Organization & Aging – What You Need To Know

As we learned recently in the news, for the first time in Canadian history seniors outnumber children in Canada (5.9 million Canadians over 65 compared to 5.8 million Canadians 14 and under), I can’t help but wonder what impact this will have on the way we live, how much we live with, and how transitions from big family homes to smaller spaces will be made. With baby boomers aging, and fertility rates declining, demographic change is all around us. With that comes the challenge of meeting the needs of all involved.

As a professional organizer, it is increasingly apparent that people of all ages are keen to live with more ease when it comes to their space and belongings. We know there are numerous benefits to being more organized, structured and efficient – in essence, more in control of our space and stuff so we feel less stress and more satisfaction.

What factors must we (organizers, family members, adult children, society, etc.) consider in order to support seniors as they transition to smaller living spaces and enter a new phase of life?

Psychological

  • Downsizing into a smaller space often means leaving behind decades of belongings and memories
  • Organizing and de-cluttering may be a welcome change, but for many seniors, it happens because of a specific event – death of a loved one, house too large, health issues, financial pressure, etc.
  • Deciding how to make a big move can be overwhelming, time-consuming and stressful
  • Throughout the process questions about what to keep, give away, donate, or pass on surface
  • Thinking about which family members can help, or will receive items, is ongoing

Organizers provide non-judgmental, encouraging and practical advice about what might be best. As a non-biased, patiently, yet firm doer, a trained professional organizer can expertly guide your “letting go and releasing process” in order to successfully make the transition.

Financial

  • Questions about what to do with family heirlooms and items of value arise consistently – who decides what is of value or not?
  • If items are deemed valuable, can they be sold? Where? What is the process for this?
  • Will other family members argue over items of value – what is in place to alleviate stress in this area?
  • How much will moving and storage cost? Do I need storage, and if so, how much does it cost?
  • How can we hire professional organizers to manage the entire process?

Professional organizers know how to efficiently work through your house and provide advice on items of value and selling options. We also provide guidance when it comes to storage versus deep de-clutter, as well as involving family members or other outside services. Personalized, efficient and reliable service are key – we do what needs to be done in a fraction of the time it takes the client.

Physical

  • There may be physical limitations to consider when downsizing
  • Some physical activity can simply be too difficult, and even dangerous, for seniors
  • No one wants to compromise their health over lifting heavy boxes
  • After de-cluttering to downsize, typically there are more boxes and bags to donate, sell, recycle, trash, etc., than clients thought they would have. Dealing with all of them can be overwhelming

An organizer is ready to do the hard, physical work, along with the dirty work, to get the job done effectively and efficiently. We dig into the deep dark corners of every drawer, cupboard, closet, shelf, and outdoor space in order to make the transition as smooth as it can be.

As professional organizers, we not only believe but see from experience, that living with only what you really need and maximizing that value is a recipe for living with more ease. We understand the challenges associated with downsizing, especially among seniors, and we are committed to helping all clients navigate the process with as much sanity, and smiles as possible.

Is this helpful as you perhaps navigate the world of seniors and downsizing?  Please send your comments, feedback, and suggestions to jessica@easeup.ca

About the Author

Having caught the organizational bug early on trying to “balance” things out as an elite gymnast, Jessica Tudos brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to her role as a professional organizer.  Drawing from her global work as an experiential educator, author, and motivational speaker, Jessica is on a mission to empower people to lead healthy, creative and organized lives.

How to Hygge for Optimal Organization & Happiness

You may have noticed a lot of talk about hygge lately (pronounced “hoo-gah”), which, in a nutshell, is a Danish approach to living simply and intentionally.

According to Luisa Thomsen Brits, author of, ‘The Book of Hygge – The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection’, hygge is a way of being present, mindful, and connected.

According to the author, Danes are some of the happiest people in the world. They don’t hygge to be content, they find contentment in hygge. “Hygge is lived in the middle of all of the other elements of an engaged life.”

So what can we learn from this Danish life philosophy, and how can it make our lives easier?

When someone hyggers (yes, it’s a verb!), we promote trivsel, which translates to “wellbeing in ourselves and others.” So even when life is challenging, hygge is about cultivating an attitude of optimism to get to trivsel.

Sounds lovely, but how do you DO it? By keeping only what we love, need, and connect with, to start. As William Morris puts it, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful.”

Beauty and utility are at the heart of Scandinavian design – think IKEA! Thomsen Brits goes on to say that, “if something has purpose as well as beauty, it has integrity. If our surroundings are too cluttered it is harder to make space to hygge. We can easily become paralyzed in disorganization and clutter by the objects around us. Hygge requires clarity, (which is) difficult to achieve if we are burdened by things or at a loss to find what we need in a sea of possessions.”

So, if we keep what we value in the present, we are on our way to a more hyggelist (yes, it’s an adjective too!) life.

If we view our home as a place of solace that restores and sustains us, we must be intentional in what surrounds us. As Thomas More states, “Home is an emotional state, a place in the imagination where feelings of security, belonging, placement, family, protection, memory, and personal history abide.”

Sustaining ourselves, and others, is closely aligned with hygge – it meets our desire to create a cozy, safe environment that resonates with our inner lives.

But how do we create and sustain a home that has meaning and function when our lives are moving so quickly, with little to no time for organizing and decluttering and deciding? Besides hiring professionals to help (yes, Ease Up is here to do just that!), we can also, on our own, make decisions about what is useful, what has meaning, what makes us content, as opposed to what feels heavy, outdated, and burdensome.

If moving towards an organized home – and mind – is our goal, we can use the concept of hygge to help us get there. As Thomsen Brits reminds us, “Each home represents an ecology of objects and totems that speak to the lives of the inhabitants. Each one of us finds meaning in things that represent our actions, goals, achievements, and the salient events of our lives. They are strands of meaning everywhere”

Is hygge helpful in organizing, decluttering and managing your home? Please send your comments, feedback and suggestions to jessica@easeup.ca

About the Author

Having caught the organizational bug early on trying to “balance” things out as an elite gymnast, Jessica Tudos brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to her role as a professional organizer.  Drawing from her global work as an experiential educator, author, and motivational speaker, Jessica is on a mission to empower people to lead healthy, creative and organized lives.

What If We Were All Minimalists?

As a Professional Organizer, I frequently get asked, and consequently think about, what it means to be a minimalist. Clients will often wonder, “If I were a minimalist, my life would be easier, right?” to which I say, “maybe.”

The reason for the “maybe”? Years of conditioning and the implication that minimalism means living sparsely with very few belongings. Cue image of a Japanese monk in a white-walled room with very few pieces in it…
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Fling into Spring with these Five (+1) Organizing Tips

Spring is here and that means time to get organized – below are 5 ways to do just that!

 

1. Entryway Excavating
Your entrance is the first thing you see when you get home so it’s time to give it some much-deserved love and attention. Time to put away the bulky winter gear (boots, coats, hats, scarves, gloves) and streamline your entrance for spring. Before packing things away, look carefully at what you used, what actually fits and what you might want to donate or give away. A tidier entrance makes everyone feel better – enjoy it!

2. Kitchen Clean Up
Out with the heavy soups, in with more salads? No matter what you plan to make, going through your cupboards and using up what you have, while tossing out what has expired, feels great. Don’t forget the freezer! And when you come across dishware, small appliances, etc. that have not been used in a while, consider donating them in, order to make more space for what you do want and do use. While you are at it, give every surface a good wipe – your cupboards will love you for it!

3. Clothes Clearance
As we move from sweaters to shirts, pants to dresses, boots to shoes, it’s time to edit our closets! Really take a hard look at what you like to wear — not what may work when you loose/gain weight, fix it, get invited to a wedding, etc. – and choose based on the feeling it gives you. Okay, a little practicality is okay too. Donating clothes that no longer serve you allows others enjoy what you no longer need/want, plus you make room for what really does make you feel good about yourself. Win-win, right?

4. Office Overhaul
Now is a good time to sort through your winter paperwork by making piles for ‘file’, ‘shred’, ‘recycle’, and ‘take action’ – you’ll feel more in control and while you’re it, grab an empty box and search for any electronic gear you no longer need. Typically found in back corners, under desks, in drawers, and up high in closets, these cords, chargers, phones, etc. can be dropped off at an electronic waste centre. Tip: Label cords so you know who their partner is – when the device is done, so is the part!

5. I’ll Deal It With Later – Now!
We all have them…spaces like the basement, garage, extra bedroom, home office – places where we put things that we’ll deal with “later.” Maybe spring is time to deal with your later?! Many decisions are waiting to be made so why not decide to make them and sort into ‘keep and put away’, donate, recycle, and/or trash.

Bonus Tip If You Have Kids…
You know how their stuff can take over…spring is a great time to edit toys, deciding with your child/ren what to keep, give away, or sell. There are many places who will gladly accept your toys and clothes – find one that’s meaningful to you and your family. Kids can be happy with less, and we are the ones to lead this process.

Your comments, suggestions and feedback are always appreciated and can be sent to jessica@easeup.ca

About the Author

Having caught the organizational bug early on trying to “balance” things out as an elite gymnast, Jessica Tudos brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to her role as a professional organizer.  Drawing from her global work as an experiential educator, author, and motivational speaker, Jessica is on a mission to empower people to lead healthy, creative and organized lives.

Spark Joy or Leave Sh*t Everywhere – Where Are You On The Organizing Spectrum?

After listening to a recent discussion on CBC radio about two very different approaches to organizing,  I felt it would be a fun to explore this topic further. Based on two books, Marie Kondo’s mega bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and Jennifer McCartney’s backlash book, The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place, the show focused on the benefits and pitfalls of organizing following the methods outlined in both books.

For those of you not familiar with Marie Kondo’s book, her method suggests that to be happy we must keep only what “sparks joy” in us, and release everything else. No matter who gave it to you, what you paid for it, what significance it once had, or how sure you are that you’ll fit into it again one day, if it does not bring joy to your life now, it must go. It’s an all or nothing approach. At the other end of the spectrum, Jennifer McCartney’s book  finds evidence to show that being messy gives you freedom to be more creative and less burdened by the stress of “having to clean up all the time.” She argues that the price we pay for trying to be clutter-free is stressing us out big time and that we should leave more sh*t around.

As a professional organizer, I have to admit my bias towards the Marie Kondo end of the spectrum which promotes a systematic method of organizing, sorting, grouping and deciding what to keep and what to let go of. My organizing mind likes to group like with like in order to really see the amount of each item one really has. Only then can we decide what we need and place that in labeled containers, drawers, bins, etc. However, after hearing more about a less structured and more “creative” approach to organizing, I wonder if both approaches do not have a place in the organizing process. The last thing we want to do is create more stress about trying to de-stress through organizing!

Having seen firsthand the numerous benefits of organizing clients’ spaces and belongings in a systematic way, I am partial to not leaving sh*t everywhere. It’s in my nature to find a practical home for everything so that life functions easier. The challenge of doing this for our clients is what motivates us, and why we do what we do! However, we can’t forget that not everyone operates this way, and perhaps some controlled chaos is ok. Perfectionism can be as equally stressful as disorganization! So perhaps there is room for “creative mess”, as long as we know where the mess is, how to manage it, and what function it serves.

Ultimately, professional organizing is about making life easier. It is about having more control over your space and your belongings so that you can enjoy what you really want to enjoy.  Too much or too little organizing structure can be stressful, so finding a suitable place along the organizing spectrum is key.  If you like order, order will serve you well, it will make you happier. If you’ve always operated on the ‘messier” side of things, then leaving things where you know how to find them is good, as long as it makes you feel more in control.

Envisioning how you want to function in your space, with your belongings, takes vision. As professional organizers, we have the ability to see potential and envision an easier way.  So, the next time you’re wondering how to maximize your space and your stuff,  think about where you are on the organizing spectrum and let us know how we can help!

Your comments, suggestions and feedback are always appreciated and can be sent to jessica@easeup.ca

About the Author

Having caught the organizational bug early on trying to “balance” things out as an elite gymnast, Jessica Tudos brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to her role as a professional organizer.  Drawing from her global work as an experiential educator, author, and motivational speaker, Jessica is on a mission to empower people to lead healthy, creative and organized lives.

The Rule of Three

Groupings of three are more satisfying, powerful and effective than other numbered things. Examples include: The Three Stooges, primary colours, The Musketeers, triple plays, the tenors, and movie trilogies.

The Organizing Experts are adding another group to this list: The Owners of Ease Up – Pauline, Jeff & Lindsay.

We are thrilled to announce that Jeff Orr has joined our ‘rule of three’ as partner in Ease Up.

We are excited to move forward together, delighting our clients with the highest level of integrity, care and service.

Welcome Jeff!

Why We Love Winter & You Can Too!

We love winter, we really do. With colder days and more time spent inside, winter is a great time to tackle our most pressing organizational and decluttering goals.

Perhaps your new years resolutions included gaining more control over your belongings? Spending less time searching for items and getting frustrated by the amount of stuff you have? Enjoying your space and your precious things more?

Below are 5 quick organizing tips to kickstart your 2017 organizing:

1. Clean out your pantry and toss expired or unwanted items.
2. Clear your closet of clothes you no longer want or wear…whatever the reason.
3. Return or donate all holiday gifts you don’t need or have a use for.
4. Put away all the holiday decor, releasing any old/unwanted items.
5. Ask for professional organizing help! Ease Up can help you reach your goals!

So, as you think about your goals and dreams for the new year, consider organizing a top priority. And, as always, we are here to help. Contact us for a free onsite  consultation today!

Please share your comments or suggestions – we always love to hear from you!

 

About the Author

Having caught the organizational bug early on trying to “balance” things out as an elite gymnast, Jessica Tudos brings diverse skills and experiences to her professional organizing.  Drawing from her global work as an experiential educator, author, and motivational speaker, Jessica is on a mission to empower people to lead healthy, creative and organized lives. jessica@easeup.ca

Streamlining, Organizing & Digitizing Your Photos For Full Enjoyment

In the spirit of Mari Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I recently decided to organize my photos so they are more readily accessible, all in one place, and easier to enjoy. Good plan right? But how to incorporate all my pre-digital prints? I knew to do this right, I’d have to tackle my collection of print photos, which live in photo albums. 46 photo albums to be exact.
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