Professional Residential and Business Organizing in Cleveland, Ohio since 2003

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Personal Reflections of a Professional Organizer

All of my training and expertise as a professional organizer came to a head this summer after the unexpected passing of my mother.  She was my father's caretaker, too, so the family went into crisis management at the same time we were supposed to be grieving.  Dad moved to assisted living and the house is almost emptied now, but it has taken so much effort and coordination.  While I do this for a living for others, it is so much harder when it is your own parent's belongings.  Here are some tips I would like to share to make this easier for others...

1)  Have an action plan.  The first priority for us was moving my father to an assisted living apartment - we had to pick out what belongings he could take, what would fit, and hire a mover, all in the space of two weeks.  Then we determined a realistic time frame for what needed to happen next in order to move out of their 2,000 square foot home as soon as possible.

2)  Set up a process for reviewing items.  The first place we started was dividing all of the furniture between the family members and identifing what could be sold, and lastly what would be donated.  We put sticky notes with names on all of the furniture and artwork.  We determined what charities would be receiving items from the home and how we would get them delivered or picked up.  We identified what needs to be stored elsewhere for a period of time.  Staging for donations and sale items took place in the garage ( after we had done the sorting in there first!).  In our situation, we decided most of the clothing would be taken to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity will pick up other household items.  Having this plan in place has been crucial.

3)  Get help!  When friends and relatives offer their assistance, take it!  Figure our small ways in which people can help you in this overwhelming process.  Even I, as a professional organizer who does this all the time, felt very overwhelmed and stressed out!  I asked a couple of neighbors to help out when I could not be at the house for service providers, and all of the grandchildren have helped out when they could.  I leaned on JoEllen for a lot of physical and emotional support in this process - she asked me the tough questions we ask our customers when making decisions!

4)  Start thinning out before you need to!  My mother intended to go through all of the memorabilia left by her parents, and that she had saved herself, but caring for my father left her exhausted.  I wish we had done some of the review together when we could have had a lot of fun doing it!  We suggest to our clients to always have donation bag and box going in your home.  When you walk by an item you rarely use, think about sharing it with others who might actually need it.  Starting to thin out before you have to move is always easier...Trust me, I now know from personal experience.

Organizing 4 U is entering its' 15th year in business!!!  JoEllen and I want to thank all of our wonderful customers and supporters!

                               Muffy 

P.S. Do you wish you had the time to accomplish all of this advice?  We will show you how that is possible!  

SIMPLE Time Management

Tuesday, September 19th   7:00 PM

Fairview Park Library

21255 Lorain Road, Fairview Park

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JoEllen Salkin
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