Spring Forward: Mini Motivators for Organizing Your Space

By: A Clear Path Team Member, Lauren Brennan

Let’s cut to the chase, it’s Spring, the state is about to reopen, and you never organized those closets. Along with the sourdough starter kits of the world, many of the projects you intended to complete (or simply start!) fell by the wayside. We don’t blame you. Like a drawer filled with Tupperware to which there is no matching lid, this last year has been frustratingly chaotic. If the thought of the pandemic ending fills you with dread because you still don’t know what’s buried in your hallway closet, don’t worry. There’s still time to get it together, at least where your belongings are concerned. Sometimes just getting started is half the battle. 

Here are a few places around your home that might be in need of some TLC and how to tackle them: 

The hallway closet.  Usually smaller than a wardrobe closet and situated near an entrance, this area of your home is perfect for throwing away things that aren’t yet garbage. Part of what makes it so terrifying is it’s mysterious contents. Anything could be in there.

Junk mail, empty amazon boxes, broken light bulbs, a holiday wreathAll of these items are known to congregate in this forgotten place you pass by so often. Grab a recycling bin because most of what’s in here probably never belonged anyways. The wreath can stay. Maximize the space in your closet by utilizing the interior wall space. If space permits, a command strip or nail in an inconspicuous area can be used to hang the wreath inside of the closet. Other items like umbrellas or reusable grocery bags can be hung up as well.

Recycle, reduce, reuse those single-use plastic bags! 

Speaking of grocery bags, how many do you currently have shoved into a small space beside the fridge? When you open the cabinet under your sink does a confetti-like assortment of plastic or paper bags burst forth? Thanks to covid, single-use bags are back, for now. Luckily there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tutorials online on how to store plastic bags. Click on this link for an easy and free option for storing all that plastic. The Russian Doll method of storing plastic bags will leave you feeling like a magician pulling an endless array of ties out of a hat. 

clean up, recycle, de-clutter not just for spring or Earth Day, but every day because every day is Earth Day

Environmentally friendly tips in honor of Earth Day: 

  • Instead of plastic bags use washable-mesh produce bags. 
  • Instead of plastic wrap try ethically sourced beeswax paper. 
  • Large empty food containers with lids make excellent mini-storage bins for paper-thin produce bags. Poke a hole into the top and grab as you go! 
  • Reuse single-use plastic bags for smelly trash like raw meat and expired veggies. 
  • Don’t throw out plastic water bottles and aluminum cans at the gas station unless the trash is separated for recycling.
  • White vinegar is a powerful, affordable cleaning agent that’s Earth, kid and pet friendly. Use it with baking soda to deep clean dirty spots like the bathtub and kitchen sink. 
  • Use this month as an opportunity to safely dispose of all old batteries. Check this site for  for a list of places to toss them. 
  • Check around the house for items to use as organizers in the car or trunk before buying something new. Cardboard file boxes or empty tubs and bins can double as storage spaces in the trunk. 
  • Earth

Keep it moving! Don’t neglect your second home 

Cars are another high traffic area that often get treated like a trash can. We use our cars for so much more than driving. They’re an extension of our home, a place we eat and sometimes even sleep in. During the pandemic, it may have doubled as your therapist’s office, or just a quiet place to escape the sound of upstairs neighbors. Grab that trash bin. Throw out all those empty coffee cups and pastry bags. If you don’t need it to start the car, it probably has a place inside your home instead. Consider investing in a backseat or trunk organizer if you travel often. While most people can see your car coming from a mile away, it’s an easy hiding place for junk and clutter. 

If doing a little is still a little too much, we’re here to help 

You don’t have to organize your entire space in one day; starting small can provide you with the jump start you need to get motivated. Most of the clutter in our way does not serve us any longer yet we hesitate to get rid of it for a myriad of reasons. The pandemic ending is a huge relief for many, but it could also unleash waves of anxiety as we consider welcoming our loved ones back into our personal spaces. Articles like these can provide helpful tips and tricks to get started, but if you feel overwhelmed by the level of clutter in your home and don’t know where to begin, that’s ok, too. 

Reach out to us at A Clear Path and we will help get you sorted.

Clearing Chaos: Estate Sales

a beautiful estate should be handled carefully by a trusted fiduciary

As a professional fiduciary working on behalf of seniors or persons with mental or physical disabilities, you are legally and ethically bound to put your clients’ interest ahead of your own, with the duty to preserve trust and good faith.

Since the majority of your clients probably don’t have any family members to protect their money or healthcare needs before or after they pass on, you are ultimately responsible for the actions of anyone you hire to assist with managing their needs. And that’s where professional estate clearing services come in handy.

Benefits of Professional Estate Clearing Services for Fiduciaries

If anyone you hire improperly handles your client’s property, you can be surcharged by the court for losses. Fiduciaries are often faced with complicated family dynamics, and you must serve as an independent third-party entity to keep your clients safe and their assets protected.

If you often encounter challenges with estate sales amidst family conflict and stress, a professional estate clearing service provider can help ease the pressure. So, here are a few ways a moving company specializing in estate clearance can help you free up the property for sale while ensuring comfort and peace of mind for your clients.

1. Clearing Chaos

In most cases, you may need to move an elderly person or a person with a mental or physical disability from a home packed to the ceiling with a lifetime of mementos and valuable objects into a one-bedroom condo.

Estate clearing services help you with decluttering, chronic hoarding, and downsizing for seniors and their families. By allowing an experienced moving company to work on comfortably relocating your client, you’ll free up time to focus on your fiduciary duties of bettering the life of your client.

Whether it is an inherited family home that needs clearing or your client is downsizing to a new life, estate clearing services can save you the headache associated with moving seniors or persons with mental incapacitation.

2. Sorting, Organizing, and Categorizing Possessions

Many seniors, and persons with cognitive or mental health issues, often develop emotional attachments with their possessions. An experienced estate clearing agent will handle all your client’s possessions with respect and care, and assist with sorting, organizing, and categorizing items that your client wishes to keep from the stuff that needs to be donated, sold, or disposed of.

A trusted professional will go through every envelope, file, box, book, bag, and clothes to find treasurers, stocks and bonds, money, titles, checks, and insurance papers.

Depending on your preference and availability, an estate clearing agency can run an estate sale or set up a consignment shop or online auction for items too valuable to donate. Alternatively, estate clearing can help you arrange for pick-up of certain valuables by a charity of your choice.

find a sr. move manager for organizing and de-cluttering to complete a senior downsizing3. Preparation of a Home for Sale

Allow a professional estate clearing service provider to free you from the burden and stress of decluttering a home for sale, so you can function better, feel better, and enjoy life fully. The process often begins with a free assessment meeting to discuss your goals and establish a viable plan of action.

With your approval, the company will provide a written estimate and start the process. Full disclosure, honesty, and confidentiality are the cornerstones of a reliable estate moving company.

Ultimately, a clean, clutter-free house is relatively easier to sell. Estate clearing services can help you de-clutter, thoroughly clean, and re-arrange the furniture to enhance traffic flow. The shift in energy from dark, stagnant, and stuffy space to a bright, clean, and clear space will automatically attract buyers.

4. Relocation and Downsizing with a Touch of Love

Moving, especially for seniors and persons with disabilities, is one of the top three stress factors in life. Relocating from a home you have lived in for a lifetime can be traumatizing. Memories and emotions can keep you and your loved ones from making sound decisions. Whether your client is moving to a smaller home, hospice, retirement community, nursing care center, condo, or even another family member’s home, an estate clearing company can help.

Save yourself the stress, time, and money by hiring an estate clearing company to declutter and sell all the things your client no longer needs, so you can focus on your fiduciary responsibilities.

Contact A Clear Path for a One-call Process!

At A Clear Path, we take full responsibility for sorting, organizing, cleaning, disposing, and selling all the property in your client’s home. We also offer services to address trash, e-waste, shredding, and even toxic waste.

If you need to sell tangible personal property, ask about our online Estate Sale Auctions. Our goal is to alleviate any stress associated with choosing the right vendor for such detailed and delicate tasks. We can also help you settle the estate expediently for clients who have either passed on or are in the midst of a transition from their regular homes into assisted living facilities.

We are able to roll our fees into Escrow to pack, organize, and unpack your client’s possessions and manage the entire moving process. Contact us today for more information about estate clearing services and how we can help you clear chaos as you focus on overseeing the health care or finances of your clients.

 

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7 Tips for Moving Cross Country in 2021

Most people cherish the warmth and coziness of their familiar homes. But sometimes, with a fantastic new job or a house offer on the horizon, one starts considering a long-distance relocation. Relocations are never easy, particularly the cross-country ones. There is a lot of emotional and physical tension to face. And, suddenly, everything seems strange and unfamiliar. The last year and the COVID-19 pandemic have brought us even more stress and anxiety. Most of us prefer either staying home or have resorted to relocating to more secluded places. With so many things going on, it’s no wonder that moving management has developed into a significant field over the years. Today it is nearly impossible to move without professional relocation, productivity, and organizing services. Keeping yourself informed is another paramount of today’s society, especially before significant life changes. So, here are our seven valuable tips for moving cross country in 2021.

Moving cross country should be coordinated with a senior move manager for the best success.

1. Make time your ally and not your enemy

Our lives are a constant race with time. But once you realize that the key is in making that a motivational factor and not a reason for despair, you will get a significant advantage. So how can you make the time work for you the best way?

  • Plan your cross country move well ahead.
  • Make a detailed plan with your and other’s responsibilities with at least rough dates and timings.
  • Stick to written timings as much as you can.
  • Always leave some buffer time for unforeseen circumstances.

By planning on time, you give yourself a significant advantage

tools for planning moving cross country in 2021- a watch, pens, and a planning document from a move manager 2. Proper planning and organization

More than half of your relocation is in proper planning and organization. Every move, including the cross country one, can be divided into several stages, tasks, and duties. If every one of them is executed according to a detailed plan, the outcome should be satisfactory. Hiring virtual organizing services can come in quite handy here. Some of the crucial stages of every move to consider and account for are:

  • Preparation stage– includes planning, calculations, supplies gathering, etc.
  • Downsizing stage– at this stage, you need to declutter and organize your rooms and your belongings. When moving across the country, no one can afford to bring every single item with them. Besides, starting life over means a lot of new things will come your way.
  • Packing stage– at this stage, you should decide which of the remaining items to pack and bring along and which to recycle and donate. The final priority lists are made, and careful packing and protection of your belongings take place.
  • The transportation stage– the stage when all your belongings are being transported to their new location. Professional moving personnel usually conducts it.
  • Unpacking stage– the final stage of your cross-country move in 2021. Once you unpack all your boxes, you have officially moved.

3. Make moving cross country in 2021 as easy as you can

The best way to do that is by hiring relocation specialists, of course. Luckily, nowadays, there are numerous moving services that various companies provide for your convenience. Some of them have even specialized the interstate and cross country moves. These can turn such a tiring undertaking, as a cross-country move is, into a breeze and are, therefore, your best option. Furthermore, their services are carefully categorized. Whether you are moving your home or office, they have the appropriate tools and strategies for you. So, why would you struggle with so much work and responsibilities when, for a reasonable price, you can save a lot of time and effort? Practice self-care during a move and ease the relocation on yourself whenever you can.

4. Prepare your future home

Your cross-country relocation will be more pleasant once you know that your new home is waiting for you perfectly prepared. So whether you hire professional cleaning and home organizing services, or you prefer making your new house feel more like home by yourself, it would be superb if all is ready before you move in. That way, not only can you relax upon arrival, but you will be better motivated along the way.

Additional health tip for a cross country move in 2021

Amid the pandemic, it is essential to keep hygiene in mind throughout the move. Thorough cleaning and disinfection of your new house, plus careful disinfection of all the boxes, before and after the transportation, should suffice. And don’t forget to wash your hands as often as possible.

a move manager will help pack and unpack better if they have space plans for the new residence.

Thoroughly disinfect and prepare your new home before moving cross country in 2021

5. Prepare for the long road ahead, especially when moving cross country in 2021

And while your belongings are in safe hands, you should not forget about your well-being either. Keep in mind that the road is long, and packing an essentials bag is a must. It will prove invaluable during the trip. You should have the essentials with you at all times as they will help you have as comfortable a relocation as possible. A bottle of water, some energizing snacks, personal documentation, and some spare clothes are a must. Everything else is up to your preferences and needs.

6. Provide special care for special cases

If you are helping your senior family member relocate to a more peaceful town somewhere across the state, they will also need help handling such a stressful and demanding situation as this one. Senior moves and downsizing require special attention and care, so you need to make sure find the right movers that offer senior relocation services. Similarly, if your kid is moving out to go to university, you can research companies that provide assistance for this type of relocation. A team of specially trained, trustworthy, and kind movers can ease these specific relocations to a great extent.

a successful move is enhanced when using a certified move manager

Make your seniors happy and at peace by organizing professional senior relocation services for them.

7. Don’t underestimate the unpacking part

When thoroughly organizing moving cross country, people tend to underestimate the unpacking stage. However, the relocation does not end with your belongings transported to your new home. You still need to unwrap everything and find a suitable space for every piece. You certainly want your new home to be well organized and comfortable. Here too, you have two options. You can spend days unpacking and arranging your stuff, or you can hire unpacking services; it is entirely up to you.

Final words

Moving cross country in 2021 is not an easy task. On the other hand, it can be a memorable and enjoyable adventure with adequate strategies and help. So stop postponing it and embrace the experience instead. Remember, the sooner you start, the sooner you can enjoy your new home.

Using a Checklist before downsizing will create an easier less stressful move

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Smart Ways To Prepare For A Successful Declutter

de-cluttering sounds easy until one gets overwhelmed with all that must be accomplished, but help is there if you are using a professional organizer like A Clear Path

 

Disorganization causes 80% of all household clutter, according to one study by the Soap and Detergent Association. For those looking to declutter their homes, however, getting started often seems like a daunting task — especially if you’ve just moved, or your home is on the larger side. From preparing yourself mentally before you begin to making yourself actually get started, here are just a few fundamentals when it comes to getting the job done successfully and with as little stress as possible.

 

Set goals before you begin

 

Physical and mental preparation are key to successful organization, with one important aspect being to let go of any guilt beforehand. This will make a world of difference when it comes to actually being able to part with items and meet your organizational goals, especially if you have a difficult time parting with things that others have given you. Making a plan that includes a task list and creating a set schedule before you begin decluttering is also necessary to ensure productivity, and will allow you to set and reach your goals clearly. This will be particularly beneficial if you have a larger house, or if you plan to declutter your home over a longer period of time, since you’ll have a written record of what you plan to accomplish.

 

Choose an organizational system

 

After preparing to declutter your home, actually getting started and making progress often follows with difficulty, which is where having some kind offrom messy to clean all done with a professional organizer with a specialty in decluttering organizational system or strategy in place will help greatly in getting the job done productively. One smart way to do this is by doing one room at a time, and tackling the rooms that need decluttering the most first. This allows you to break up the task of decluttering into smaller, more attainable goals.

When it comes to actually sorting your belongings, using a system such as the “four box technique” will help in prioritizing your things. With this method, you simply label four different bins (keep, donate, throw away, and store), which will allow you to have a visual aid as to how much you’re keeping vs. donating. If you’re finding difficulty in deciding what to keep, one rule of thumb is to keep in mind whether or not you’ve used the item recently, which will aid in determining how useful it is to you. When putting things away again, it’s also important to keep elements like convenience in mind to ensure that things stay organized in the future — for instance, designating a place by the door for your keys will prevent you from misplacing them. 

 

Make a plan for your unwanted clutter

 

Perhaps one of the most important things when preparing to declutter your home is having a plan for getting the unwanted items out of your home once and for all. If you have the time, organizing a garage sale or setting up a page to sell the items online is one way to do so effectively while making a profit, which will be useful in getting your money back out of those expensive, lesser used items. For instance, if you put some thought and planning into a garage sale, you can easily make between $500 and $1,000, according to the New York Times. Any items that you don’t sell can be just as easily donated to local organizations that will give them a second life. 

 

Decluttering and organizing your home is often distressing — especially if you’ve recently moved and your things are in disarray, or if your home is particularly large. However, by preparing beforehand, having a system, and considering resources for getting your clutter out of your home, you can effectively organize everything you own.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Use Organizing Services to Transform Your Home Into an Income Stream

clean-up and decluttering is best accomplished with help from an expert organizer like Regina F Lark

If you’re thinking of picking up a side hustle, you aren’t alone. According to Zapier, one in three Americans now have a side gig to supplement their primary income stream. The key to success is utilizing resources you already have at your disposal, like your house. There are a number of ways that you can monetize your property and turn it into another source of income. If you’re successful, you might even turn your side gig into a full-fledged business.

Before you can monetize your home — for example, by showing it off on social media — you’ll need to get it looking its best. A Clear Path offers decluttering and organization tips to help. Read on for more tips to follow if you want to create a clear home to transform into a gorgeous, money-making machine.

Document your home improvements

HGTV shows like Fixer Upper have become popular in recent years. Country Living notes that ratings for such “home genre” shows are high. Seize the momentum of this trend. Document your own home improvements, big and small. Make sure to use appealing visual formats, like YouTube or Instagram. Shane Baker provides tips on figuring out which platform is best for you, like considering your niche and current follower counts.

decluttering is one of the specialties of A Clear Path a professional organizer.

Monetize your blog or website

You can also document your home improvement journey in writing via a blog or website. This opens up yet another source of possible income — selling ad space. For example, if you write about a plumbing disaster, you might have ads for plumbing services. Diggity Marketing provides other pointers for monetizing a blog, from using Google AdSense to accepting visitor donations.

Check out affiliate marketing opportunities with home organizing services and more

Look for affiliate marketing opportunities that make for logical collaborations. As Big Commerce explains, this is a type of performance-based marketing where marketers (called affiliates) earn a commission for marketing another company’s products. Their sales are tracked via links. You might team up with home organizing services like A Clear Path, home remodeling companies, homewares providers, and more.

No clue how to do affiliate marketing? Ahrefs provides a quick step-by-step guide. Here’s an overview:

  • Pick a platform, like a YouTube channel or blog.
  • Select a niche to narrow things down. For example, maybe you want to focus on gardening and houseplants.
  • Research affiliate programs that are a good fit.
  • Sign up for your chosen program.
  • Create compelling content to engage your audience.
  • Drive traffic to your affiliate collaborator.

From there, all you have to do is cash in, and you’re already making money from your clean and clear home.

Boost traffic with social media ads

If you’re going to monetize a blog or website, you need to have consistent traffic. More visitors means more visibility. When it comes to points like selling ad space, this ups your brand’s value. Goins Writer explains how to drive blog traffic through social channels. They recommend asking others to promote your blog through social bookmarking sites, like Reddit and Stumbleupon, and implementing sharing tools on your platform. 

preparing to rent or sell your property? Use a professional organizer like A Clear Path

Transform Your Home-Related Business Into a Real Company

Ideally, you will grow your side hustle with time. You will attract more followers on social media, boost website traffic, and raise your profile overall. At some point, you may discover that your “side hustle” has become a legitimate business. Grasshopper provides tips for determining whether you’re ready to quit your day job, such as:

  • Try a beta test: Start treating your side business like it’s a full-time business for one full day per week and see how it goes.
  • Assess your confidence: Making the leap can be daunting. Assess your confidence and determine if you’re emotionally ready.
  • Write a business plan: Writing a business plan that includes financial projections will help you determine if this is a viable path forward.
  • Consider financials: Finally, consider whether you need additional funding to get your business going.

If you do think that it’s time to create a full-time business, make it official. Establishing a formal legal entity like a limited liability company (LLC) protects your personal assets in case you run into business problems. You have to register your LLC with the state. While this requires some paperwork, it’s not a super complicated process. Business formation services can help you get it done in as few as five steps.

The Final Word

You won’t transform your home into a money-maker overnight, but you have to recognize the signs. Be patient! With perseverance, you will be able to take your home-related side hustle to the next level.

A Clear Path Professional Organizing and Productivity can help you get your home ready for the spotlight through decluttering, virtual organizing, and other services. Check out reviews from former clients.

 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels
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Stuck On Repeat

By: A Clear Path employee, Lauren Brennan

For a month that centers around warm and fuzzy feelings, February can be an ironically depressing time. Winter festivities are behind us and we’ve settled back into our monotonous routines. For some of us the mid-month dose of candied hearts and sappy greeting cards has us rolling our eyes, especially when we’re still fighting our way through a global pandemic. What do we have to look forward to? Spring cleaning? Didn’t we just do that last year?! Ugh. 

Organizing is an unending effort. It’s a job that can feel like it’s never done. in the northern hemisphere, hearts inform us that spring will be here soon and de-cluttering and removal is in the airIn the 1993 movie Groundhog’s Day an arrogant journalist named Phil Ryerson finds himself stuck in a supernatural cycle where, for reasons unknown to him, he must relive February 2nd indefinitely. Forced to repeat the same day in a snow-blanketed town that worships a rodent, eventually he loses his mind. Looking for the twin to a set of socks in a messy drawer can have a similar effect. 

Valuable Lessons

For Phil Ryerson and those of us living in the real world, repetitious endeavors can lead us to the brink unless we learn a valuable life lesson: while our circumstances may be unvaried, our perspective is not. With all the time spent at home watching dust collect on top of clutter that never stops materializing, it’s easy to feel stuck, out of control of the world around you. Messes can be ignored when we aren’t surrounded by them all day long. Now, with many of us at home most of the day, it’s unavoidable. Each morning we wake up and the clutter is still there. But the truth is, you’re not stuck. You can get it together regardless of that pesky Groundhog declaring four more weeks of winter. Here’s how: 

Start small.

  • Tackle one junk drawer a day until everything has a place and a purpose.
  • Clean up the desktop on your laptop or computer.
  • Leave no family photo or online receipt behind!
  • Rename screenshots so you can find them later with ease or simply delete them entirely.
  • Screenshots of photos that already live forever on your Facebook page may not be necessary to keep.
  • Photos and large files take up valuable storage space on your hard drive.
  • Clear a space for new memories.
  • Eliminating objects crowding your physical space can be very empowering.
  • The simple act of deleting a few files can leave you with a sense of accomplishment and the inspiration to continue clearing more. 

Use what you have on hand.

  • The KonMari shop sells beautiful, albeit expensive, boxes that act as drawer separators making your folded clothing more easy to spot.
  • If you have deep dresser drawers, use empty shoe boxes instead of purchasing fancy paper ones.
  • Upcycling is friendly on your wallet and the environment.
  • Don’t save every little box that Amazon sends your way, but do keep sturdy packaging that can be repurposed for later storage.
  • Utilizing what you already have lying around saves you time and money. Don’t get lost in the pages of a virtual Container Store.

There’s no need to waste any more time waiting to get organized, we all know the postal service has more important things to deliver these days. You probably have the tools already, you just need to get a little creative. 

DIY is easily done every day, but those large organizing jobs need a professional organizerGet crafty!

  • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, literally.
  • Not everything needs to be hidden away. Remember that form follows function when considering where to store and place items.
  • You can repurpose unconventional spaces like the space underneath a kitchen cabinet or in front of a backsplash for hanging pots or mugs.
  • Pinterest is a great resource for creating mood boards and finding inspiration for new projects.
    • It’s a photo-centric mood board in and of itself, with many of the photos linking to helpful articles or online shops.
  • Type in “upcycled organization” or “diy storage” and you’ll find a slew of hacks and tips for getting your life in order. 

Not that crafty yourself?

Etsy is an excellent online shopping alternative to Amazon and other corporate distributors. The shops on Etsy are largely run by small business owners looking to broaden their market. With farmers markets and art fairs put on hold, it’s a great way to support artists and local vendors. It’s also a pathway to connect with real people, something you can’t get from a big-box retailer. Sellers often include handwritten notes, stickers or homemade cards with purchases. If you don’t have the materials on hand to DIY a shoe organizer or sock drawer divider, consider shopping small first. 

Donate it!

Spring time isn’t the only suitable purging season. Take stock of your household inventory not once but twice a year. Autumn, before the holidays, is a great time to clear your space. Go through old decorations and any back-to-school items you may have lying around and donate them just in time for someone else to enjoy. Donating items during times that correlate with events throughout the year increases the chance that someone will actually find and use the item you’re giving away. 

The next time you are feeling victimized by your clutter, remember: you are in control. Tomorrow can be different if you choose to act differently. An emotional weight is lifted when we physically remove what no longer serves us. Incorporating recycling and donating into our organizing practices helps us waste less and connect with our community. Perhaps you spent last year in a vicious cycle of daily online shopping. A Groundhog’s Day scenario that transpired for many of us was reaching for the phone and hitting the “Buy with 1 click” button before we even had our morning coffee. Giving away old (or even new) items to someone in need can help with the guilt of past purchases and free up valuable space in your home. Next time, look around your space and see what you could repurpose before you reach for the credit card. Finding out that you already have everything you need, now that’s a warm, fuzzy feeling. Contact us for help for what might seem to be an overwhelming task.

Dual Success: How To Start A Business And Move Your Household At The Same Time

Many successful business ventures got their starts in garages, home offices or at kitchen tables. If you’re ready to launch your small business with a goal of operating primarily from a home-based location, it might be time to consider a move that provides both your business, and your family, room to grow. Let A Clear Path help, starting with the following tips:

Plans and Professionals

While launching a new business and moving to a new home simultaneously might feel like a daunting task, when done in a well thought-out manner and the right people on your team, it can pay both personal and professional dividends!

As HRchitect explains, pre-planning is key to a successful startup. Of course, this is all the more complex when you’re moving at the same time you’re getting your venture off the ground. For your enterprise’s purposes, a formal business plan can help you structure your goals and how to meet them. It will also come in handy if you apply for any loans or grants.

For assistance with finding and purchasing a new home and sorting out details related to your venture, partnering with a professional organizer can make a world of difference. From decluttering to arranging a professional mover to packing and unpacking, turn to a professional you can trust for solutions.

Moving and setting up a a new office is a job for a professional organizer. Setting Your Budget

As CNBC explains, you need to create a budget that takes into consideration all of the usual home-buying financial needs, such as down payment, closing costs and fees. You may want to look for a reputable lender with experience in home-based business ventures who can help you find the best loan products available for your situation. If your new home will require any type of retrofitting (like the addition of a separate business entrance), factor anticipated costs into the budgeting process.

Striking The Perfect Balance

Of course, you’ll want to take your family’s needs into consideration when situating both the household and the business in a new location. Give thought to how you will collectively use the property. Consider a home that has a mother-in-law’s quarters or a detached casita that can be used specifically for work purposes. If that’s not possible, look for a layout that can accommodate both work and home – for example, a design where office space is on one side of the house, and communal living space is on the other.

Getting Things Organized

Don’t allow the moving process to derail your business start-up efforts. Create a “go box” that has all of your most critical files, documents and essential materials, and keep it with you, rather than pack it into storage containers. This will ensure you have all relevant business info with you throughout the move. Encourage family members to do the same by packing their own essential items and keeping them at hand. This approach will reduce any “down time” around getting your business up and running.

Making Work From Home Work

According to the Hartford Co., working from home can have numerous rewards, including having more family and personal time,An organized office is best completed with the help of a professional organizer and operating on your own schedule. Running a successful business from home requires exceptional time management and organizational skills, as well as a commitment from the rest of the household to draw a firm boundary between work and personal life. 

Dedicated office space and equipment can help. For instance, buying modular furniture for your office space gives you the option of changing up your environment as your business grows; a new laptop, desktop, printer, scanner or other office essentials, such as filing cabinets, chairs, lighting and  phone systems, can ensure professional operations. You can shop online for the latest offers, discounts and specials to aid in this effort.

There are many upsides to starting a new business and operating it from home. In addition to taking advantage of Internal Revenue Service home office tax deductions, you may also have the ability to set your own work hours, and cultivate a fulfilling work-life balance. There’s also the added benefit of not paying rent for office space, which potentially means you can put more of your income toward housing. 

Having all of your personal and professional objectives top-of-mind before getting started will help ensure a smooth and successful venture. And remember to partner with A Clear Path, who can ease you through this challenging process.

Images: Unsplash.com

My Kids Don’t Want It- Now What?
Estate Settlement: Tangible Personal Property

By: Regina Lark, Sheri Samotin, Noelle Valentino

When downsizing, there are many precious items that need to be organized with great care

There are many challenges to dismantling an estate – from recovering important documents and hopefully avoiding probate, to deciding what to do with elegant (but worthless) tchotchkes and table linens. The size and scope of some projects can be daunting, even for the most dedicated of adult children, who likely have too much stuff in their own homes to tackle the clear-out of their parents’ household. There are so many moving parts, and often requires a team of experienced, dedicated professionals who work together to settle the estate and get the home ready for sale. An estate attorney, a realtor, and a good handyperson ought to be part of the team. 

Dealing with the contents of the property is a different matter. Three professionals: a private fiduciary, an appraiser/valuator of tangible personal property, and a company that specializes in de-cluttering and downsizing, walk us a through their process to dismantle an estate, and the considerations that must be made when helping a family going through this process. 

How to Get Started: Build Your Team

Sheri Samotin, Private Professional Fiduciary, LifeBridge Solutions

One of the most frequent comments I hear in my first conversation with a prospective client is, “I’m overwhelmed.” If the prospect is the family member indecluttering and organizing means that everything will be put into a proper place and can be easily found. charge of administering a trust or estate, they have many unfamiliar tasks to handle. Sometimes, I am my ownDocuments need to be organized professionally uasing a checklist to insure all are in place “client” if I am serving as a designated trustee or administrator. I must make the magic happen regarding clearing and distributing the personal property in accordance with the trust and/or will.

After I have reviewed the relevant documents, it’s time to lay out my strategy. Typically, the first step is to go through the home to locate any valuable items that could “grow feet” and disappear. Those items need to be secured. In addition, we search every nook and cranny for any papers that might be needed to support prior tax returns or to help us file a return. In one recent case, we

thought the decedent was a single man. In fact, when going through his papers, we learned that he had been briefly married as a young man and that the marriage was annulled. Sometimes we are looking for information related to the “family tree” to make sure everyone who is legally entitled to notice receives it. At the same time we are going through the paper, we make “shred” bags for documents that don’t need to be saved but require proper disposal.

Once the paper monster has been tamed, it is time to get an idea of the value of the personal property. 

Valuing Tangible Personal Property, Appraisal and Disposition at Auction

Noelle Valentino, Fine and decorative arts specialist; household contents appraiser, John Moran Auctioneers & Appraisals

More often than not, the bulk of the value of an estate’s tangible personal property can be found in just a handful of items. It is important to engage a specialist early in the process to identify the items of significance before they are claimed by relatives, given away, donated, or worse. A qualified tangible appraiser will produce an inventory of household contents, or a formal appraisal report, depending on the needs of the estate. The intended use of the document must be disclosed in the report: equitable distribution, charitable donation, estate tax filing, or something else. 

A Clear Path can coordinate the valuation and selling of collections as part of their organizing serviceFor IRS purposes, estates approaching the exemption limit will require a household contents appraisal. The IRS defines art broadly: jewelry, paintings, silver, rugs, decorative objects and more. Outside of tax regulation, there are often issues that arise due to family reasons and an estate appraisal may be recommended to avoid later conflict. For the purposes of distribution among beneficiaries, it is helpful to discuss a minimum value threshold with the appraiser. A fair market value of several hundred dollars is often a good starting point for an object’s inclusion in the report.

Appraisals are considered legal documents and can be relied upon by an attorney, the court, or the IRS. Selecting a personal property appraiser who is USPAP compliant, with membership in one of the three preeminent appraisal organizations, is imperative. Qualified appraisers in your area can be located on the websites of the Appraisers Association of America, International Society of Appraisers, or American Society of Appraisers.  

When considering the eventual disposition of assets from an estate, an auction house can also be helpful in identifying the items of greatest value in the home. With the intent to secure new consignments, they will provide free auction estimates. With that said, auction houses are likely to include only the items valued over $1,000 and appealing for bidders in today’s market. Note well that an auction estimate does not take the place of an appraisal. It is however, an advisable sale venue for estate property due to its the broad reach and rapid mode of sale, together ensuring fair market value has been achieved.

When the ‘good stuff’ is gone… Now what? 

Regina F. Lark, Ph.D., downsizing and organizational specialist, A Clear Path, LLC

The typical household contains thousands of pieces of tangible personal property. Every room has stuff – some rooms have more stuff than other rooms. Drawers and cupboard and closets are filled with flatware, dishes and clothes. Even if considerable downsizing had already happened, there’s no getting around this fact: we all have to deal with our clients’ stuff.  

To get the job done in an efficient and timely way, look for a professional organizing/downsizing company with access to a broad range of resources to complete the dismantling of an estate. Find out what they know, and who they know, when you ask these questions: 

  • What does your business liability cover? 
  • Do you have a project management fee? 
  • Are you able to ship items across, or out of, the country? 
  • Have you encountered a hoarding situation? If so, how do you handle the massive volume of ‘stuff?’
  • Do you have the ability to sell what the auction house doesn’t want? 

After the auction house reviews and removes what I call the “big ticket” items, the remainder of the household contents can be photographed (to attach to donation receipt), packed-up, and hauled to the nearest non-profit. If removal is all that’s required, a good downsizing company can have the estate cleared and ready for the realtor to put on the market.

Another option is working with a traditional estate sale company. They usually spend two weeks tagging everything in the house, around the yard, and in every kitchen drawer.  Many estate sale companies charge a percentage of the sale’s gross profits. For example, if the company charges 40% of gross profits and the sale yields $10,000 then you will owe the company $4,000. Be sure to ask about any additional services such as trash removal, post-sale clean-up, etc. If the estate is thick with clutter, does the estate sale company address that, too? 

Over the past couples of years, online estate sale auctions have become wildly popular, and MaxSold, a Canadian company with a robust platform, has generated a large footprint in the United States. The concept is simple – an organizing team catalogs every item in the house into what are known as “lots,” distinct groupings of one or more items sold at auction– creating lots of lots! The sale is live online for 7-10 days and every lot begins at $1 (yes, one dollar). The bidding is particularly fast and furious on the final day of bidding. The ultimate split is 70% to the estate and 30% to Max Sold. If a fiduciary hires a team of professionals to dismantle an estate, it will likely come close, break-even, or make money on the sale of the remaining tangible personal property, and quite often, offset the cost of their service.

Conclusion: 

Due diligence regarding the estate’s personal property is an important aspect of fiduciary duties. Sentiments tend to run high when it comes to the “stuff.” Suspend bias and remain objective with assets you are unfamiliar with, calling in experts where appropriate. Moreover, encouraging your clients to update their estate plans ahead of time, including a review of existing appraisals with personal property assets, as this can prevent later confusion. Proactive steps in identifying items of value and having a working plan for the disposition of tangible personal property can mitigate the risks and avoid family conflict, or a professional headache.

Using a Checklist before downsizing will create an easier less stressful move

How to remove stress from a household junk removal

A cluttered home is a home with constant risks of injuries waiting to happen. That is why you should take a day or moving and de-cluttering is stressful, but is better with a professional move manager and NAPO organizertwo every six months or so to clear out all the unwanted junk you have lying around your household. Stressful as this process can be, there are steps that you can take to make it organized and seamless. Whether you wish to hire professional junk removal specialists or to handle the task on your own, this article is your guide to success. Continue reading to learn more about how to remove stress from household junk removal.

A clear home through planning

Planning is key, no matter the project you’re taking on. When it comes to household junk removal, it is particularly important to know what you’re doing in advance. You’ll need time to go through your belongings, declutter and put in storage what you intend to keep. Having a plan on how to do this will eliminate stress and anxiety.

We suggest the following course of action:

  • Determine clutter hot spots within your home that you think should take priority.
  • Review your belongings room by room or area by area.
  • Make three piles – keep, throw away or donate, and store. When dealing with bulky items and pieces of furniture, you could use sticky notes of different colors to mark the items.
  • Organize friends and family members to help you with household junk removal or hire professionals to take care of it for you.

You’ll want to set a deadline for yourself for each of these stages and areas. The more structure you introduce into this process, the easier it will be to remove stress. Pick a timeframe that is attainable but not too ambitious. If you don’t give yourself enough time, you can end up feeling frustrated with how slowly it is going.

Where to start

If you haven’t decluttered and organized your home in a while, starting this project can feel quite intimidating. One of the ways of getting around this is by starting small. Pick a shelf, desk, or even a drawer. Then, give yourself some time and go through it until you finish it. Doing this will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to tackle some larger areas next.

Stressful jobs: junk removal, decluttering, pack and unpack for a move. All of these are helped by using a professional organizer and move managerIf you have hoarding tendencies, you may feel particularly listless about where to begin and how to choose what to get rid of. Our resources on hoarding and disorganization might be helpful here.

Safety first

Besides careful planning, another way of removing stress from a household junk removal is to take certain safety precautions. Most of these apply in both cases – whether you decide to do DIY this project or hire professional services.

One helpful tip would be to remove doors off their hinges. This will provide either you or the movers with more space, especially if you are removing some bulky items. Try using dollies and straps for any heavier pieces of furniture or appliances as well. This is the only way you can be sure you are protecting your back.

Also, try to disassemble all of your belongings that will allow it. For the most part, large furniture pieces can be torn apart into manageable pieces. There will be no other way to manage certain items, such as your pool table. Doing this can cause a lot of anxiety for some people, especially those that don’t fancy themselves the handyman around the house. The easiest way to stop stressing about it is to get someone who knows what they’re doing to handle it. 

Protective equipment

Being scared of injuring yourself comes hand in hand with any estate clearing or downsizing. You are bound to have to deal with bulky and heavy pieces of furniture and appliances. Worrying about yourself or your family members getting injured can be quite a burden. 

Ensure you are safe from injuries by wearing the right clothes and accessories:

  • Clothes that will give you good coverage but that you won’t mind ruining.
  • Protective gloves for your hands – the most exposed body part during household junk removal.
  • Sturdy boots that will protect your feel in case anything falls on them but also give you a good grip.
  • Safety glasses if you are using tools.
  • Wheelbarrow if you are doing any household junk removal in your yard. Your back will thank you.

Hiring the right organizing services and junk removals

As mentioned above, if you are wondering how to remove stress from a household junk removal, your best bet is to hire professionals to do it for you. However, even picking the people who are right for the job can cause a lot of worries. Here are a couple of things to look out for:

  • The company should be licensed and insured.
  • They should be able to manage the removal of any junk, anywhere on your property.
  • Ask if they handle recycling or donating items that are in good condition.
  • See if they will provide a free estimate in writing – this will make things much easier for you.

Conclusion

Chances are there will be some larger items you will want to get rid of, especially if you are conducting a boomer downsize project. You don’t want to cut corners here, because removing bulky items on your own in a hurry can lead to injuries or damaging your property. Your best bet towards getting this stressor out of the equation is to hire professionals who will handle your senior move and downsizing.

 

You might be interested in a free copy of the Table of Contents and 1st Chapter of my Book

Download a complimentary copy of the 1st Chapter of Regina’s 3rd Edition of her book, Psychic Debris

Dr. Regina Lark

regina@aclearpath.net

 

 

 

https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-in-black-leather-boots-sitting-on-brown-cardboard-boxes-4553277/

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Moving Management During the Holidays

Buying a new home is a taxing enough journey on its own. Throw in a global pandemic along with general holiday stress and you’re sure to be looking at one chaotic move. There are many factors to consider when buying a home during the holidays. Organizing for the big day involves time management, financial planning, and finding properly trained relocation specialists. 

If you’re looking for advice on how to navigate such an exciting life event in these unpredictable times, you’ve come to the right place.

Moving Management

Working can be tedious and exhausting without help. Use a professional organizer to help ease the load.

When considering how you plan to actually move your belongings from one place to another, you may face more difficulty than usual finding any sort of help. Around this time of year, a lot of people are busy with prepping for the holidays and many are seemingly still, and rightfully so, hesitant to assist in any capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of relying on your often preoccupied friends and family, you most likely do not have access to the appropriate equipment needed for a big move. Renting moving equipment like a rental truck or dolly can prove to be a time-consuming headache as well. 

In order to alleviate some of that pressure, we recommend our pack and unpack service where you will be working with our trained relocation specialists to help declutter your home and carefully pack away your boxes into our provided boxes and packaging. Having a relocation specialist take some of this burden can be a big help. Using our service will let you focus on some other aspects of the move as you can be as or as little involved as you wish.

Organization and Time Management

Having proper moving management goes hand in hand with organization and time management. It’s easy for some to toss aside any plan of action and dive headfirst into a project, but you will surely find yourself floundering without a proper plan in place. There are some often overlooked organizational tips that you will find helpful during your relocation. Here are some to prioritize throughout:

  • Make a To-Do List

Taking the time to sit down and write out the goals you wish to accomplish is a great way to stay on task. Not only that but referring to the list will help you remember things much easier during this busy time.

  • Set a Time Limit

With each goal you write on your to-do list, set a general time limit for each one. This gives you the ability to plan out the rest of your day and not spend too much time on one task. 

  • Give Yourself Space Between Tasks 

If you realize something is taking a bit longer than expected, give yourself some crucial small breaks in between tasks. Doing so will tremendously help you to succeed in completing tasks thoroughly while not eating up delegated time to other ones. The time in between will be a nice way to help you unwind as well.

  • Be Productive

Everyone’s organization and planning processes are different. For some, waking up early and starting the day off strong comes easy. For others, they become more productive as the day goes on. Finding which hours you are most productive and using that to your advantage will help you get more done throughout the day.

Knowing where everything with great organization is easily accomplished with a professional organizerIf you feel as though there’s too much on your plate to sufficiently plan out your time and organize your move properly, you can roll the fees for our pack and unpacking service into escrow and we will unpack and organize for you. As a financially viable option, it allows you to completely focus on prepping your home for the holidays while we take care of the move entirely. 

Financial Planning

Arguably one of the most important aspects of a move is the financial factor. Your funds may already be a little tight due to a loss of income because of the pandemic or you simply have budget restraints for the upcoming holiday season. Either way, a move can prove to be very pricey. What you individually factor into the price of your move will depend on your specific situation. Some finances to think about ahead of time include:

  • Furnishings for your new home
  • Repair, renovations, or maintenance
  • Upcoming bills
  • Cost of the move itself (gas, hotel stays, food, babysitter or pet sitter, etc.)

Try not to panic if you’ve already created your budget and you see some things you forgot to factor in. There are a handful of different financing options that may be available to you if you’re a bit strapped for cash. If you’re moving from one home to another you could have equity in your home in which case you may qualify for a home equity loan. This option can financially support you with starting a project in your new home, getting a larger or more convenient vehicle, or whatever else may reduce your stress during the move. 

If you are not moving from home to home or you have no equity in your home, you may also want to consider a personal loan from your local bank, credit union, or online lender. Getting a credit card or increasing your credit limit is always an option, but is usually not recommended as it is easy to find yourself racking up some solid debt with a high interest rate. 

During the holidays, everyone just wants to take that time to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, dealing with a move can drastically take away from that. But working smarter and not harder will give you the time back in your life to enjoy these moments with family and friends in a time when it is needed the most. 

Using a Checklist before downsizing will create an easier less stressful move