6 Easy Steps to Create a Home Inventory

Creating a home inventory will help when you move or strat a de-cluttering of your home

These tools and tips can help you recoup thousands of dollars when disaster strikes. 

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), over 50 per cent of Americans don’t have a home inventory of their belongings putting them at a risk for inadequate insurance coverage in case a disaster strikes.

What Is a Home Inventory?

In simple words, a home inventory is an up-to-date record of all your possessions. It’s created so that in case of a disaster, you can easily and quickly get your claims settled.

Creating and updating your inventory of personal possessions is an excellent way to make the most of your renters or homeowners insurance and makes filing a claim efficient and easy.

Creating a home inventory is simple and can help you save a lot of money (and headache) in the longer run. 

Why Should I Create a Home Inventory?

It’s important to create a home inventory as:

#1. It helps you purchase the right kind of insurance

An accurate list of your personal possessions will enable you to have a better conversation with the insurance personnel when making decisions about renters or homeowners insurance coverage. It’s one of the best ways to get the best of your insurance. 

#2. It makes filing a claim super easy

Most of us can’t remember what we had for dinner last night, let alone recall everything that we possess. Disasters are stressful and scary that makes creating a list of damaged property for claims more challenging. A handy list of your belongings will prove to be a huge relief in such times.

#3. Aids in financial assistance

Following a disaster, you can only qualify for disaster assistance or a tax break is if you can substantiate your losses. An organized home inventory will prove to be useful during such a process.

Fires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes: disasters can strike any time. And when that happens, most of us aren’t in a position to recall everything that we owned. 

Unless a proper account of everything that we owned is provided to the insurance professionals, you’ll not be entitled to a proper claim. 

Therefore, the key is to have a detailed home inventory. Here are 6 easy steps to create a home inventory:

#1. Choose the Right Storage Method and a Software

  • Taking a few pictures or scribbling in a notebook is okay but not the best options to create a list.
  • Choose a software program designed to create home inventories such as What You Own that’ll make the entire process easier. 
  • You can also opt for free options by creating a DIY list using free templates from Canva or by creating a spreadsheet.
  • Do a little research to determine the best option for you before getting started.

#2. List your Personal Belongings

  • The best way to get started is by starting with an easy spot— like your handbag shelf or kitchen appliance cabinet. 
  • Write down the name and value of everything you own in that contained space before proceeding to the next area. 
  • If you want, you can also group items falling in the same category or of the same types such as books or kitchen utensils. 
  • Make small notes of the condition and model number of each item and staple the receipts next to the item if you have any.

#3. Take Help of Technology

  • If you’ve been using a pen and paper until now, it’s time for a little upgrade.
  • Take pictures, record videos or use an app that’ll help you create a room-by-room record of all your belongings.

#4. Finish the Paperwork

  • Replacing identification, reports, legal and financial documents can be a hassle.
  • Take steps to protect and preserve such documents.

#5. Create a Separate List of Valuable Items

Valuable items such as electronics, collectables and jewelry require separate insurance and therefore, it’s wise to create a separate list for them. Be extremely thorough when creating this list and include:

  • Multiple photos of each item
  • Purchase location and date
  • Serial number
  • Model
  • Make
  • Receipts (if you have any)

Follow the golden rule: if you paid more, then document more.

#6. Keep Copies in Different Places

  • No matter how you chose to create a home inventory, always create a few copies away from home.
  • Don’t limit the storage of your list to a single place such as your computer or mobile or even a hardcopy in your house—they could all be destroyed in the disaster. 
  • Save your list in the cloud or send out a few physical copies to your friends and family for the sake of safekeeping. 

The Takeaway

  • Creating a home inventory can be daunting but not if you’re using our tools and tips. 
  • Easily verify losses for your insurance claim and income tax returns by creating a home inventory. 

Need help Starting your Home Inventory

Picture credits:
Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/bAA06m4O7co
Shristi Patni is a content writer and owner of F and B Recipes. She enjoys creating a List of Citrus Fruits or a list of “Things That Make Happy” or coming up with creative Food Blog Names. Formerly the Chief Content Officer at Raletta, she is currently working on her second cookbook. 
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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.

How to Declutter and Organize Your Closet

Having to clear out your home for whatever reason can be challenging. You’re aware that there’s quite a bit of work ahead of you and dread even thinking about beginning. However, procrastinating will only make matters worse, as you’re probably very well aware. This is why you should take a breath and decide to start. The sooner you do, the sooner it’ll all be over, and you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. That being said, you shouldn’t rush into this process; there are some things you should inform yourself about prior to diving in. In the spirit of painless beginnings, let’s go over how to declutter and organize your closet without a lot of fuss.

Make an inventory of everything you own

making a list is a first step i a decluttering process when using a professional organizerTake the time to sit down with yourself before you start to organize and declutter your closet. Clear your mind and
thoroughly examine everything that you possess.


Write down your belongings in categories
in as much detail as you seem fit. You should find the right balance, meaning that the inventory should be informative to a productive degree. Don’t clutter the list that’s supposed to help you declutter. Whether you’re downsizing your home or just doing some spring cleaning, this step will benefit you greatly. Making home inventories in advance and adding to the list as you go along can save you a lot of time. However, it’s completely understandable if you’re not that kind of a person.

 If you wish to organize and declutter your closet, you should make an inventory first.

Detect your weaknesses from the start

If you’re someone who cannot focus on tasks such as decluttering and organizing your closet, admit this to yourself. By pinpointing certain areas of your character that are flawed, you’ll be able to aid them in the right way. If you’re too much of a perfectionist ever to start this process, make yourself get up. If you have a problem with being organized, write everything down and hire estate clearing services or a similar organization to help.

Clean your home

One of the biggest misconceptions about organizing and decluttering your closet is that it doesn’t include cleaning. A tidy home and a clean one go pretty much hand in hand. You cannot do one without the other. So when you start cleaning, decluttering, and organizing, make sure you use the right products. It will help you immensely. If nothing else, once you’ve purchased everything you’ll need, you’ll be much more motivated to start.

Hire a professional company to declutter and organize your closet

Much in the same way you’d hire move management and relocation specialists or cleaning services, you should think about hiring professional home organizing services to help you declutter and organize your closet. Especially if you’re not the most organized of people, there’s no harm in having someone to guide you through the process of decluttering and organizing your closet

Divide and conquer

criteria for separation is a key to good organizingIf you want a neat and tidy closet, you don’t necessarily need organizing services. Although hiring someone would help you out quite a bit, that doesn’t mean it’s required. You can involve your family and friends and delegate the work. This is especially advisable if you own a lot of things. Try not to look at this as some dreadful task. Make a fun day of it. Turn up some music, order a pizza, and reward yourself and your trusty helpers with some wine to help it all go down a bit more smoothly.

 

If you want to declutter and organize all your clothes, you should be decisive and get to it right away.

Organize a yard sale

Once you’ve separated the good from the bad, you then need to get rid of all the things you’ve deemed useless. One of the best things you could do to help this process move along quicker is to organize a yard sale. This way, you’ll earn and get rid of the old stuff. It’s a win-win situation. Of course, if money doesn’t play a grand role, you could also donate some of the items you’ve decluttered and organized in your closet.

Storage ideas

On the other hand, anything you don’t want to give away and get rid of, but you don’t want in your closet either, you should store. If you can make use of in-house storage ideas, go right ahead. Nonetheless, you can, of course, use a storage unit if you don’t have enough space. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to do it properly. Divide your belongings safely and efficiently so as not to have wasted all the time spent decluttering and organizing the closet.

Don’t stress about things not going exactly according to plan

Simply said, don’t stress over everything that might come your way. There will undoubtedly be some moments that won’t go as planned. That’s fine. Trusta job like decluttering can be stressful, but not if you are using a professional organizer with a decluttering specialty that you’ve done enough. Better yet, reward yourself for everything that goes right instead of punishing yourself for the mistakes that are out of your hand. Organizing and decluttering your closet can be very therapeutic if you let it be.

 Try not to stress out over the things that aren’t in your control.

 

Don’t keep items for the wrong reasons 

As the world has gotten to know people like Marie Kondo over the years, some things have become common knowledge. However, just in case you’re not yet familiar with the inner-workings of one of the most organized people known to man, we’re here to help. She’s practically given the world of decluttering and organizing closets a completely different meaning. One of the most important things she’s preaching is that we should attentively think about what we should keep in our homes and hearts

Here are some questions to help with decision-making:

  • Do I love this item, and is it giving me joy?
  • Do I still fit in this outfit, or am I holding on to an older version of myself?
  • Does it project the picture that I want to show off?
  • Do I feel comfortable in this?
  • Am I trying to impress people by owning something that’s just not me?

Sometimes asking yourself some simple and seemingly shallow questions such as these can really help. You’ll be able to declutter and organize your closet much more efficiently if you’re not holding on to specific pressures and triggers. Minimalism has never seemed more appealing.

A rack of clothes that can help you declutter and organize your closet.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/clothes-hanged-on-clothes-rack-3965545/
https://unsplash.com/photos/oa7pqZmmhuA
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https://unsplash.com/photos/i-ePv9Dxg7U

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/

https://www.pexels.com/photo/concentrated-woman-carrying-stack-of-cardboard-boxes-for-relocation-3791617/ 

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

The Holidays, Quarantine, and Emotional Labor

As the year comes to close, organining your clutter will help bring a bright new year.It’s mind boggling to realize that the holidays, the end of the year, and the END OF 2020 are fast approaching. Our normal preparations and plans are likely taking a back seat to the goal of just getting through another day, and honestly, the process is often tiring and emotionally consuming.

I’ve spent a good amount of time in quarantine doing research on my upcoming book Emotional Labor: Why Women’s Work is Never Done, and What to do About It. With the holidays bearing down on us, I know that women’s work will become even more exaggerated as the weeks fly by, with a greater focus on family, and meeting the emotional expectations of the ones we love.

Emotional labor accounts for why a woman’s work is never done. Kin work is such a large part of the invisible labor women do that Micaela Di Leonardo, who first coined the term kin work in 1987 in The Female World of Cards and Holidays: Women, Families, and the Work of Kinship’ notes that “Women are involved in three types of work: housework and child care, work in the labor market, and the work of kinship.”

How can we possibly create a celebratory mood when we’re forced to put on hold so many of our traditions? How do we keep things simple if we have to be solitary?

At this stage in the pandemic, transitioning the home into a festival of lights may either feel like something fun to do or a total nightmare. Things are still a bit disorganized and you haven’t quite gotten to working through the stuff and clutter in the garage or the top of closets, or … “Where are all those Christmas decorations I bought on sale last year?!”

I offer a few strategies to help ease you into the holidays so that your planning and prepping is enough to get your through the holidays. Your desire to celebrate while staying emotionally managed these final weeks of 2020 (yes!) may be satisfied.

you can have a professional organizer help with de-cluttering your holiday decorations.

  • Get the decorations out – and in full view of everyone in the family and ask: what are our “must have” decorations this year. Let everyone pick one or two things that really “speak” to each individual. Keep it simple.
  • Think twice about the holiday décor that no one selects. This could be a great time to de-clutter!
  • Since everyone is home, everyone gets to help decorate. Choose the date and time when you turn off the electronics for an hour to make the house festive!
  • Take the pressure off the whole cooking thing! As a family, decide a “must have” dish and order out the rest!
  • Instead of gifts, let the family choose a non-profit, or a shelter, or organization that serves the greater good.
  • Virtual family outings – tours of museums and galleries – here’s an outstanding link showing 75 of the BEST of the BEST tours!
  • Family fun with extended Family: Host a Murder Mystery and create an actual virtual “who done it?”
  • Plan for next year! Gather ‘round the Zoom room and get excited about Holidays 2021!! Delegate responsibilities, trust everyone will follow-through, and then delegate who’s going to follow-up with everyone who is follow-through!
  • Delegate tasks to family members to create a family activity. Have one person work on writing addresses on envelopes for cards, another to help with meal preparations, someone else may do the online shopping, etc. This creates shared responsibility and achievement for the whole family.
  • Sharp Health Group in San Diego offers emotionally healthful strategies for making it to the end of the year
  • Enjoy living in the season rather than being focused on creating memorable moments for everyone else. Focus on what matters to you and loved ones and prioritize those first.
  • Gifts: Many of my clients tell me that some of the clutter in their home is from gifts they’ve never needed, used, or desired. They keep them due to GUILT Which keeps the gift trapped in their home! I listen to the holiday gift-buying commercials. Before 12/25, television and radio ads encourage you to buy things that people will LOVE!! After 12/25, the ads change, reminding consumers that since they didn’t get the gift they really wanted, they can exchange it for something they’ll really love! No one, it seems, can win at this game of gift giving/receiving. Here at A Clear Path we’re all about the gifting that doesn’t cause clutter! Being of service, cooking a great meal, helping someone organize… now those are gifts everyone can use!

If you haven’t figured it out already, probably the most important thing you can do for yourself is to learn and understand the art and practice of delegation. A few of the strategies for getting through this time includes the delegation of the emotional and physical work of making the season work for you. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute call to learn better the nuances of delegating.

And speaking of delegating – remember – the Clear Path Ninja Organizers are here for you – and we love decorating your home for the holidays – and organizing everything when the holidays are over!

Peace and love to you all…

de-clutterng include emotional de-clutteringRegina

 

Tips to Upgrade a Small Home Workspace for Ultimate Productivity and Happiness

a professional organizer can help create a clean home environment

Image via Unsplash

If you’ve been working at the living room couch, kitchen table, or breakfast bar for the past few months, it’s time to upgrade your remote workspace for an improved work-from-home experience. You can convert nearly any small space into a productive home office, and the following tips will help you to do it!

Create a Productive Home Workspace

Even if you’re short on living space, you can create a stylish, yet productive home office that enhances the remote work experience.

  • Get creative with your space! Build a home office under the stairs, against a spare wall, or in a bedroom nook or closet.

  • Stay productive during working hours with these seven remote work tips from Upwork. In addition to creating a designated home workspace, it’s important to stick to a daily routine and start your day as early as you can.

  • Work with the pros at A Clear Path (ACP) to design, organize, and furnish your home workspace for optimal happiness and productivity.

  • Invest in a few pieces of space-saving office furniture. Compact desks are available to fit even the smallest of spaces, so you can finally stop working at the couch or kitchen table.

Beat Isolation and Loneliness as a Remote Worker

Are you missing your favorite coworkers and watercooler conversations amid COVID-19? You can combat isolation and loneliness with these great tips for remote workers.

  • Banish feelings of loneliness and isolation during the workday by adopting an animal companion, working with co-workers virtually via Zoom or Skype, and calling your loved ones over the lunch hour.

  • Join one of the 36 best Slack communities for remote workers.

  • Host a virtual happy hour with your coworkers, friends, or family members.

  • Is working from home triggering your depression? Try adding a light therapy box to your desk.

Additional Resources

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Struggling to stay productive while working from home? These additional resources can help to motivate and energize you whenever you’re feeling sluggish and unfocused throughout the workday.

Whether you’ve been struggling to stay productive while working from home amid the pandemic — or you’ve been experiencing feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression — your office space could be partly to blame. By upgrading your home workspace, finding new ways to communicate with your co-workers, and incorporating some productivity-boosting exercises, meditations, and songs into your day, you’ll become the best remote worker you can possibly be!

 

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