hands. If you would like more information on sorting through a loved one’s possessions, or home/office organizing, feel free to fill out the contact form on the About Us page.

*** If you would like to join our free Facebook group called Organizing For Success, feel free to go to and ask to join. We would love to see you there!

11 Best Time Management Tips

Summer is flying by and before you know it, students will be heading back to school. A few years ago, I was an instructor at a local college and I also held Time Management workshops for first year students. Having strong time management skills can reduce stress and enhance students’ grades. Here are some of the tips I used, and new ones, which are ideal for high school students, college or university students.

1. Use a calendar – The type of calendar depends on what you feel the most comfortable using. Some students prefer to use electronic ones, while others use the paper based ones. It doesn’t matter as The best ones to use are weekly ones that have lots of room to make notes.

2. Plan Early – Write down your due dates of your assignments and tests right away. Make Friday your plan your week day. Yup, at the end of the week, plan the following week days using blocks of time for each task leaving room for last minute assignments and other items that might come up. Write down non-academic things too like when you are going to do your laundry, get groceries etc.

3. Create daily to-do lists – Weekly planning is important but daily to-do lists are equally important. Each night plan for you next day. If you have items already on your calendar, just start scheduling other tasks around those items.

4. Don’t procrastinate – Start your assignments, reading material and any other school work right away and try not to leave it to the last minute. Something always tends to come up which could cause you not to be able to finish your work on time, and who wants to be stressed at the last minute?

5. Prior to Class – Before each class, review your notes and reading material. Highlight key points.

6. After Class – After each class, review your notes and write down any questions you may have. If you don’t find the answer to the questions, be sure to ask your instructor.

7. Breakdown big projects into smaller ones – Create due dates for each small part allowing for extra time in case one part takes longer than expected.

8. Form a study group – Schedule time to meet with colleagues and discuss your class lectures, assignments, labs, exams etc. Having a study group is a great way to meet new people, develop friendships, have a support system, and great for studying!

9. Don’t let part-time employment take over your school work – As an instructor I used to see students in this dilemma often, and I although I did understand, it was very hard for the students. If it is possible, try not to take on too many shifts at work if it means it will impact your academic grades and also cause you a lot of stress. In other words, only takes those extra shifts if you really need them.

10. Use your time wisely – There will be lots of time when you will be waiting in line-ups, waiting for your teacher or professor to arrive, waiting for a bus, sitting on a bus, waiting for your next class. Use this time to do your reading or other work that can be done.

11. Save time for family and friends – It is important to have social time. The key is to learn how to balance social time with academic time. Too much social time can lead to poor academic grades and not enough can lead to stress and loneliness. Balance it right and be sure to schedule time in for the important people in your life!

I wish all you students the best of luck with your studies. Reach for your goals and your dreams and you will do great!

Until next time,

Kathy McEwan is a professional Organizer, Consultant and Owner of Second Set of Hands. She has helped numerous clients get organized, gain order and simplify their lives. For more information please visit

Overwhelmed! How do I start to organize?

Do you ever walk into a room that has clutter and feel overwhelmed? Do you feel stressed and want to tidy up the clutter but do not know where to start? I hear this often from my clients. They don’t know where to start so they walk back out of the room and then nothing get’s done. Or they start to tackle an area but they don’t finish it.

I am going to answer some common organizing questions so that you can get started and get organized!


1. Which room do I start with?
Sit down and really think about what room of your home you would like to get organized first. If you only have one room to be organized, then great. If you have several rooms that need organizing, then just pick one. For some people it may be their kitchen so it is easy to make meals and sit down to dinner, for others it may be their office so they can be more productive.

2. How do I get ready to organize? Have a garbage bag, recycle bins, donation bags, shredding box etc. ready and in the room you are organizing. Have everything ready so you rarely have to leave the room

3. Where do I start? You start by just digging right in and tackling a small area. Yes,start small. A drawer, a cupboard, a corner, a counter etc. I tend to start on my left and work around the room. That way you can see progress rather quickly and you are not bouncing from one area of the room to another.

4. Ok, I am ready but how do I organize? Dig right in! You start picking up your items and decide if you want to keep, donate, give to family members, recycle, shred or sell your item. Put all your keep, sell, and give to family or friends items in their own piles. (Keep in mind that giving items to family or friends doesn’t always work because sometimes they do not want your stuff). Put garbage, recycle, and shred items in their bags or boxes. Categorize your keep items, by putting like items together, and organize them in a way that it will be easy for you to find them. Using organizing products can be very helpful as well when getting organized. Ex. containers, file folders, labels etc.

5. I am finding stuff that belongs in another room, do I take them to the rooms they belong to? No, the goal is to stay in the room and finish the tasks on hand. Instead put the items in a pile outside the room, and later bring them to the proper rooms.

6. Do I keep going until I finish the room, or do I take breaks and finish it later? You can absolutely take breaks so that you don’t get too tired. For example, you can grab a quick snack or a coffee/tea, but I would strongly suggest that you set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes, and when the timer goes off, you go back to the room you were organizing. That is the trick, you must go back and continue what you were doing. If there is a lot to organize you do not have to finish it in one day. However, I would suggest that you come back a day or two later and continue on. I don’t suggest you tackling another room until this room is finished.

If you follow these tips you will get organized, and don’t forget to give yourself credit for all the hard work you are doing. Enjoy your successes! You deserve it!

If you don’t have time to organize, or need extra help, please reach out to us. We would love to help you get organized. We provide hands on organizing as well as virtual organizing for those who do not live in our area.

Happy Organizing,

My Story – Questions Answered By Professional Organizer Kathy McEwan

When working with my clients I usually get to know them really well. We go through some of their personal belongings and they often have wonderful stories to tell me. So I thought I would share my story so you can have a better understanding of who I am. There are certain questions that I get asked quite frequently: “How did you get into the business of organizing? Is your home totally organized? What kind of organizing products do you use?” plus many other questions. Here are the answers to some of those questions:

1. How did you get into the organizing business? I knew I wanted to start my own business and it was important to me that it would be a business where I was helping others. I had a degree in Sociology and was working in the Government of Ontario – Ministry of Community and Social Services, when I quit my full-time job and put 100% into Second Set of Hands. A decision I do not regret to this day because I get to get up every day and do what I love.

2. What qualification do you have? I find my degree in Sociology really helps when working with certain clients. I also have certificates in Chronic Disorganization, Time Management and Productivity, Senior Move Management, and Basic ADD issues with the Chronic Disorganization Clients. Also, there will be more certificates to come as I believe in continued education! I am also a member of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). Plus, I have moved 11 times, so I know the inns and out of moving lol

3. Is your home totally organized? Not totally but mostly. I don’t live alone so it can be challenging for me to have family members that are not organized. Also, there are times when I am tired and don’t have time to organize, but because we have systems in place, it doesn’t take long to get organized.

4. Were you always this organized? Yes and No. I always tried to keep my living room, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms organized. There wasn’t really any clutter in those rooms. But I did have some clutter in cupboards, junk drawers and closets. Also, my bedroom was the one room that I kept to the end to tidy up so it was not always perfectly tidy. I am better now though and my cupboards, junk drawers, closet, and bedroom is pretty organized.

5. How did you manage with a family of seven? We are a blended family so we have 5 children. I would be lying if I said that trying to balance all that we had to do was easy, but we did manage. Keeping a home organized, taking the kids to their activities, driving the kids here there and everywhere, making suppers for 7 people, plus working full-time. It wasn’t easy but if you have systems and schedules in place, it is manageable. Four out of five of our children have moved out, so it is easier now, but I really miss having them home.

6. Have you ever worked with a hoarder? I have worked with many clients that could not walk into certain rooms of their homes, including their living room, dining room, basements, spare bedrooms etc. There was not even a path to get into those rooms, and we were able to get those rooms decluttered and organized, and some of the clients have been able to maintain them. But so far, I have not worked with hoarders that are like the hoarding shows that you see on T.V. They often have no running water or hydro, can’t sleep in their beds because of too much stuff on them, have possible dead animals in their homes etc. In those situations, a team of professionals must be present to get the results that are needed. I have taken quite a few hoarding courses and plan on getting a hoarding certificate soon.

7. Do you work alone or with a team? Both. If it is a small job like organizing one small room, then I or one of my team members will tackle it alone. If it is a larger job with several rooms, a basement, or our clients want to get organized quickly, then there will be at least two of us. If there is a lot of packing or unpacking to do, or if heavy lifting is involved, then I bring a team with me to do the job.

8. Do you really enjoy going through all this stuff? Yes we do. A lot of people tell me they could not do what we do, but we love it. We especially like the finished results and seeing how happy and emotional (in a good way) the clients are when it is finished. The clients are so thankful and that is why we do what we do.

9. What is your typical client? I don’t really have a typical client. I work with busy professionals and moms/dads who don’t have the time to organize, pack or unpack. I also work with clients who have health problems or are seniors and can’t do the heavy lifting that is involved. And last, I work with those who do not have the skills to be organized. They want to be able to organize on their own, but need some guidance on how to change certain habits so they can be organized.

10. What are your favourite organizing products? There are quite a few good organizing products on the market, but my favourite is a tie between two products. 1. I absolutely love drawer organizers. You can use them in any room of your home, they come in all different sizes depending on what you want to use them for, they keep your items organized, and it is so easy to find what you are looking for. 2. My other favourite is a lazy susan. They are perfect for those hard to see or reach areas, they come in different sizes, and can be used for many different items.

Lazy susan

Drawer organizers






11. When you are not organizing, what do you like to do? I work a lot! If I am not with a client, then I am usually doing work from home. I especially like spending time with my family and friends. Actually, I wish I had more time to spend with them. I also live in the country on a lake and love to spend my summers outside by the water.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of who I am. If you have any additional questions you would like answered or comments please post below.

Also, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram , twitter and Facebook, and be sure to pass on my information to anyone else you know who might be interested.

Wishing you all the best,

Being Organized is Like a Breath of Fresh Air”. Kathy McEwan

8 Teen Bedroom Organizing Hacks You Will Love

I have been organizing quite a few teen bedrooms lately and wanted to share some ideas that may help you with your teen bedrooms. Teaching your teens to pick up after themselves, clean and organize their rooms will be a different blog all together, but these ideas will help clear the clutter and create great looking bedrooms.

1. Utilize under the bed storage

This simple and stylish bed frame takes advantage of otherwise unused space by creating storage under the bed. If your bedframe does not come with built in storage simply slide labeled bins under the bed to store out of season clothes, old school projects, books etc.

Vito Storage Queen Platform Bed

Via Houzz

2. Install closet organizers

Take advantage of every inch of your teen’s closet by installing closet organizers. Your teen will now have a place to store staple items that usually find themselves in random places or on the floor. Their shoes, bags, belts, and hats now all have their own designated storage area. The closet organizer also allows your teen to separate their clothes by style or type, making putting their laundry away and picking out outfits a lot easier and a lot quicker.

Via Ana-White

3. Hanging Shelves

Hang shelves where your teen can display their trophies, achievements, pictures, and other special moments. This will reduce the clutter on their dresser and desk tops creating an overall cleaner and more organized look.


4. Drawer Organizers

Inserting drawer dividers into your teen’s dresser will help turn clothing chaos into simple and clean organization. The drawer organizers will help keep clothing nicely folded and categorized making it quick and easy for your teen to find what they are looking for.

Via Divine Style

Also good for belts and other small items.


5. Desk with drawers

Give your teen their own personal quiet space to do homework, study, or simply get creative by adding a desk into their bedroom. A desk with lots of storage space is ideal as it will give your teen a place to store their school books, stationery items, or makeup and avoid cluttering the top of their work space.

Via Rhteen

6. Laundry baskets

Provide your teen with a dual sectioned laundry basket. It not only keeps clothes off the floor but also makes doing laundry simple and organized. Whether they are separated by towels and clothes, or lights and darks it makes throwing a load of laundry into the washer that much easier. Keep it simple and keep it organized.

Via Basket Lady

7. Bedside table electronics drawer

Make the best of your bedside table. Create your teens own charging station in the top drawer of their nightstand. This will eliminate the unappealing clutter of cords by hiding them in a drawer. Perfect for storing and charging their everyday electronics such as their phone, tablet, and laptop.

Via How to Decorate

8. Use wall space for your favourite items

Love how they used polygon shape shelving to display favourite items, and having the name in the corner with the strip of orange is an added bonus.

Via Printerinks

Hope you enjoyed these 8 Teen bedroom organizing hacks. Which one did you like best? Do you have any teen bedroom organizing hacks that you would like to share?

Happy organizing,

Like what you see, please follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook You will see lots of organizing tips!

Best Organizing Advice You Will Ever Need

I love organizing and I love helping my clients get organized. While working with clients, I often give them advice, little tips to help with the organizing process. I thought I would share some of them here to help you get organized and stay organized.

1. Start small. Focus on organizing one small area (a kitchen counter, a drawer, a cupboard etc.), and don’t start anything else until that one is done.

2. If you have way too much stuff, organizing will not be enough; you will need to let some things go.

3.When going through your clothes, ask yourself “Would I buy this today?” If the answer is no, then let it go.

4. If you haven’t used it in a year, ask yourself “Do I really need this?”, if not then let it go.

5. Dealing with an elderly parent who needs to downsize or who has passed away is very stressful. Do you really want to leave all this stuff for your children to go through?

6. There are high costs to having clutter.

7. Use clear containers when storing items. Easier to see what is inside.

8. Label your containers and anything else that will make it easier for you to remember what something is or where something goes.

9. Try to finish organizing one room before going to another room. If you come across items that belong in another room, just put them outside of the room you are organizing and when you are done organizing the room, pick up the items and put them away in their proper rooms.

10. One in one out rule. This rule is perfect for clothes or other items you have a lot of. For every item you bring in, you let go of one that you are no longer using.

11. Take a few minutes at the end of the day and tidy up. You will feel better waking up in the morning to a tidy home.

12. Get your clothes, items you need for work, lunches, etc. ready then night before.

13. Clean your kitchen while you are cooking and again after you are finished eating. If you do this daily, there won’t be much to clean.

14. Keep like items together in one spot.

15. Use a filing cabinet for your files and at the end of the year, go through the files and recycle or shred what you no longer need.

16. Before you buy it, stop and really think about whether you need it.

17. Make a change. In order to really stay organized, you have to change your habits.

18. Don’t give up. You may feel overwhelmed and want to give up, but don’t. You will be very happy you didn’t.

19. Ask for help. If you really can’t do it on your own, ask family or friends to help you, or hire a professional organizer that can help you get organized and stay organized.

20. Sit back, relax and enjoy your new organized home.

I hope these tips will help you get organized and stay organized. Feel free to comment explaining which ones you found the most helpful, or if you have any organizing advice you would like to add.

Happy Organizing,

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