Vote to Clean House – And Help Veterans

Greetings, readers! The Organizing Blog is back from its six-month pandemic hiatus — and just in time for a presidential election that’s sure to be contentious. Today, get out and exercise your right to vote if you haven’t already.

You may be in the mood to “clean house” with your vote, given the disruptions COVID-19 has brought to everyday life. Are you better off than you were four years ago? Hard to say — but life pre-COVID was almost certainly less stressful.

House is also where you’ve probably been spending a lot of time since March — and you and your family members may be confined there again if the current spikes in coronavirus infections don’t abate before winter.

After you’ve voted, binge-watched your Netflix shows and baked a loaf of sourdough, you may look around your home and find that spending lots of time there has led to added dirt and clutter. And that means it may be a good time to literally clean house.

Maybe you bought a lot of extra stuff online that you later found out you didn’t need in lockdown. Maybe working from home or switching the children to remote learning has created new, voluminous piles of papers. Or maybe the boredom and added wear have you wanting to overhaul the space altogether.

Whatever the reason you want to clean house, remember the nation’s veterans as you declutter, organize and sanitize your space. Donate the stuff you no longer want or need to ClothingDonations.org; we’re again scheduling pickups in many areas.

Veterans are vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. Most Vietnam vets, for example, are now over 65, and many have preexisting conditions that could make a coronavirus infection life-threatening. And they, too, feel isolated and uncertain in their homes.

The stuff you donate gets resold at secondhand stores to fund programs that provide veterans with health care, housing and other resources. Box it up as you clean house and  then arrange for a #donation pickup online at ClothingDonations.org or by calling 888-518-VETS.

You’ll not only be able to enjoy a cleaner, clutter-free home, but also help veterans feel more secure in theirs.

So You Shopped the President’s Day Sales

Happy President’s Day!

We at the Organizing Blog know that we’re a little late in telling you this, but since retailers were trotting out the deals over the long weekend, you may have celebrated your day off shopping for mattresses, furniture or other household goods.

Having recently moved in to a new home, we did the same. And some of the discounts were incredible! But that doesn’t mean we bought a lot — some things weren’t that great a deal, most we didn’t need, and many would have created more problems than they solved.

Unless you’re starting over, any decorative item or piece of furniture you buy is likely redundant. If you’re short on space, you need to make sure whatever you buy actually replaces an existing item, or you’ll wind up surrounding yourself with #clutter.

You can buy things and still avoid this problem. Is your living room already crowded with furniture and knickknacks? One new couch might be able to do the work of two old loveseats, or a new wall unit could help you make sense of what’s on display.

Some furniture — like beds frames with storage underneath — can actually create space by offering a place to store some of your stuff out of sight. But you’ll need to observe a strict out-with-the-old policy to avoid #clutter.

With large items like beds, mattresses and couches, the ultraminimalist one in/two out rule doesn’t always apply. But be sure to get rid of the one old thing as quickly as you find its replacement, and donate it to ClothingDonations.org if it has some life left in it.

For smaller stuff, make an attempt to find two items in the same category to get rid of as soon as something else enters the inventory. This will preserve the thrill of the shopping “hunt” while slowly downsizing your possessions — or at least keeping them in check.

Observe this simple #decluttering rule, and before you know it, any new stuff you find at the weekend sales will help your home look brand new, stylish and spotless, and the old stuff that survives will consist only of things you truly cherish.

You don’t necessarily have to stop shopping to keep the #clutter at bay!

When Opposites Attract… Clutter

Whether you find yourself attached, dating or happily single this season, everyone will admit that opposites sometimes do attract. No two people are exactly alike, and as much as they might have in common, they may differ substantially in a couple of areas.

Astrological horoscopes promise to match people based on the broad tendencies ascribed to one’s star sign or the alignment of the planets at birth, while dating services and mobile apps use questionnaires and algorithms to come up with a range of compatible singles.

But what if you and your significant other (or roommate, or family member) differ in terms of #cleanliness and #clutter? And what if we’re not just talking The Odd Couple? What if one of you is Marie Kondo, and the other should be on A&E’s Hoarders?

If there’s no conflict, there’s no problem. Your relationship is probably healthy in other areas, and you likely make up for, or complement each other’s skills and shortcomings. You may already take on different household tasks according to affinity.

But if your other’s clutter causes you to clash, you must tackle the problem head-on. The first rule is to communicate, says Refined Rooms. Ask yourself why the clutter frustrates you or makes life more difficult, and tell them.

#Decluttering is a teachable skill, so consider hiring a professional #organizer to show you how to get a start on getting that stuff in check. Finally, learn to compromise on acceptable levels of clutter or create clutter-free zones in your home.

If, on the other hand, you are the cluttering partner, consider the formative influences that may have made you that way. Are you are ready to let them go or work through them, and actively manage your stuff in order to create a more harmonious home?

ClothingDonations.org can help with a donation pickup whenever you and a partner are ready to get rid of some of the disused and unwanted things in your home. In reselling the extra stuff to benefit veterans, we can also contribute to our donors’ happy relationships.

But “Trying to force anyone — your partner, your roommate, even yourself — to change completely is futile,” The Cut says. “A better strategy is to work together to set realistic boundaries and expectations — a process that starts with each side examining their own motivations for feeling the way they do about clutter.”

Have a happy, healthy and #clutterfree Valentine’s Day!

Don’t Stress About Cleaning — Streamline Instead

Lots of people put off their household cleaning tasks because there are other, more fun things they could be doing. Chores are the work you do voluntarily, and they are often more fun to see completed than they are to do.

With busy schedules, it’s hard to find the time to clean, much less the motivation. But believe it or not, if you can make starting those chores less of an issue, completing them will come more easily.

You may find that cleaning is less of a burden if you put individual tasks on a schedule. This “makes sure that everything that needs cleaning gets cleaned,” Lifehacker says, [and] makes sure that you never tackle too much at one time and get overwhelmed.”

Another strategy is to clean in short bursts every day so that it seems like a routine part of the day rather than an exceptional burden. Dedicate 15-30 minutes to cleaning something — anything — every day, and eventually, everything will be spotless.

To prepare, assemble a complete selection of cleaning supplies for various areas of the home, along with sponges, rags, mops and other implements. Then put on some music or a podcast and begin, and cleaning will happen almost on autopilot.

Once you get into a rhythm, you may find you spend lots of your time moving stacks of papers, dusty knick-knacks and other stuff around in order to clean. That’s #clutter, and if you can get rid of it, household cleaning will become less strenuous.

Eliminate some of that clutter as you clean. Box important papers and put them in storage. Get rid of some tchotchkes you don’t really want to look at (or dust) every day. Fold the laundry, and set aside anything that no longer fits. Bag the castoffs and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup.

Without having to work around all that extra junk, cleaning will become easier. Sans clutter, many areas of the home will take less time to clean, and you’ll get more done in the time that you can dedicate to such chores.

When you see the results, you’ll no longer have the stress that a cluttered, messy and dirty home can produce. And knowing that a few minutes every day can leave your home consistently clean and tidy, you may even start to enjoy the chores!

Celebrate Your Independence From Clutter

If you’d like to celebrate the 4th of July in a nonflammable, indoor manner, try declaring your independence from #clutter with 7 Tips from Tailored Living. First, you must admit that there is a problem, then set house rules asking every family member to pick up after themselves. Next, eliminate unnecessary items from each room, putting stuff that doesn’t belong in a particular place where it should be and getting rid of items that no longer serve a useful purpose. Purge the closets and garage and contact ClothingDonations.org for a #donation pickup. Finally, make an honest assessment of your storage needs to maximize the space you have for the remaining stuff.