Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tis’ the season for hot chocolate, family gatherings and….consumerism.

According to the Retail Council of Canada’s 4th Annual Holiday Shopping survey, Ontarians will spend, on average, $863 on Christmas gifts this season. Holiday spending is up 30% from last year. Imagine if you could save money AND give the best gifts you’ve ever given? 

Yes. Please. 

For many of us these days, our homes are overflowing with “stuff”. There are gadgets and gizmos for every purpose.. It is never too late to shift the focus away from the “stuff” and explore options that are more personal.

Here are some ideas for more intentional space saving gifts.

  • Taking a friend for coffee/dessert
  • Baking a neighbour a treat or making a meal
  • Making a donation to a meaningful charity on your friend’s behalf
  • Creating a photo book/calendar 
  • Making a playlist with songs they like
  • Choosing an experience (movie tickets, museum, sledding, skiing)

There are plenty more options that you can tailor to the person.. The idea is to be intentional about what you choose. Give the gift of yourself rather than an object. You can avoid getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday and focus on the real spirit of Christmas, which is personal connection, love, and some inner peace.

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The World of Online Auctions: Part 1 of 3

What is an Online Auction?

As our world becomes more virtual with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the world of online auctioning is growing. Still, many people haven’t heard of the term. 

In this three-part series we will look at what an online auction is, why you would want to use it and how they work? 

So what is an online auction? An online auction takes place via the internet and allows users to sell or bid for products online. eBay is a familiar name to most and an industry leader in the world of online auctioning. 

Online auctions allow sellers to reach a large audience unrestricted by location.. The type of buyers attracted to an online auction can vary widely. The virtual platform often attracts younger buyers, stay-at-home buyers and buyers who may be looking for only a few items. Many buyers are sustainably minded, attempting to keep usable items out of landfills. 

Since the conception of eBay in 1995 the world of online auctioning has exploded. The recent lockdowns and in-person restrictions have only furthered their growth. 

There are numerous platforms available for selling items online. They offer a variety of auction styles, access to buyers and ease of use. 

Join us for parts 2 and 3 of the series where we will look at what online auctions can offer you as a buyer as well as what you can expect when you use an online auction site.

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Purging sentimental items can be emotionally exhausting. As parents downsize to smaller dwellings their collection of antiques and heirlooms often finds its way to their children. And so on and so on until you find yourself reading about how to declutter sentimental items.

First, good for you. You are breaking the chain. Future generations will thank you. And secondly, keeping things that don’t resonate with you or your lifestyle creates both physical and mental clutter. So, let’s get down to honouring grandma without keeping all her furniture!

All joking aside…this is a difficult process. It is okay to have a hard time. Be gentle with yourself and do not try to accomplish it in one day.

As you examine items, ask yourself why you feel sentimental about it. Was it a gift? Does it remind you of a person or a place? Are you currently using it? Do you like it or are you keeping it out of guilt or obligation?

Can you retain the memory without keeping the item? Digitalizing items can be a great way to retain a memory without cluttering your home. You can even write a note about why the piece is important to you and who gave it to you?

Does it fit in your home?  If it is a piece of furniture the practical question is whether you have room for it? If you love it and want to keep it then can you part with another, less sentimental item, to create space? Even photos and paper memorabilia should have limited space. A memory tote is a great way to store cards, photos, old year books etc. When it gets too full then re-evaluate the items again.

Can you repurpose an item? If you have a fond memory associated with an item or feel strongly toward keeping it, can you find a use for it? For example, my mom gave me my grandma’s crystal cranberry bowl. I use it to store my earrings rather than using it twice a year for cranberries (which I can still do if I dump out the earrings!). This way I can see it and appreciate it daily.

By keeping the things you love and can use in your space you are maintaining their enjoyment and specialness.

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FOUR BOX METHOD

What is the Four Box Method of decluttering?

Life is chaotic. One thing that we can do to manage the chaos is to create a clutter free space because many people don’t realize the impact that clutter can have on their mental well-being. . 

So let’s begin.

Gather four bins (could be a box, clear plastic bag etc) and label them: Keep/Relocate; Give Away; Storage; Garbage. 

Choose one area to focus on. It can be a room or, if that’s too much, then choose a closet or a corner of the room. 

As you look at each item, decide whether you will keep it. If it is to stay in the area you are working in then put it away where it belongs. If you are keeping it but it needs a new home then put it in the Keep/Relocate bin. 

If you examine an item and decide you don’t need it, determine whether you will sell it, donate it or throw it in the garbage. Ultimately, this will depend on the condition of the item and how much time/energy you have in finding it another home. If you don’t have the time to post each item or answer inquiries and arrange pickup then donation may be the better option. 

The storage bin is for off-season items that can be kept in another location. For example, seasonal décor, off-season clothing, seasonal sporting equipment. 

The key is monitoring your intake of items AND regular maintenance. After you have fully purged your home, schedule maintenance every few months to stay ahead of it. 

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Thinking of downsizing? You’re not alone. As the baby boomer generation ages many are deciding to sell their family homes and opt for smaller dwellings. Regardless of your reason for downsizing, the process can be overwhelming. 

Sorting, assessing and evaluating can be an enormous task and not one  you’d want to take on in the midst of staging, selling, and moving. If you can, begin to purge your belongings  before you plan to move. The sooner the better. It will make the process seem less arduous.  

Start with what’s easy. Oftentimes kitchen or bathroom items have the least amount of sentimental attachments. Whatever you identify as your “easy room” is where you want to begin. From that point, move room by room, sorting and evaluating your belongings. 

Keep your new space in mind while you sort through your things. Don’t just consider the square footage of your new home but imagine the lifestyle you will have when you get there. If you’re retired and have taken up hiking then you can probably part with your dress shoes and suits. 

As you downsize, you are likely to come across sentimental items that won’t fit into your new space or lifestyle. Try reaching out to family or friends who may be interested in providing those items a new home. Start divvying things up early to allow time to schedule pick ups or drop offs well in advance of your move day. 

With the right checklist and a sufficient amount of time, the process of evaluating and parting with your belongings can be very liberating. 

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WE EMPOWER YOU!

So many people approach us in every manner you can imagine. Email, Phone, FB, LinkedIn or walking up to us in a parking lot after we get out of our company vehicle. And the question they ask?

“What do you do?”

Our Answer…We Empower you. It’s not just about organizing. We take that overwhelming feeling and self doubt and, right beside you, we battle against it.

Do you walk into your home and ever feel like turning around and walking out again because there is so much “stuff” in your space?

We take the time to understand why you’re feeling this way and use our 15 years experience to bring your space back to you.

Is there a place in your home that is not being used the way you want it? A spare room that’s the “dumping ground” for everyone in the family?

To be honest…we make things right in your world. That’s what we do. We streamline, organize and bring back that smile.

Are your parents wanting to downsize and do not know where to start?

We do, we loving helping people go through all their memories and precious things they have collected and decide what to move on and what to keep.

Is the tsunami of paper coming into your home about to cause a major disaster?

Setting up systems in every part of your space so that you can maintain an organized and stress-free home. That’s what we do.

Have you just been left with an estate to clear up and have no help to do it. Are you thinking what do I do with everything, is anything worth selling, who do I get to sell their home, and the list goes on.

Estates are a challenge for the one left in charge for many reasons. Call us we will be your third party and relieve as much stress as possible. We are confident we have the answers and if not we will find out.

Can you do this yourself? Yes, quite possibly you can. Can you stay on task, not get distracted by everyday life and get the space “cleared” in a matter of hours instead of weeks? Maybe not.

Can we? Yes! Because we love our jobs and we’re good at what we do. We Empower You!

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You’re organized! Now what?

You’ve spent the past few months, maybe even up to a year, discarding, decluttering and reinventing your space. So how do you maintain this new life of order and calm?

Here are some tips that can help you maintain your newly reclaimed space.

Be mindful about what you bring into your home.

You have worked hard to make your home a place where you can relax. Be proud of that achievement. And protect it! The best way to avoid clutter is to keep it out of your home in the first place. It can be helpful to ask yourself “Does this new item support the life I am trying to make?”

Often, with the first decluttering, a realization was made about how much “stuff” was actually in your home. A commitment to live with less can often make people more mindful of what they use and allow them to appreciate the items that they decide to keep.  

Establish solid routines and habits around tidying.

In your original decluttering you should have established a “home” for every item in your home. 

There is a great rule of tidying called the “one touch” rule. After you take something out and use it, you can only touch it once. That means that it must go back where you found it. Don’t set it down! This is how items gather on counters.

Make a commitment to tidy at the end of each day. This involves putting everything back in its designated “home” and shouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes. 

Develop a system for paperwork.

Paperwork is a common source of clutter in many homes. Having a routine way of managing it can be helpful. At Just In Time Solutions we follow the R.A.F.T system (Read, Act, File, Toss). A simple, effective way to quickly sort papers. **Please see previous posts on the R.A.F.T system for more details.

Whether you choose this paper system or another, it is important to sort your mail before you put it down. Every piece should be placed in a file with the above categories. 

Once your papers have found their temporary home designate a time to file them permanently. This may be daily if you own a business or weekly if you are mostly paperless with bills and mail. 

Replace your old habits with these new ones and enjoy the results. They will help you maintain the clutter-free space you worked hard to create. Enjoy! You deserve it! 

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As we all sit at home during our third and hopefully final lockdown, we are constantly face-to-face with our stuff. Most of us are tired of staring at the same wall decor, the same clothing and the same walls. And like most of us, you may be realizing that you have too much stuff. Here are some tips on minimizing some of the clutter during this seemingly endless pandemic.

  1. Work on one room at a time.
    • Choose one room in the house that you want to transform. It can be the one that you use the most (office/family room/school room). It can be one that you use the least (because of clutter or lack of function). Choose one room that will make your life easier or more enjoyable once it is transformed.
    • Picture an image of what you want your room to look like. Many rooms these days are having to pull double duty. How do you want your space to function? Does your family room need to function as an entertainment space and a home office? Is your basement now a playroom and a home gym or school? 
  2. Break things down into smaller tasks. Don’t tear apart a high traffic room without allotting the time to put it back together
    • Identify how much time you have to declutter and commit to that time. If you have time to dedicate a whole Saturday to the project then make sure that you don’t schedule anything else during that time. Treat it like a workday and let family and friends know that you are unavailable. Or enlist their help!  If you have to fit the project in between work, homeschooling, childrearing, etc. then breaking it down into a 30-60 minute job may be more realistic. Set a timer and commit to that one task. For example, one drawer or one specific item, like books.  Once you have completed your time and accomplished a smaller task you will feel motivated to do more. 
  3. A place for everything and everything in its place. 
    1. It is especially important that everything has a home when rooms have more than one function. If your family room is doubling as a home office, then all paperwork needs to be returned to a designated area in the “office” area. All home entertainment/family items need to have a place in the “family room” area. There should be no overlap between spaces. Having containers or bins for similar objects will keep items neat and organized.  Then label so everyone can find items. 

When it comes to organization the key is to take it one mess at a time.  Clutter often comes with a sense of being overwhelmed with “stuff”. But by breaking things down into manageable tasks and feeling good about completing those tasks, you are more likely to succeed. Happy organizing!

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Our vehicles tend to collect items as we go from work to home, running errands and taking the children where they need to be.   

Garbage collects, clothing, recycles, things that need to be taken somewhere and more. Although with the pandemic and the lock down your use of your vehicle may have changed depending on what you do.  However, we are still using them and sometimes they are the last thing we think about as far as cleaning and organizing. 

We have a collection of things we need in our vehicle; snacks, cushions for the dog, blankets for use with children, pets or just to protect the seat, hand sanitizer, masks, sunglasses, first aid kit and more. 

A few minutes each day or week will save you time. 

Here are a few tips to help you simplify:

  1. Clear trash regularly, just take out at the end of day and have everyone else take theirs.  I have a soft side trash receptacle in my car that just hangs on the shifter.  This is great for small items such as tissue, candy wrappers, snack wrappers and more. 
  2. Over the seat organizers are great for small children.  They hang on the back of the front seats and hold activity books, crayons, snacks etc.  Also just a small plastic bin with a lid on the seat is great. 
  3. Small items like extra hand sanitizer, masks, sunglasses, serviettes, tissue – make easily accessible but in a small zip bag so it does not fly all over.  Coins in a small container in the console for when you need them. 
  4. Make your trunk area a storage place for reusable shopping totes, blankets, first aid kit, bottled water, sports equipment – put in bins to make compartments, makes it easy for cleaning and things will not move around so much
  5. Plan to clean regularly so that the air is clear of dust, smells and odours. 

Taking care of your car not only makes it enjoyable for you to be in, but it sets a good example for your children and other people that ride in your vehicle that you take care of your valuable possession. 

Happy Organizing! 

Photo by Oziel Gu00f3mez on Pexels.com

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When I meet new people I often get the question, “Is your home really organized and clean?”. I tell people yes it is organized for me, for what makes me happy. Clean it is not always spotless, but it is liveable, but cleaning is not organizing. They do go hand in hand but they are not the same. If you were to come to my place to borrow something, chances are I could put my figure on it in a few seconds, 99% of the time.

Organizing for me is not having things folded in drawers so they look pretty when I open them, it is having things folded and put away in the same drawer all the time. It is not about having my spices in alphabetical order, it is about having them all lined up in a drawer, like with like. For example, dip mixes together, broth mixes together, hot spices together, basic herbs and spices together, etc. My kitchen counter sometimes has a few things on it that do not belong, but that only lasts a few days, not weeks. Now all that being said this does not mean that the other ways are wrong, they are just not my style. We all function differently.

Surprisingly enough when I tell people organizing has a lot to do whether you are right brain or left brain dominate they so, “Really?”. Meaning are you more creative or more linear thinking. I am more linear/logical thinking. I do not like to see my organization. Meaning I do not like clear bins, open shelving etc, I like mine labelled and behind close doors.

Home Organizing is like trying a new lifestyle diet. It takes time, it takes dedication and it takes maintenance. You can not go from a house full of clutter to a perfectly organized home overnight. It takes time, dedication and training of new habits. Just like running a marathon, you do not run 40km the first time, you start one km at a time.

Keep things simple. Do not look at the complete home. Look at one room, one cupboard, one drawer at a time. Take 30 minutes a day and start.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

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