Clutter Control – Top reasons why clutter builds up at home and in the office

 

By Janet Flint

Ever asked yourself “How did this room/closet/space get so out of control?  Many of us are attracted to clean surfaces, seeing the lines in the room and furniture.  Even so, surfaces to become workbenches then storage areas. No judgement here, it’s just that there is a gap between how we imagine living and how we roll most of the time. That’s what I love about having company over, it helps me reset, tidy and redesign to the best my place can be, bringing attention to the space, objets d’art, mood, food and people.

Let’s consider why we let clutter cling to surfaces:

  1. We don’t have a specific place to put it.
  2. Storage spaces are full.
  3. If we aren’t sure exactly how we will use it next, it gets caught up in the “what-ifs”.
  4. We have attachment to the fate of some items once we let go of them.
  5. We think we might sell it on ebay, Craigslist or one of those new apps.

Sell it? Some people do make money on ebay – it takes time to research value, take photos, write up something and then you pay shipping or have to meet someone. Remoov is definitely the easiest way out of that maze.

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Marie Kondo wrote that brilliant little book “the life-changing magic of tidying up”. One jewel I use often in my work as a professional organizer is this, she said: “Storage should reduce the effort it takes to put things away, not to get them out.”  I find that if tidying takes too long, we are less likely to do it every day, so we end up with things in piles again. With that in mind let’s consider these strategies for organizing and decluttering.

Storage space. (That’s not the kitchen counter.)  One way to get started is to look at all your storage space and make a map of what you want to keep where, then make labels, for example, “reserved for games”. That way when sorting other areas, the games have a place to go AND you can tell when the dedicated space is full. You already decided that’s how much of your valuable space you wanted to devote to games, supplies, collections, tools, whatever.

The “what-if” is interesting. If you find yourself saying “I might need that someday if…”, get specific. How will you be using it? What activity will you be doing? Is that activity on your bucket list? We only have so many days on this beautiful planet! What do you want to be doing, and will those items help you get to them?

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Most organizing projects follow the path of a gross sort, assess the volume of a category, storage decisions, then finer sort and purge to fit the reality of that dedicated space. The gross sort should have a few broad categories so that the work goes quickly.  Once you have “like-with-like” you can make sound decisions about how much to keep and how the category is serving you. The work gets easier with a little practice like going to the gym. The first few workouts seem excruciatingly long, but the more familiar the task, the faster the time seems to fly.  Tip of the day – when sorting a pile take one item at a time and make a decision about where it goes. Don’t set it aside in a new pile of undecideds.

What is the fate of the let-go items?  Organizers understand how important it can be to know that those things you are letting go of not go to the landfill if they are still usable, and it can be important to recover some value. While I have a good eye for art and antiques, I don’t pretend to know their value, so I rely on experts like Remoov. It’s important to keep the process moving or sometimes the entire project gets stalled. If we call Goodwill or Salvation Army and they take 3 weeks to arrive then refuse some of the stuff (usually the big stuff!), the items are in the way that whole time and blocking energy and the satisfaction that comes from a freshly cleared space. Remoov takes everything you might find at an estate sale, and makes responsible decisions about what sells, donates or goes to recycling and the landfill.  Thank you to Luis Perez and the team at Remoov!

Janet Flint is the owner of Space and Time Organization.

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A little color takes the chaos out of moving

By Joan McCreary

 

When we move, there is inevitably a lot of stuff we don’t want to take with us.  But with the furniture and things we DO want to keep still hanging around before the packing begins, it can get a bit crazy trying to keep track of what we want to do with each item in the house.  One trick used by professional organizers can greatly ease this stress.  We use colored masking tape to tag items that have a targeted destination.

 

Start by making a color coded reference sheet and posting in a central spot.  You might choose Blue for Move, Beige for Give to Friends, Green for Sell, Brown for Donate, Black for Trash, and Red for Keep Out/Important.  Or you might just choose Green for Remoov, who will take care of all disposal options!

 

When we start looking about for what decisions are still to be made, these colored tags quickly tell the brain that disposition has already been decided, and the eyes go on to find the pieces that have yet to be tagged.  When it’s time for packing up, it’s a simple matter to skip the items that are not tagged for Move or Packing.

 

Try putting a little color in your moving preparations and ease the stress of moving.

 

Joan McCreary is the owner of JMPO Estate and Home Organizing

 

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Donations go further under new Tax Laws

2018 brings sweeping changes to tax laws under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in December of 2017. One of the major changes in this bill is how donations are handled.

Itemization is a line that only 28% of tax payers take advantage of according to Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. But with the new tax codes taking an effect in 2018, tax payers will be motivated to start tracking more donations. Bunching your donations and having more itemization will help you recover some of the tax breaks you lose with the new $10,000 limit on state and property tax deductions.

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Source: Forbes

Let’s say a couple filing jointly files the new maximum property and state tax deduction, which is now $10,000. And, they paid around $8,000 in the year for their mortgage. If the couple typically gives $4,000 a year to their favorite charity, they can bunch up their charitable giving and donate $8,000 instead. So, they’re able to enjoy the tax deduction the next year.

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While the initial cash value that you will have to upfront may be high, it is something to be aware of as you go throughout the year under these new tax laws. Getting yourself over the edge utilizing “bunching” and itemization could be a valuable investment under the new tax codes.

By: Matt Samuelson

What happens to your recycling?

When you work with Remoov, we do our best to find a new home for your items. If your items cannot be sold or donated, we take the recyclable materials to Recology’s Sunset Scavenger recycling center.

We were curious about what happens to your items, after we drop them off at Sunset Scavenger.

According to Jennifer at Recology, items are sorted both mechanically and by hand. 700 tons of recyclable materials are “de-mingled” each day, and are placed in the appropriate sorting pile.

The next step in the recycling process is to sell the recyclable materials to different manufactures, who then use these materials to produce new items. Manufactures are continuously finding new ways to create items that are made from reused materials, which is good news for the environment.

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According to Jennifer, “Some of the items we receive are sold to manufacturers in California, typically glass and paper. The majority of recyclable materials are sent overseas.”

Many people question whether the recycling process is worth the time and expense. Others believe the recycling process produces more carbon emissions than it saves.

“Even though it takes energy and more manpower to recycle, recycling creates jobs, preserves natural resources, and reduces toxic waste and the amount of garbage sent to landfills,” states Jennifer. “There is extreme value in recycling, which is one of the reasons there is such a big movement for recycling education and outreach.”

Here at Remoov, we believe recycling is one of the best ways we can take care of our environment and ourselves. We are committed to reducing waste in the world, by increasing the recycling and reuse of products.

Compulsory Minimization

        “Downsizing” has grown from a trend to a movement. Despite the average home growing 1,000 square feet larger in the past 45 years, young people are living in smaller spaces. Housing prices, financial constraints, and social trends are creating an environment of “compulsory downsizing” — forcing people to live in shrinking spaces while simultaneously creating disruptions in various markets.

Compulsory Downsizing in the Bay Area is fueled by these 4 urban realities.

  1. Real estate prices in San Francisco have skyrocketed. The median home value in San Francisco has risen to well over 1 million dollars while rent prices often exceed $4,000.
  2. Wage growth stagnates behind rising living costs. The average wage in San Francisco is approximately $85,000 and the average American spends approximately 30% of their income on rent which amounts to a budget of $2,100 for the average San Franciscan. That price could rent a space in a house of 30 near SOMA or a 5 bedroom house Austin, Texas.
  3. Fewer people live alone. High costs of living and an emergence of the “sharing-economy” has people distributing housing costs amongst their peers. Zillow reports that in 2014, “doubled up households” (a household containing an additional adult besides the primary owner[s]) have grown to encompass an average of 32.8% of all households in the United States — as opposed to 25.4% back in 2000.
  4. Minimalism is catching on. “Less is more” is evolving from a trend to a movement. Technology, environmental concerns and the desire for mobility have all contributed to popularizing a lifestyle with less stuff.

Markets are getting disrupted in 3 ways.

  1. Less stuff is becoming more attractive. According to the research group eMarketer, millennials are spending less on material possessions while placing more emphasis on experiential purchases like travel.
  2. Surprisingly, millennials are moving around less. High real estate costs, student debt, lower marriage rates and lower reproductive rates mean that 25 to 34-year-olds now move less than their counterparts from 1995.
  3. It has become harder to get rid of stuff. People, especially older couples, are finding that the process of downsizing is becoming more time-consuming. Companies like the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity are pickier with the items they accept for donation. Meanwhile, a migration of consumers to online platforms has created dozens of websites to sell used goods which can complicate the seller process.

The concept of American homeownership has evolved. The dream of a suburban home and 2 children have been replaced with small urban apartments and hopes of paying off student debt. Remoov simplifies the downsizing, moving and/or the decluttering process. Just send us photos of the items that you would like to get removed then schedule a pickup. For all of your unwanted clutter, we can sell items on your behalf (you pocket 50% of the profit), donate (you receive the tax write-offs), recycle or dispose of it. With a single pickup, an entire home can be decluttered.

 

by David Webb