Archive for the ‘Organize your home’ Category

Organize to Sell Your Home

Monday, January 8th, 2024

Organize to Sell Your Home

Are you thinking about selling your home in the next few years? There are so many tasks to accomplish to prepare your home (and yourself) for that fateful day. It’s never too soon to plan. Begin with a dedicated notebook to list your assignments. Let’s break it down by time frame. Here are the traditional tasks and tasks you don’t think about.

BEFORE you even THINK about listing your home

Consider your home sale as a FUTURE investment because the NET proceeds from your sale may determine your financial future. Did I lose you already? Please stay with me!

List (spreadsheet) all of the major improvements you’ve completed. We call these “capital costs.” Organize and summarize your capital costs including dates, contractors and amounts paid. It’s best to have receipts for work completed. These amounts are added to the cost basis (the purchase price) of your home. IRS Publication 523  provides examples of improvements that increase your basis. The higher your capital costs, then the higher your cost basis will be, then the lower your capital gain will be on the sale, resulting in a lower tax on the sale of your home. Are you following me?

I’m trying to save you money on your tax bill in the year you sell your home. It’s easier to accomplish this before listing your home. After listing your home, your time will be spent on home maintenance. Preparing to list your home and each time a potential buyer comes over is stressful and time consuming. After listing your home, your activities should be focused on looking forward to your new destination, not backward on the history of your home.

Plan to list your home

A year or so before putting your home on the market, start to shop around for a realtor or research FSBO. If you hire a realtor, they will be SO IMPRESSSED that you already prepared your cost basis spreadsheet!! If you will be selling through a realtor, decide if you want an exclusive or MLS.

Plan your destination. After your destination is known, plan and select the furniture that fits in your new home. Decide on storage, if needed. Avoid the expense of moving unwanted items.

Start to de-clutter. Too much furniture in a room (or in a closet) makes it look smaller, and your potential buyers want to see spacious rooms. For items that are no longer part of your life, join a Buy Nothing group  and/or register with Freecycle. Give away things to relatives and friends. Donate to charities. Find an ebay seller or sell on your own if you want to try to raise cash. Plan a house sale or tag sale. Begin to remove personal items from your space and organize your sentimental possessions

Tasks to accomplish within one year of the listing

Curb appeal is your first priority. Pay attention to the way the exterior of your home looks in each of the 4 seasons, just in case your home lingers on the market. When a photographer takes pictures for your listing, you want to put your best face forward.

Make a list of necessary repairs (cracks, water stains, broken fixtures, etc.), and get estimates. Repair necessary projects outside and inside the house. Paint interiors a neutral color.

Contact your local building department for any outstanding permits that did not receive a certificate of completion or certificate of occupancy. It will take time if you need to legalize a previous home improvement project. Any innocent neglect to these tasks will result in a delay to sell and move.

Hire an inspector. Few homeowners do this but doing so avoids any surprises from the potential buyer’s inspector and confirms that your home follows current code.

Start packing. Off season clothing and rarely used items can be boxed, labeled and stacked in an unused interior room. Contact a mover to get an idea of moving costs. Leave the packing of heavy, fragile items to the movers. Discuss additional insurance for the highly valuable items you have to move and/or store. Moving is another topic we can address later.

Listing your home for sale

Contract with a realtor. Your realtor will be SO IMPRESSED that you already prepared your cost basis spreadsheet, contacted your local building department and got your home inspected!! Your realtor probably already has a good idea of potential buyers. A flurry of activities are about to begin so you will be so happy that you accomplished all of the above in advance.

Your realtor will arrange for a photographer so your home must be repaired, de-cluttered, clean and appear spacious. Protect your valuables and prescriptions when potential buyers arrive. Arrange for pets to be relocated during viewing. While your home is listed, keep your home clean, neat, and organized.

Last but not least, be kind to your buyer. Prepare documentation of repairs and contractors you hired, garage door openers and codes, warranties for home appliances and instructions for operating smart home or security systems. Be sure you shut off the utilities and Wi-Fi, and cancel any subscriptions. Complete a change of address form at your local post office.

Thanks to Nicole Pyles, Lauren Wellbank and Apartment Therapy for featuring Under Control Organizing on this topic.

Typical places where you may forget to de-clutter

Monday, February 13th, 2023

De-clutter your space

There are SO MANY PLACES where people typically forget to de-clutter.

De-Clutter the “STASH”

First, when you’re expecting company, where do you stash your stuff? Those are the most likely places where people forget to de-clutter. Clutter is simply stuff that’s placed in the wrong space, or forgotten items that accumulated over time. When it’s hid away, there’s usually no thought given to where it belongs. Where is it?

  • Under the bed/ platform bed drawers
  • “Junk” drawer(s)
  • Inside cabinets with doors that HIDE stuff
  • Bottom of closets

The Hidden Places

There’s also the stuff that’s under or behind the items you use most:

  • Back end of the drawers – the clothing and accessories that got stuffed back as new ones came in
  • Medicine cabinet – Makeup and sundries
  • Kitchen cabinets – storage containers and utensils

The Rarely Used Places

Of course, there’s the collections and papers that we only use once a year:

  • Top of closets with seasonal items
  • File drawers, Prior years’ tax papers

Don’t forget digital clutter!!!!

How to De-Clutter

Wherever those places are, here are the best ways to go about de-cluttering them:

Avoid the spontaneous stash by visualizing a place for everything. Think ahead and designate a category for your belongings. Labeling your spaces is a good reminder of where stuff belongs. Spend some time at the end of each day putting stuff away. Clutter is just homeless items. Once you get into the routine, you will have no more homeless items.

I find the best method for busy people to tackle clutter is to schedule an uninterrupted appointment with yourself. Decide on a small area to start (like a drawer), and set a timer for 30 minutes. Sort out the stuff into defined categories. See how far you get (in your designated time frame), then put it all away for another 30 minutes. The key to success is leaving enough time to clear the deck.

How to Maintain Organization

Here’s some guidance for maintaining limited spaces and keeping them tidy. When one new item comes in, 1-2 go out. When buying new clothes, accessories or cosmetics, think ahead about where they will be stored. If you’re unable to let go of items, there’s always the option of (temporary) storage rooms. There’s always a price to pay for accumulating.

Finally, if you have difficulty de-cluttering on your own, enlist the help of an accountability buddy. This is someone you trust with whom you share your goals. They should help keep you on track without judgement.

Make the process of de-cluttering a game. Make it fun and motivating.

For more ideas, read this terrific article to the end https://www.realhomes.com/advice/places-you-forget-to-declutter-and-organize  which features Under Control Organizing as well as another Professional Organizer.

The Right Strategy for Paring Down

Monday, October 9th, 2017


“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
– – A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh

Before you tackle your next organizing project, will you plan and strategize?  What motivates and inspires you?

I have helped 600+ individuals to successfully accomplish their organizing goals with solid plans and strategies.  I believe that there is no “right” strategy.  As your personality is unique from your friends and relatives, so are your styles to succeed.  We cannot compare our stuff with others’, nor can we compare our ways and lives with that of others’.  Each project and each individual is unique, and there are so many different strategies to pare down and/or organize your “stuff”. 

Recently, a new client asked for my help.   Sheila (fictitious name, real person) had experience paring down possessions, but this time it was too emotional for her to do alone.  Her mom had passed away, and the home needed to be cleared out.  Sheila was afraid that she would procrastinate and it would not get accomplished.  Her budget was limited, too.

Sheila accepted my first recommendation which was to complete a specific task on her own within one week.  Sheila completed her assignment successfully. She trusted the idea to work with me virtually to achieve ultimate success, and keep her expenses low. Her next assignment was also completed on time. I estimated the project to complete in six months, this was agreeable to Sheila.

With my feedback, advice and encouragement, Sheila was motivated and held accountable for her success.  Her organizing/paring down project was completed in 3 months….way ahead of schedule. The strategy, that I recommended to Sheila, worked! 

Part of our strategy was to start with easy decisions.  The easier the decision, then the organizing process flowed.  If you start with the hard decisions, one could get stuck.  I vote for easy, and small changes over time.  Leo Tolstoy, the great author of War and Peace, knew that great success was achieved by taking baby steps. He said, “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.”   Taking baby steps give us a chance to experience the changes in our lives.  When we give ourselves time to make decisions, (to keep or eliminate our things, relationships and/or relationship(s) with things or people), we have great opportunities for success.

The industry of Professional Organizing officially began in 1985 by a handful of bold women.  Today, there are thousands of professional organizers in the world, each having a specialty, unique personality, style and philosophy. Marie Kondo, a new popular author of simplifying, emphasizes that if “the thing” does not resonate with you, “it” no longer belongs in your life.  That makes for an easier decision to keep or eliminate. 

Be successful at organizing your space and your life.  Make thoughtful decisions to keep or eliminate, and organize the “best way” for you.

Winnie the Pooh and his friends gave everyone, at every age, a sense of joy, adventure, loyalty and accomplishment.  Allow them to be inspiration for your next organizing project.

Twenty Five (25)

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Twenty Five (25)

When you think of 25, what comes to your mind?

Twenty five is:

  • also known as quarter of a century
  • the number of cents in a quarter
  • the atomic number of Manganese
  • the number typically reserved for the best slugger in Baseball
  • the name of Breckenridge Brewery American Porter Style Beer
  • the name of George Michael’s (rest in peace) 2016 greatest hits album

Twenty-five is also 24 + 1 hours in a day, enjoyed once a year at the vernal equinox.

And, June 2017 marks the 25th year anniversary of my business, Under Control Organizing.  

It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years since I started organizing professionally. In 1992, when I began Under Control Organizing, I knew that I had the ability to assist, teach, motivate, and guide others toward a more organized life. My career tests had demonstrated strength in “organizing”, and I deeply felt that I could successfully share that gift with others.  

I am honored to have helped almost 700 individuals with their spaces, paper, “stuff” and lives.  The spectrum of these organizing projects over the past 25 years is wide. They include simplifying, right-sizing, enhancing productivity, and managing transitions into different phases of life. The relationships that developed from these projects was not predictable, and certainly a bonus.

Many requests which began with sadness, frustration, embarrassment and/or shame, ended in elation, hope and pride. Closets, cabinets, storage rooms, RV homes, (home) offices, kitchens, attics, garages, playrooms, and art studios are some of the spaces that I tackled with my clients.  Those spaces held supplies, collections, files, inherited items, minutiae and prized possessions. From arranging furniture for maximum functionality, identifying and sorting “like things together” for easier access, tabulating spreadsheets to keep track of costs, and managing digital files for cloud access, each individual and situation has been unique.  I have always said that there is no cookie cutter solution to organizing challenges, and the results of the past 25 years have proved that notion.

Some of my current organizing projects include:

  • Downsizing homes, offices and storage for retirement or transition
  • Planning moves to smaller homes
  • Settling into new homes
  • Modifying living and work spaces for better efficiency and comfort
  • Managing paper, digital files and cloud storage
  • Tackling your unique “situation”

I am grateful, to all of my customers (and those who referred you to me) over these last 25 years, for your trust in me to “invade” your homes, offices and lives. You can count of me to be there for your next organizing challenge. In the words of Robert Frost, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

Simple Ways to Streamline your Life, Be More Productive and Stay Organized

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Praying for Organization?

Start with a few simple ways to streamline your life, be more productive and stay organized:

Manage your schedule

  • Send yourself reminders via email, app or electronic calendar.
  • Set up a separate inbox for your reminders, and check it daily.
  • Use a family calendar to track family commitments.
  • Eliminate multiple calendars, or be sure to synchronize.
  • Set up a grab and go area near your exit to remember to bring items with you when you go out.

Pare down paper

  • Pay as many bills online as you can.
  • Remember to maintain receipts if they are tax-deductible expenses.
  • Find what you need, when you need it: set up a simple format and naming convention to scan and to file. Please remember to back up. If you don’t keep the paper as back up, save to a hard drive or cloud storage.

Eliminate electronic clutter

  • Reduce stress and anxiety resulting from the overwhelm of feeling buried.
  • Unsubscribe from e-offers and emails that are no longer relevant to you.
  • Clear out your Inbox by creating folders for important senders/categories.

Filing

  • No one LIKES to file (except for me). Make it easy on yourself, or set up a simple system, for paper and electronic matter, so that anyone can put your stuff away.

De-clutter your space(s)

  • Surround yourself in an environment that represents who you are.
  • Free up valuable space.
  • Start with the EASY decisions. Choose to keep or eliminate. Get to know what you have.
  • Set aside 10-15 minutes a day: with a notebook and pen, walk room to room, closet to closet, drawer to drawer, until your entire home/office is inventoried. Bookmark where you left off each day so that you can pick up where you left off. This may take a month or more overall to complete. The process will force you to eliminate items that you no longer want.

For more easy ways to streamline your life, be more productive and to stay organized, contact me. We can quickly brainstorm your unique life situations to transform your life to an organized life.

Organizing a Closet

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

RimbergBeforeToUseDo you have a closet that looks like this? Or worse?

Could you find what you needed in this closet?

Scroll down to see the results of a few hours of professional organizing help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RimbergAfterToUseE-mail Marcia to get your closets in order.

Spring “Organizing”

Monday, June 6th, 2011

SPRING-TIME ORGANIZING!!!!! It can be a chore, and it can be invigorating. Make time to clear out your closets and mud rooms from the winter necessities. Clean and store all of those winter items such as hats, gloves, scarves, boots, coats, long underwear and sweaters in durable containers. Add some whole cloves (yes, from the kitchen shelves) to ward off moths and bugs. Be sure they are stored in areas that are not prone to high heat and/or high humidity. Make room for all of your spring/summer items that you stored last November. Give all of those items a second look. Will you really wear them this season? Consider donating or consigning your gently used or unused clothing and accessories. It’s a great way to raise some needed cash or a tax deduction for the following year’s filing. Consider your jewelry box as well. If you have jewelry that you longer wear, you may enjoy seeing it worn by a daughter, niece or cousin. Or, trade it in for cash while the price of gold is so high. Spring-time organizing can be a chore, and it can be invigorating.