Downsize / Move browsing by category


Home Staging ROI

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Whether your next move is imminent or a few years away, I want to share this resource with you.

Home Sale Maximizer Guide

This guide is based on input from 1,000 Realtors, asking what improvements will pay the biggest dividends when a home is sold. The results of the survey are condensed in this chart.


Maximizer Guide  


Applying the first three suggestions at a cost of around $1,000 can raise the sale price of your home by $5,000 or more AND speed the sale.

The Maximizer Guide will walk you through each of the suggested improvements complete with checklists. I love it! Print the guide if you have a move in the offing, or bookmark so you can find it again… whenever. Happy moving!


Organizing Around Function

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

The HGTV designers are always saying a room should have one main functionto appeal to a home buyer.

My second bedroom is a good example of a room that has an identity crisis. That room has simultaneously been a guest room/my office/storage area (pronounced: dumping ground). I knew where everything was, but it wasn’t pretty and truthfully didn’t work on any level.

So, a designer friend of mine came to help me decide how to give that room a well-defined purpose. At her suggestion, we will move Jeff’s man-cave office furniture out of our bedroom and into the spare. That room will now only OFFICE, with desk, computer, bookcase, and file drawers.

All office supplies and techie stuff will be in there. We will hide the cords. I can even hang some of Jeff’s professional awards and memorabilia. It will be a manly space.

That will clear the way for me to decorate our bedroom with pretty bed linens. I will also have room for a reading nook complete with bookshelves, a reading chair, light and side table.

Why do we wait until we are ready to move to make our spaces both pleasing to the eye AND functional? This is your advice from an organizer who has done just that:

  1. Decide on one main function for each room.
  2. If you have room (or must of necessity), include only one relatedpurpose. Ex: family recreation room with media center, living room with writing desk.
  3. Gather all the supplies relevant to the room’s function.
  4. Decide how you can store everything closest to the action. See my blog for storage ideas.
  5. Be sure you have both ambient and task lighting in place.
  6. Throw in some pops of color with fabric, accessories, and wall hangings.

You will have a space you that works and is pleasing to your eye. AND you will be able to enjoy it now!

Goodwill Spreading Good Will

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Every other month, central Ohio organizers meet for encouragement and to sharpen our craft. At our January NAPO-Ohio meeting, we invited Kat Ellery of Goodwill Columbus to tell us more about what her organization does with donated items.

I knew the gist of the mission was to help the disabled. Goodwill’s stated purpose is more profound:


“Building INDEPENDENCE, QUALITY of LIFE, and WORK opportunities for individuals with disabilities and other barriers.”


The latest stats point to Goodwill’s continued success. In 2011, 1241 individuals received job training, 543 were provided wage opportunities and 205 persons were placed in competitive employment.

In order to provide services, Goodwill receives donations to sell or recycle. In other words, this organization is a GREEN dream! The amount of raw goods recycled in 2011are staggering.

  • 997,184 lbs. of metal recycled
  • 889,000 lbs. of wood recycled
  • 347,517 lbs. of plastic recycled
Kat was rather surprised at our specific questions and comments. We organizers want to see the extra “stuff” our clients are willing to part with go to a good cause.

What I learned was that some of the “stuff” I had considered good only for the land fill would actually be stripped down and sent to recycling. These are a few examples:

  • Non-functioning strings of Christmas lights – the copper is reclaimed (and a job provided)
  • Broken furniture, small pieces of wood – wood recycled
  • Old cassette and VCR tapes – plastic recycled
  • Plastic hangers – plastic recycled
  • The wires you have no idea what they do to – copper reclaimed
  • Old computers – broken into component parts, partnering with Dell to recycle NO NEED TO SCRUB INFO.



In other words, if you don’t need it and you don’t think anyone else can use it – GIVE IT TO GOODWILL!





For larger items and pick up, Goodwill suggests these organizations in Franklin County:

Remodeling/Construction materials - Habitat for Humanity of Central Ohio, 614-RESTORE

Mattress/Box Spring - Salvation Army in Central Ohio614-221-4269

Food, personal care items - Mid-Ohio Food Bank614-274-7770

Large appiances – Mattress/Box spring - Furniture Bank614-272-9544

Large freezer/Refrigerator - AEP Ohio Recycling Program877-545-4112

I love it when a plan comes together and we all work together to help others, don’t you?

Why Can’t I Finish Anything?

Friday, February 1st, 2013


MARTHA: I asked my husband, Jeff, to lend a hand with this month’s newsletter. Jeff is a certified project manager and sees the world thru a PM’s eyes. Here are his thoughts on what can happen when you or I attempt an organizing project:

JEFF: Let’s say you want to do some housework, specifically dusting. You gather the dust rag and your favorite cleaner and start.

As you are working around the room, you notice that the floor needs vacuumed so when you finish dusting, you get out the sweeper and go at it.

You are tooling around the room cleaning the floor, when you become upset. You can see some spots on the baseboard that are quite unsightly and need to be touched up with paint. So, you finish sweeping and the break out the paint, paint brushes…

You can now see what is going on; your work is never going to end. Discouragement is just around the corner.

This is an example of “scope creep”. Your initial project scope (i.e. dust the room) has grown to include vacuuming and now painting!

When you start a project, make sure you identify the scope of the project. Define what you want to accomplish. Be sure it is realistic and attainable for the time and money you want to expend on it. And don’t let it grow!!

Almost always, if the scope of a project increases, then the time, money, and energy required to finish grow also. Plus you and your team members are in jeopardy of becoming discouraged. Good luck this month and watch for that scope creep!

NOTE: Jeff was kind. In his example, we finished the chore – the project – we initially intended to complete. Unfortunately, that is often not the case, especially when the project is not one we enjoy!



Jeff Clouse has been managing projects for over 20 years at Federal, State and local government levels. He is a certified ProjectManagement Professional (PMP) who lives very happily in Columbus, Ohio, with his lovely wife, Martha


Moving Van Ready

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

More Space, Less Filling!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

One reason for clutter is that we have too much stuff and too littlespace. Is the lack of space the real problem?

If you agree to live in one of the new micro-unit dwellings that Mayor Bloomberg is proposing for New York City – 300 square feet of livingspace - you could truly claim a small space!

Most of us here in the U.S. have plenty of room for the essentials – what we need to live. We even have room for beauty to feed our soul – art, fabric touches, pops of color.


So, what is the rest of the stuff we have crammed into our homes until we cannot relax? As you look around, do you see…

  1. Inherited items valued by someone else? Ask yourself “Am I the owner this item deserves?” Often the answer is NO, the item needs someone who will enjoy ownership, rather than seeing it as a burden.
  2. Things that remind you of the past? If the reminder is a good one, find a way to keep the memory (take a picture) but lose the thing. Bad memory – let it go.
  3. Information you want to chew on? This may be in newspapers, magazines, or books. However, you know you can’t read it all. Make a rule for how long you will keep each item: newspapers must go out on Sunday; take magazines to your DR’s office after 2 months. Choose to read books on a Kindle or borrow from the library so books don’t stack up.
  4. Projects you have started but never complete? Find someone who loves that activity and let him finish it
  5. Lots of those things you love? That may be clothes, knick-knacks, dolls, stuffed animals, or CD’s, whatever. If it makes you happy and you have a place to store it, keep it all. If not start now to pare down your collection.

At some point, too many possessions cannot be tamed even with the best Rubbermaid organizers. Your home can be a calm retreat oncemore as you gift those items you don’t need or love to someone else. Let’s go for: More Space, Less Filling It!!



Can Someone Use This?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

One positive result of the economic downturn in the U.S. (and around the world) is that you and I are more thoughtful about purchases. We are stopping to think, “Do I need that?”

We also are not as quick to just throw things in the trash. Often someone else can use that item, or the materials can be reclaimed and used again. More people are using these options to avoid loading up the garbage can: sell, donate and recycle.

I’ve listed a few resources in each category just to get your brain juices flowing. Choose the reuse option that resonates with you – you will be more likely to carry through with your intention that way!

[NOTE: A few of these resources are specific to the Columbus, OH area. Look for similar outlets where you are.]


SELL - Outlets that will purchase your used items.

One More Time - men’s and women’s clothing, purses, accessories

Clothes Mentor - women’s clothing and accessories

New Uses - household décor, small appliances, linens, gift items, limited furniture.

ReTag It - electronics, furniture, tools, medical gadgets, sports equipment.

Gadget Ease - electronics, photography, media, home entertainment, computers.


DONATE - Charitable giving with tax deduction.

Dress For Success - empowerment books, pro clothing, accessories, cosmetics

Salvation Army - cars, clothing, furniture, household goods,

Good Will - new or gently used items: clothing, appliances, electronics and furniture

Furniture Bank of Central Ohio - furniture, appliances


RECYCLE   Earth 911 - recycling centers by zip code

The Waste Not Center - supplies for teachers, artists

Soles4Souls - shoes




Click Here to find how you can get a discount at Macy’s AND Give the gift of 5 PAIRS of Shoes!





I’m sure you can add to this list. The Ohio Chapter of NAPO has compiled a list of Reuse and Recycle options that we organizers use with our clients. As an O4L reader, I would be happy to email you that resource.