July 12, 2016
By Tracy Polgar, MORe Now Contributor
The Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® hosted a Senior Expo which showcased experts like Jennifer Prell, the President of Paxem, Inc., a senior move management service.
Jennifer’s mantra? “Helping seniors during their time in need, our main goal is to improve the lives of our clients.” When it comes to organizing, de-cluttering, and moving, Jennifer has tips, when put into action, that can easily create an uncluttered space, but also prepare your house for future needs and limitations.
According to Jennifer, the main goals for decluttering and organizing are:
• To simplify your living space
• Use organization tools wisely to allow for more storage
• Provide more open spaces for mobility
• Create a kitchen with tidy counter tops
• Bring in more light to illuminate work stations and high traffic areas
It’s important to have a plan, which is the first step in Jennifer’s “3 Ps” approach to organization.
#1 - Planning
Figure out your time frame. When do you want to get yourself organized? If you are moving, then you have a designated deadline. If your interest lies in creating a more user-friendly space, then make a deadline. Hold yourself accountable.
How will you dispose of unwanted items? Does your daughter want one of your five sets of dishes? Give them to her! Whatever you are not going to throw away, but do not need, contact a local charity for convenient pick up. Do allow four weeks for an organization to come to your home; that way, you have a preset deadline.
Stay Focused. Write everything down and stay focused on the task at hand. Post-its are a fantastic tool because you can move items on the list in order of urgency and remove them when the task is complete.
Get family involved - but only if they are not a part of the problem. Support is best during this time for organizing and decluttering. So if a particular family member is discouraging you from fine-tuning your life, don’t invite them over while you’re working. Select a team that will keep you focused and not enable any behavior that will undermine your mission.
Purchase necessary items. Boxes, cleaning supplies, trash bags, etc., are great - but only if you are going to use them. Keep a measuring tape on hand so you know the exact size you need for organizing containers, shelving, and trays. When you purchase cleaning supplies, resist the urge to go overboard. There are many disinfecting wipes for multi-surface cleaning available that are easy to use and portable.
#2 - Preparing
Ask yourself: how many do I really need? You probably do not need 30 towels or a canned good for every day of the year. Be honest while you are going through the process of decluttering.
Figure out how to get rid of chemicals. Many items should not be simply thrown in the garbage. If you have an overabundance of chemicals, paints, ammonia, etc., Waste Management has an easy guide that labels specific items and how you can dispose of them safely.
#3 - Purging
It may seem overwhelming to physically start the process of decluttering and cleaning, so Jennifer suggests to simply pick a space. “Declutter, clean, and organize that one space and then move on.”
Jennifer also recommends you work when you have the energy and try to declutter right before garbage day so the bags you have accumulated are removed immediately and not lying around your home.
“Collections are okay, but contain what you want to keep so you are not tripping over your treasured items,” says Jennifer.
Tips for Tricky Spaces:
Plastic rectangular baskets are multipurpose and will contain drips and potential spills of chemicals that will eventually ruin the floors of cabinets. These boxes can be washed and used in many different areas. Jennifer advises to always choose rectangular baskets, not round, as circular items take up too much space.
Tension rods allow for items to be brought up and out of the way when you are lacking appropriate shelving. Spray bottles can be hung by the handle, and jewelry can easily be organized hanging from an “S” hook on a tension rod.
Plastic risers double your space and help gather like items together. These are especially handy in a pantry or anywhere you need extra shelving.
Drawer organizers are helpful, but make sure you measure first and select a rectangular system. If you are good at re-purposing, use items on hand like old checkbook boxes or gift boxes, for example, instead of purchasing new. The shiny-coated boxes are best as they can be wiped down and do not attract bugs.
Once you have removed the items from the space, make sure that you replace no more than half back in the cabinet unless you use the item every day.
Jennifer and her team at Paxem, Inc., are solution oriented and work to accommodate all requests efficiently and respectfully.
“We believe that moving and organizing doesn't have to be stressful,” says Jennifer. “We understand the complexities involved with making a major life change.”
Keep the Conversation Going
Give us your decluttering and organizing successes, horror stories, tips, ideas and resources in the comments below!