tossing items

Permission to throw away

Organizing tipGive yourself permission to throw away anything that is broken, damaged, rusty, bug-infested, mildewed, torn, stained, or incomplete. Toss these items without hesitation. You’ll get rid of clutter and free up some space.

recucle, reduce, reuse

Focus on Editing

Busines card colors
Side Notes:

I was on TV. It was only a local cable TV show, but it was still a trill. The show was the Veteran’s Forum where I shared how I help individuals get and stay organized. Want to see the half hour interview?

***  Have you ever heard of Facebook Yard Sale? It is an on-line community for selling items. You can search your local area to see if there is one in your neighborhood. You do have to have a Facebook account.

***  Question:  Do you consign anything? If so, what and where? Please share.


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How are you enjoying your summer? Hope all is well with you. I mentioned in my last newsletter that I was excited for my big summer trip. My husband and I went on a South African Safari. It was truly amazing! The baby rhinos and giraffe were adorable. Our elephant encounter, where we touched and fed them, was the highlight of my trip. I enjoyed everything but the 15 hour flight (one way). If you’d like more detail, I’d be happy to share some of my 1600 photos. I was definitely shutter happy!

  Focus on Editing

While working with clients, much of our focus is on editing. I define editing as the process of evaluating what we have, and getting rid of stuff that no longer serves us. To assist in this process I’ve written several blog articles. Here are a few I thought you’d find helpful.

In my personal life I’ve also been focusing on editing. I donate as much as I can, but I’ve also used consignment shops for items that fit the requirements. Below are clothing and product-based consignment shops I’ve used with success.

Twice the Diva in North Attleboro, MA

Consignments on the Common (also known as Let’s Consign) in Foxboro, MA

Thrifty Witch in Bellingham, MA
Recycle Resource

Finding new ways to reuse, recycle, and reduce 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. At New Life they do just that.

One of my class attendees told me about New Life Home Refurnishing, this great resource is in Walpole, MA. It is a charitable organization that accepts tax-deductible donations of furniture and household items, warehouses them, and then makes them available at no charge to those in need. You can’t get more worthy than that. Please consider New Life the next time you have something to donate.


Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
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If you’ve worked with me in any capacity, I’d be grateful for a review.  Simply click on this link and answer 3 questions.  Thank you and happy organizing!

Reduce Clutter

Organizing tipEliminate duplicates to reduce clutter. Why have ten of something, if three will do? Why have three of something, if one will do? Look around your home for duplicates. How many can you eliminate? To prevent the need to purchase duplicates in the first place, have an assigned home for items that tend to get misplaced or lost. Label each assigned home to clearly identify it’s location.

3D Character and question mark

Keep or Not Keep

Helpful Organizer BlogIf you had to guess the dollar amount of new, unopened items in your home, what would you guess? Don’t count food or paper goods. Count surplus items, unopened gifts, new clothing that hasn’t been worn, backup items, unopened craft items, new shoes that haven’t been worn, unopened tech toys, new books that haven’t been read, and any other such items. What would your guess be?

It’s estimated that the dollar amount of new, unopened items in the average American household is $7000.00. Do you believe it? I didn’t until I started counting. So, start counting? What do you come up with? Please share.

There are many reasons we purchase things that we don’t end up using, just like there are many things we hold on to for no valid reason. Making decisions on what to keep or not to keep can be challenging. Are you having trouble making decisions? Is it a struggle for you to get rid of things? I’ve devised a Keep Quiz that will help.  Here are the instructions. Ask yourself the following ten questions. Please answer them honestly, and then follow the rest of the instructions.

  1. Is it practical and will definitely be used?
  2. Does it hold value and significance to me?
  3. Does it fit my lifestyle and is exactly my taste?
  4. Would it be very expensive and time consuming to replace?
  5. Is it a genuine treasure and irreplaceable?
  6. Does it help me live the life I want to live?
  7. Is it one-of-a-kind and unique?
  8. Was it hand-made just for me?
  9. Does it hold tremendous personal value to me?
  10. Does it bring me joy?

If you answer yes to 6 or more of the questions, yeah for you. It’s a keeper. If you answered yes to only 1 or 2 questions, it’s time to let it go. If you answered yes to 3-5 of the questions, give yourself 3 months to use the item. Put a sticky note on the item with the use-by-date. If, in 3 months, it hasn’t been used, let it go. However, if the item is meant for display, put it in a prominent place for 3 months. At the end of 3 months take the Keep Quiz again and see if you get different numbers.

How did you do on the Keep Quiz? Did it prompt you to take some action? I hope so. Please share.

© May 2017  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Janine with donation box

Determine, Decide, Dispose

Helpful Organizer Blog

How easy is it for you to get rid of stuff? Deciding what is worth keeping and what needs to go, can be difficult. I follow a three step confirming process. These three steps help me confirm what I have, and decide what I need, use, and want. The first step is to determine what I have. The second step is to decide what stays and what goes. The third step is to dispose of stuff. Let me explain how this confirming process works.




The first step is to determine what I have. This means gathering and assessing. I pick a small group of items to work with at a time. Instead of working with all my clothes, I work with just my spring wardrobe. Another example is instead of working with all my books, I only work with my organizing books. This helps reduce the time needed to complete the process, and helps prevent procrastination. Once I’ve chosen which category I want to work with, I gather the items into one location and assess them.

The second step is to decide what stays and what goes. I find it helpful to have criteria for what items stay and what items go. I call them my confirming guidelines, and they help me make decisions.

Examples of confirming guidelines:
1. It has to go if it’s broken, damaged, or missing parts, and you’re not going to fix it or pay to have it fixed within 3 months.
2. It has to go if it hasn’t been used in the past 3 years and won’t be used in the next 3 years.
3. It has to go if it is more than one size too big or too small.
4. It has to go if it’s torn, stained, or moldy, and you’re not going to fix it or pay to have it fixed within 3 months.
5. It has to go if it doesn’t reflect your current lifestyle. (Use 3 year timeline.)
6. It has to go if it’s very similar or identical to another item. Keep three favorites and the rest have to go.
7. It has to go if you’ve already purchased a replacement for it.
8. It has to go if it’s something you don’t like, or something that never worked right or fit right.
9. It has to go if the reason you’re holding onto it is not a good, valid reason. (See blog articles)
10. It has to go if it brings negative thoughts or causes self doubt.

The third step is to dispose of the stuff. It helps to schedule a day for removal, whether it is donations, items to be recycled or items to be given away. Voila! Confirming process complete.

© April 2017   Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®   All Rights Reserved