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Minimalism

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***    Organizing class are starting in September. You can obtain more details on my website. If you’d like to attend a class please contact the class location directly. Hope to see you in class.
***   Want to know more about Minimalism? Learn from two experts, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus.
***  I’m looking forward to bringing the New England chapter of the National
Association of Professional Organizers to School on Wheels in August to volunteer.
***  Question:  What does minimalism mean to you? Please share  your answer.
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Hi  ,

The heat of summer is here. Guess who else is heating up? My inner minimalist is on fire. During the month of June I played the 30-Day Minimalist Game with my husband, and we were both winners.

What Does Minimalism Mean?

To me minimalism is the act of buying less, having less stuff, and getting rid of excess. After bringing the Minimalist Documentary to North Attleboro in May, my husband and I decided to see what it would be like to embrace minimalism. We decided to play the 30-Day Minimalism Game to see if we could get rid of as many things as the game encouraged us to. We also wanted to see how little we could spend in those same 30 days. We learned several things while we embraced minimalism.

First of all, we learned to look closely at all of the things in our space. Knowing that we were going to be getting rid of a lot of stuff, we looked at everything. We made decisions on things we hadn’t touched or used in years. There were several things we would not have thought about getting rid of if it wasn’t for the game. It’s so easy to get comfortable in our surroundings that we don’t realize how much we don’t use. Getting rid of this excess stuff made me happy.

Secondly, the game created some urgency to take action. We needed to fix things or get rid of them. So, things that had been waiting to be fixed for a while were fixed or gotten rid of. We needed to read or recycle. Papers that were waiting to be read needed to be read or recycled. Books that were piling up needed to be read or donated. We needed to mend or donate. Clothing that required some mending, needed to be fixed or donated. Getting rid of this stagnate stuff made me happy.

Finally, not making purchases for a month helped us realize we are lazy cooks. We would succumb to the temptation to eat out or get take out way too much. We’re too tired and there is nothing good in the house were common excuses. We decided to change this. We looked through our recipes and picked a bunch to try. We bought new food and ingredients in the grocery store. We’re still working on this, but I’m happy with our progress so far.

The 30 Day Minimalism Game was very interesting. I’d recommend that everyone give it a try. I’d be happy to talk with you more about our experiences. Here are a few more blog articles I’ve written on the topic.

A Paper Minimalist – Not
Stuff Be Gone

Share your thoughts on minimalism with me.

Recycle Resource

Finding new ways to recycle, for myself and my clients, makes me happy. Everyone is more motivated to get rid of something when they know it is going to someone who will really use it.

This is why I was especially happy to find a place to donate my unwanted craft items. The Craft Room recycles craft items. They use them in their classroom, sell them in their thrift store, and offer them for use in their workshop space. They accept paper, fabric, yarn, floral supplies, needlework, artist’s medium, and more. What an ingenious idea. Check out their website.

From,

Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
(508)-699-6652
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give & hands

Give – It’s Worth It!

Helpful Organizer BlogHave you ever decided that you’re ready to give something away, only to find that no one will take it?  This happened to a class attendant of mine who wanted to give a pull-out-couch to someone who was in need of one. Unfortunately, this proved harder than she anticipated. When she contacted the donation locations she knew in her community, no one wanted it. They said it was too big, too heavy, and not worth reselling.  She became frustrated, and called me to ask for more options for donation. I gave her a few recommendations that I knew, and wished her good luck. A few days later I received a second call from her. She had no luck with my recommendations, because she was outside their pick up area. How frustrating. What now? She asked me for more options. Luckily, I was able to provided her with a few more ideas, one being the local Boy Scouts. I knew they were having a big yard sale soon, and were looking for items. Success at last. They took the couch from her. It was time consuming and frustrating, but the couch was out of her house and on it’s way to finding a new home, thanks to the Boy Scouts.

A similar situation happened to a client of mine who was ready to say good-bye to a wheelchair that she was no longer using. She wanted it to go to an organization that would donate it to someone who really needed it. Unfortunately, this proved harder than she or I anticipated. After a quick on-line search for donations options, we had a full page of possibilities. That was great. We were optimistic. That was the easy part. Once we started calling the donation options we didn’t have as much success. We made a total of 15 calls. Here are some of the responses we got. The Muscular Dystrophy Association couldn’t take it because they only accept chairs that they can service, and they couldn’t service her high-end wheelchair. The Disabled American Veterans did not have anyone who serviced MA or RI. The local VFW Post had no way to re-distribute the chair. Chariots of Hope only worked in CT. Power Chair Recyclers of NE would refurbish it then sell it. She wanted to give it away, not sell it. We were running out of options? Would we ever find someone to donate this chair to? We didn’t give up. We kept calling. Eventually, we found a good option. The Masonic Lodge of RI had a Medical Equipment Center that would pick up the chair, clean it up, and pass it on to someone in need for a small fee. We both agreed it was worth the time and effort, especially since someone in need would be getting a very good wheelchair.

Giving stuff away isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. I’d encourage you to take the extra effort to give, because someone in need will be very grateful that you did. If you’re in need of donation options, please contact me. I’d be happy to share any resources I have.

©August 2016  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

give dice

Stuff Be Gone

Helpful Organizer BlogA game helped my husband and me get rid of 930 things. We played the 30-Day Minimalism Game in June 2016. Deciding what stuff to get rid of was the first step. Figuring out where to get rid of the stuff was the second step. Physically removing the stuff from our house was the third step.  Want to know where it went?

We were givers. Our goal was to give the stuff away, not throw it in the trash. Five things out of 930 went in the trash. The rest of the stuff was reusable. So we gave it away.

We gave to family and friends. We didn’t just unload our stuff on them. We made a point of asking if they wanted the stuff, before we gave it to them. My sister was happy to accept a small framed photo of her and her son, that had been sitting on my shelf for years. My friend enjoyed looking at the clothes and jewelry I was getting rid of. She took a few shirts and a pair of earrings. My sister, who has 3 small children, gladly accepted an unopened pack of washable markers.

We gave to local causes. Our local library was collecting for their annual books sale. We donated several books and DVDs. We also gave several books to the school where my husband teaches. We dropped off several pairs of eyeglasses to the local Lion’s Club. We gave unopened toiletries to the New Hope shelter.

We donated to resale stores. We dropped off a car load of items to Hometown Savers. We made a trip to the Habitat for Humanities ReStore to donate an old door and a few old tools. We gave craft items, that I wasn’t going to use, to The Craft Room. We gave a bunch of clothes and household items to Savers.

We recycled. We recycled some old phone books and a bunch of paper. We recycled broken and outdated electronics to Indie Cycle.

We consigned. We used Chic2Chic for our clothing consignment. We used The Thrifty Witch for our household consignment.

We offered items for free. We put old hand weights, a hose, and an unused shelf out by the side of the road with a free sign. They were picked up within hours.

We got rid of 930 things. You can too! We know it takes time and effort. Use these resources and options. They will help.

©July 2016   Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®   All Rights Reserved

 

Calling Mom

Sharing Organizing News With My Mom

Helpful Organizer BlogWhen I saw that it was my Mom on my caller-ID this morning, I smiled to myself. I always enjoy hearing from her. It’s nice to chat, listen to her current news, and share my own. The news I shared with her today was about the 30-Day Minimalism Game that my husband and I are participating in for the month of June. I explained that the game is played by getting rid of one thing on the first day of the month, two things on the second day of the month, three things on the third day, and so on. Whoever can go the longest and get rid of the most things, wins. She was amazed that we would play such a game, and impressed that we were still at it on day 15.

I shared with my Mom how we got inspired to play the game after bringing the film Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things to a local theater, and viewing it with 80 other interested viewers. It was an inspiring film that moved my husband and I into action. As of this date, we have each gotten rid of 120 things. So far it hasn’t been too difficult for either of us, but the game instructions warned us that it gets much more difficult after two weeks , which is now. (I’ll be writing more on the subject when the month is over.)

My Mom shared that she has been cleaning out and getting rid of stuff also. She mentioned that she got rid of some extra bed pillows that she wasn’t using. She also went through her wardrobe and got rid of some clothes that she doesn’t wear. The last thing she mentioned was donating her old greeting cards to St. Judes for recycling. This made me smile even more.

It’s always wonderful to get a phone call from my Mom, but it’s even more special when she shares her organizing stories. As a Professional Organizer I can’t helped but get pumped up when I hear stories about other people organizing and cleaning out their spaces. If you have a story to tell please share it with me.

©June 2016  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®   All Rights Reserved

workbench

Organizing Work Areas

HardwareWorkbenches, craft corners, sewing rooms, scrapbook areas, and the like, are all potential hotbeds of mess.  These locations are filled with tools and supplies that get used and reused often.  They are also locations that house potential, ongoing, and almost finished projects.  So, organizing them, and keeping them organized can be challenging.

I’ve been itching to help my husband organize his workbench for years.  I understand that it’s his domain, (just like my scrapbooking area is my domain) and that’s why I didn’t take over and just do it myself.  We tackled the project together.  It took us 3.5 hours to work through the organizing process, but when we were finished his tools and supplies were organized, he had a list of all his works-in-progress, and he had plenty of space to actually work on his workbench.

Workbench

We both were pleased with the results and considered the project a success.  Here are some helpful tips that can assist you in successfully organizing your work area (whatever area that may be):

  1.  When sorting tools and supplies into categories use general terms and label each category.  We had 13 different categories; power tools, hand tools, tape & glue, hardware, clamps, painting, plumbing, sanding, measuring, trash, recycle, give away, and belongs elsewhere.
  2.  While working, keep a running list of tasks that you have to address.  This helps prevent you from getting sidetracked and wanting to addressing these tasks right away.  A few tasks on our list are to ask our brother-on-law if he wants the propane torches we never use, and to research how to refill or recycle a fire extinguisher.
  3.  When setting up your work area leave plenty of room to actually work on projects, and have an designated area to store works-in-progress.
  4.  Clearly label the containers that store your tools and supplies.  Although my husband knows what all his tools are, I do not.  So now, when he asks me for a socket wrench, I’ll know at least where to look.
  5.  Use containers that are easy to reach into, sturdy, and are a good size for the items they will be containing.  These tools and supplies get used and reused often.  So, make it easy to get at them and put them away.
  6.  Give yourself a break.  A good time to take a break is after the sorting step.  We took a lunch break after we had cleared the workbench.
  7.  At the end of the organizing project give yourself time to address the trash, recycle, give away, and belongs elsewhere pile.  It may take additional time to address these categories.  For example we have a box of electronic recycle items that we will bring to the Indie Cycle drop off point in three weeks.
  8.  When you reach the finish line, reward your success.

sortingHardwareHandtoolsClamps

©September 2015  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All rights reserved.

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