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The idea of the “third act” was made popular by Jane Fonda, when she gave a Ted Talk, and lots of other people have talked about it since then. She says that since we are living about 34 years longer than our grandparents, it’s as though we have been gifted with another lifetime; a third act.

You can see Jane’s presentation here (11 minutes 20 seconds).

Isn’t that inspiring? I love how she describes the third act; it’s a longevity revolution, an opportunity to age as potential instead of pathology.

We know that positive people live longer than negative people. And, we understand that people who have strong relationships live longer and tend to be more positive than people who are alone (or lonely). Hmm. Food for thought here.

Of course, being alone or lonely can be even harder for folks who are divorced or widowed. They are alone, and that could naturally position them to become lonely or negative, even if they were positive people, right?

Instead, what if the Third Act was a time for rejuvenation and renewal? A time to explore our own potential, well-being, and happiness instead of deteriorating and sliding into obscurity sounds good to me!

That’s what happened to a woman we’ll call Barb, after Barb’s Dad died. Barb’s mom, Annette, was lonely, sad, and always seemed angry after Adam died. Adam had been Annette’s one true love, and he was obviously a positive balancing force in their marriage. He was especially helpful to Annette after he retired, including helping her to manage her advancing arthritis. After he passed away, Annette was left with a huge garden to attend to, a house that was too big for just one person. She resented the changes, missed Adam fiercely, and became miserable.

Barb encouraged her mom to sell the family house, and move from a neighbourhood where she was almost always alone, into a seniors’ residence. Annette resisted for a months, arguing that she didn’t want to leave the place where she had so many memories. Eventually, though, she admitted that looking after things on her own was simply too much. She sold her home, and has hardly looked back since she moved into her new place.

“Honey, I have to call you back,” Annette often says when Barb calls nowadays. “I’m off to play cards.” Or take an exercise class, or volunteer to teach her new neighbours how to knit. She keeps her calendar filled as much as she wants to, without time to feel lonely, or dwell on her arthritis.

Seniors riding bikes along a lake.

“I miss Adam everyday,” she says, “and sometimes I feel a little guilty when Barb calls and I have something else to do. But I decided I’d better live life and make the most out of it. I’m one of those people that could be alive for another thirty years. I’m not going to waste it.”

Want Help?

At Elder Move Inc., we help people to organize, downsize, move, pack, and unpack. If you’d like some more information, get in touch with us here.

Have you seen the beautiful photography from Humans of New York? It started out as a photo journal by Brandon Stanton, and features people from all walks of life, including seniors. Stanton’s portrait project evolved to include a short story about each subject. The appetite for these sometimes sad, poignant stories grew so large that Stanton has now traveled around the globe to take photos and tell stories.

Many cities now have a “Humans of” edition, including Edmonton and Calgary. These projects help raise awareness of issues like aging, housing, and more. The photos are telling short stories of everyone featured, and of their communities.

More than 80 percent of Edmonton seniors say they want to stay in their homes as they age, but not everyone remains fully able to look after things in their homes. Making a few modifications can make all the difference in the world. Small changes like an extendable handle to pick things up from the floor, or having someone do some housekeeping for you can make a huge difference. Big changes like moving the laundry room to the main floor are more expensive, but it’s a brilliant option to eliminate stair climbing.

Cities of all sizes are doing some great work with Age Friendly projects. Hit up Google and search for “Age friendly initiatives” with the name of your city. Programs that match university students to be companions to seniors, schools that send teams out to shovel snow are helping. Age Friendly Edmonton has a great report on programs in case you want some ideas for your area. The report is linked above.

A woman on a swing with her husband nearby

With construction of senior living projects going strong, there are also plenty of options for anyone ready to move. Retirement communities, assisted or supportive living, are becoming more available. The prices and lifestyles offered meet all sorts of budgets plus meet the demand for activities. With locations available all around the city, residents can stay close to their original neighbourhood, move closer to family, or try a new area altogether!

What are your plans when it comes to the next place you (or someone 50 plus) want to live? Do you want to stay where you are? Move to a place where your meals are cooked on days you want, or your groceries get delivered to your door? Do you enjoy gathering with a crowd to watch sports, or take in the next episode of your favourite show? How would it be if there were raised gardens or a workshop to entertain yourself? What’s going to make your personal “Humans of” photostory?

Reach Out

At Elder Move Inc., we help people to organize, downsize, and age safely in place where they are. We also provide moving, packing and unpacking services. If you’d like some more information, get in touch with us here.

How are you doing with getting organized? Are you feeling ready to start, or rejuvenated about getting back at it? Everyone approaches their space at home in their own way. Some people are highly organized and have a place for everything. Other people are very relaxed about their home, and not worried about getting things organized. The rest of us are somewhere in the middle.

This morning as I was planning this article, I got thinking about how I want to organize my current place. Currently, I’m living in a small, cozy home that has to feel like home and work. The second bedroom is set up as a a home office, where I work on multiple projects at once and it has to be very efficient. The third bedroom is devoted to craft projects. It is separate from the office so that fibre particles don’t get into the computer hardware. We’ve got probably two more moves coming up in the future, so when I am getting organized, I always look for solutions that are easy to move with us.

One of the trusty tools that I have carried with me from place to place is a sewing machine. I don’t do a lot of fancy sewing, but I am pretty good at sewing a straight line. I’ve made curtains, valances, Roman style blinds, quilts, and pillows. I have recovered chairs, refinished old furniture, and I’m handy with a can of spray paint. Not everyone enjoys this kind of hands-on work, but I love it, and I have gained enough experience over the years that I can now look at a new space and see big potential, no matter the size or setup. I’m a big fan of pre-fab furniture that gets shipped in a flatpack and is easily assembled, like Ikea uses.

This closet shelving is permanently installed, but I love that the shelves and curtain rods inside it can be moved easily to meet the height and accessibility needs of any resident. This type of closet also comes with repositionable shoe racks, baskets, and more.

Closet racks installed

Below is a Roman style blind made with some beautiful fabric. This piece was custom made to hang on a door between the master bedroom and solarium. A wider blind was created to cover the main master bedroom window, for a matched set. We didn’t install pulleys on these blinds (something you often seen in this style), but used a series of dowels installed as rests on the back instead. There are no strings required in this system, eliminating a potentially serious tangling and choking hazard.

Roman Shade for Door Window

If you are looking for inspiration to make your space something you’ll enjoy living in, there are loads of options. Pinterest has an inexhaustible supply of ideas and instructions. As well, your local library will have previous issues of magazines and decorating books if you prefer to flip through pages. (I’m finding that most home organizing/decorating magazines are at least $12 now, so I don’t buy them…I seem to be investing my money in fabric these days 😉.)

Ideas and Inspiration

There are literally thousands of websites you can look at for inspiration. Hit up Google, and search for terms such as:

  • Colour (or color) of the year
  • Home organizing ideas
  • Ikea hacks (you’ll find all kinds of projects people have made from Ikea style furnishings, and you can adapt them, too).
  • Home decorating on a budget
  • Handicap accessible homes

You can find all kinds of handy ideas, including patterns for items including organizers/pockets to hang off the arm of a seat, whether you are getting organized for a wheelchair, walker, or chesterfield (and let’s face it, who doesn’t love to use the word chesterfield!).

Contact Us

If you’d like to do begin getting organized, downsizing, or you’re thinking about a move within the greater Edmonton area, get in touch. We’d be happy to help you out.

Have you ever done this?

You start something new, all excited, and ready to tackle your BIG THING. Then a week later, you quit.

The quitting part is not unusual, whether you want to stop smoking, lose weight, or clear the clutter out of your basement. It happens because it’s so hard to stay on track if you don’t see an immediate result – and we are primed to love immediate gratification, aren’t we?!

black lab puppy with teddy bear

 

If your mind is made up that you need to do the BIG THING, then the next thing to do is set up some rewards! Maybe you respond well to a pat on the back, or a nice meal at your favourite local eatery, or you’d just like 20 minutes of peace and quiet. Whatever it is, you can reward yourself to help keep your motivation high.

When you have something to look forward to, you’ll find it easier to stick with the job at hand, like when you open that closet under the stairs. The right reward will keep you going while you sort through those damp old catalogues that are stored in the garage. And, the right reward will have you coming back for more!

Before you think about what reward you want, check out these tips:

  • Avoid food rewards if you tend to overeat. You want a reward you’ll love, and not one that you are going to beat yourself up over later.
  • Choose a reward that has meaning to you.
  • Choose things that are small so that you can give yourself frequent rewards instead of having to finish an entire project. It’ll be really hard to declutter the basement and garage to earn a big vacation, but you’ll stick with it if you reward yourself for smaller tasks (start with that closet under the stairs, for example), and you receive more frequent, smaller, rewards.

We’ve asked around and checked with our team to create this list of our top 25 reasonably priced (and sometimes no cost at all), fun rewards. Leave a comment on our Facebook page if you have a favourite you don’t see here!

  1. Go to a concert at a local venue or club.
  2. Attend a craft or art show.
  3. Go get a good laugh at a comedy club.
  4. Attend a live sporting event, and remember that amateur athletes offer as good a game as lots of professionals do!
  5. Go see a movie in the middle of the day, where lineups are small and the popcorn is plentiful.
  6. Do a crossword puzzle.
  7. Start a new jigsaw puzzle, and for every thirty minutes you declutter, give yourself ten minutes at the puzzle.
  8. Light some scented candles and sit quietly and relax.
  9. Invite a few friends who aren’t easily offended to play Cards Against Humanity. (Bonus points if they help you declutter, too!)
  10. Volunteer with a local shelter or charity and see for yourself how helpful your donations can be.
  11. Go for a pedicure, manicure, or massage.
  12. Wear a step counter to track your physical activity while you are organizing. Post your results on Facebook, and enjoy the positive comments from people.
  13. Put clean sheets on your bed, and enjoy the smell when you lie down.
  14. Take a day off work for no particular reason.
  15. Visit the perfume counter and try out a new scent, just for fun.
  16. Begin a “rainy day jar” and add $5 or $10 each time you meet one of your smaller goals. When you are all done your project, you can use the money for a BIG treat.
  17. Buy a new painting for your bedroom or living room. For more fun, sign up for Paint Nite and create your own painting!
  18. Purchase a new book and sit and read it. You can schedule short reading sessions between longer sessions of decluttering to keep you going!
  19. Buy a small plant or some cut flowers that make you smile.
  20. Buy colourful shoelaces and put them in your runners as soon as you get home.
  21. Go for a walk around a formal garden.
  22. Invite your friends out for bowling.
  23. Grab your binoculars and go for an evening of star gazing.
  24. Make a small picnic and hop in the car for a drive to nowhere in particular.
  25. Visit a local dog kennel or shelter for some pet therapy.

There are plenty of ways to reward yourself, and help you stay committed to your project or to develop a new habit. As always, if you’d like some help getting organized and you’re in the Edmonton area, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Are you getting ready to organize? Does it scare you, or overwhelm? Fear not dear reader! Help is on the way! Lately here on the blog we’ve been writing a series to help you get organized in different areas of your home. Are you feeling inspired? Getting ready? If so, this article is going to help you get started.

Before you go ahead and stock up on supplies like boxes and packing tape, you need to know the most important thing about getting started. I am going to use a buzzword here, so now is a good time to sit still for a moment, and steady yourself.

The buzzword is mindset.

Mindset may sound fancy, but it’s just a way to say that before you begin downsizing or organizing, you must make up your mind that you are ready, willing, and motivated to get it done. If you’re being encouraged (or forced) to organize because you’ve got too much stuff, or you’re hoarding, and it’s hard for you to get it under control, you will naturally find it hard to make up your mind to get started. And, you may get started but find it hard to continue. Let’s face it, motivation is something that needs motivating sometimes!

If you’re hoarding or you’ve never downsized, it’s normal to feel agitated or anxious about what’s to come. If you aren’t a tidy person, the thought of all the cleaning up that’s going to be done can stop you in your tracks. Don’t get discouraged; we’re going to help you make up your mind to get control of your space because it is important to you.

This is where a positive mindset comes in. When you decide that you’re ready to organize, you’re making an important first step. Next, it helps if you write a goal statement, and you include a positive feeling about it. You don’t need to be a poet or a novelist here. Just state what your intention is and how great you will feel when everything is done.

Write your statement down on several pieces of paper, and hang them up around the house. You can hang your statement on the mirror in the bathroom, on the refrigerator door, on the inside of your front and back doors or a door to your hallway. Write it on a smaller piece of paper and slip it into your shirt pocket so you can pull it out and look at while you do the work, or supervise an organizer who is doing the bulk of it for you.

A positive statement will help you feel better about giving away items that you may have treasured for a long time. It will support you when you look at something you know you must get rid of, but the item has sentimental value to it. Your statement will be helpful when you start to feel frustrated, or disappointed in how long things are taking. If the first statement you create isn’t helpful, rewrite it and add what’s missing. Remember to include a positive feeling to it so that it becomes more meaningful, easy to remember, and it helps motivate you. Adjust one of these to make it work for your situation, or create something new!

  • “I’m feeling happy to be organizing, and I’m proud of myself for creating a place I can enjoy living in because it is open, clean, and safe.”
  • “I’m excited to tackle my organizing. I already feel happier to be getting in control of my things, and letting go of possessions that I do not need or want any longer.”
  • “I’m grateful that I can organize my things so that my children and grandchildren don’t have to do it.”
  • “I’m happy to be organizing and packing so I can enjoy moving into my new place next month!”

If you’re not a natural organizer (and not many of us are, to be honest), or you haven’t already downsized things at least two or three times in your life, then getting your house can be overwhelming, especially if you are doing it all on your own.

Remember: create a positive mindset statement that means something to you. If you are struggling, don’t feel embarrassed about asking for some help. A coach or counsellor can help you develop these statements, and help you work through the range of emotions and procrastination that can derail your plan.

if you change the way you look at things things you look at change

Here’s a handy shopping list to help you begin your organizing sessions. If you’re calling on a company like Elder Move Inc., we will bring packing supplies with us. If you want to look after things yourself and you have difficulty getting out to the stores, check out online ordering so that you have everything you need handy – that’s a good way to keep motivated!

  • Blank paper and sticky tack for hanging, or post-it notes for hanging your positive mindset statements
  • Black garbage bags for rubbish (thick construction bags are ideal if you have things that will poke through thin plastic)
  • Clear bags for recycling and donations (so items don’t get confused with rubbish)
  • Boxes for packing items that are too bulky to bag
  • Boxes or plastic tote boxes with lids, to store items for a move or place into long-term storage
  • Packing tape, the clear, wide sticky kind (note that very thin packing tape won’t stick well on dusty cardboard. If you are reusing old boxes, make sure you wipe them clean.).
  • Painter’s tape (easily removable for tagging items before a pick-up, but make sure you place it in a spot that won’t damage the finish or fabric on your item)
  • Felt markers for labelling. Use permanent markers but be careful not to mark up your furniture or clothing! Washable markers tend to smudge when written on tape, and will ink up your things, but permanent markers (which I always use) are just that…permanent if they stray onto your favourite sweater.

If you’d like some help getting organized, downsizing, or you are preparing for a move and you’re in the Alberta region, let us know! We’d love to meet with you and help you get sorted!

Getting the kitchen organized is all about what you want to get out of the space, and how much time you normally spend in it. It goes without saying that kitchens can be tricky to organize! There never seems to be enough cupboard space, or the perfect configuration. Sometimes you have a nice big space with plenty of cupboards, and other times you have a small apartment with a cupboard for a kitchen.

The Organized Kitchen

If you’ve got a tiny kitchen, you already know how essential it is to maximize your space. My rule is to make sure that any tools or dishes I buy can be used for more than one thing (this is a tip I learned from Alton Brown, who used to have a “basic” cooking show before he became a big celeb on The Food Network). Next time you want to buy something for your kitchen, ask yourself how many uses it has. If it can be used for more than one task, that’s great! If it’s a one hit wonder, give it a pass. Using Brown’s rule, I recently bought an Instant Pot. This thing is a slow cooker (a kitchen essential for me), rice cooker, pressure cooker (which has saved me a ton of time when I making stews and soups), yogurt maker, sauté pan, and more, yet it only takes up the space of one appliance!

Plastic and Glass are Beautiful

Store your dry goods in glass or plastic containers you can see through to help you put your hands on things quickly. My pantry inspiration is Canadian Chef Michael Smith, who stores his spices and dry goods in canning jars (you can see it here http://chefmichaelsmith.com/photos/new-kitchen/). You’ll see that he also had lots of in cabinet lighting, which is a great way to perk up a small, dark space.

Get Creative With Peg Board and Modular Shelves

Peg board and modular metal shelves are kitchen favourites. Cut a piece of pegboard to fit a large drawer. Insert dowels inside the peg holes, and they become guides so plates, platters, or awkward sized dishes don’t slide around. Check out great ideas on Pinterest to see loads of ways to organize with pegboard. https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/151715081175723248/

The large space under a kitchen sink is often poorly utilized. Modular metal shelves can be inserted around the plumbing to make the most of this space, and provides a sturdy surface for storing things.

Shoe Organizers

Use an inexpensive shoe organizer to save cupboard and shelf space. Look for one that has clear plastic pockets, so you can easily see things like spices and small kitchen tools that you store there. Rolls of garbage bags, elastic bands, and Hang the organizer on the inside of your pantry, or trim it down to fit on the inside of a cupboard door. You can fasten the corners with double sided tape to stop it from shifting when the door opens.

What are your favourite kitchen hacks? Share them with us on our Facebook page!

If you’d like some help getting organized, or you’re thinking about making a move, reach out to us! We’d love to help you make the most of your space. You can reach us easily by using the link on our contact page.

It can be hard to get organized in the bathroom. The popularity of pedestal sinks means there is a big cupboard missing under the sink, so we need to get creative! One popular solution to bathroom storage is to install a metal legged cabinet over the toilet. I’m not really fond of those since the cupboards are narrow and sometimes the items inside the cabinet springs out and lands in the toilet, but the concept is a good one.

Firstly, remember to keep the toilet lid shut if you are taking something out of the cabinet above it.

Secondly, have a look at these handy bathroom hacks!

  • Small baskets from the dollar store come in handy for organizing toiletries, makeup brushes, and more, in tiny bathroom cupboards.
  • Don’t store things in the bathroom that could go somewhere else. Cleaning supplies, flashlights, and first aid kits can go in other rooms and closets. Since most household accidents occur in the kitchen, having a first aid kit in a kitchen drawer or cupboard makes good sense.
  • Try not to buy in bulk all the time. I know it’s hard to pass up a $9 savings on 32 rolls of toilet paper…but when you have 96 rolls already tucked in to your linen cupboard, you’re overdoing it.
  • Makeup expires, and it gets damp in the bathroom, too. Keeping big collections of mascara, foundation, and eye shadows is an expensive hobby if you are throwing it into the garbage. Check through your makeup and see what’s past its “best by” date and chuck out anything that smells bad while you are at it. Also, give those makeup brushes a look and throw out any that are shedding bristles or smell funny. (Extra tip: makeup brushes need to be cleaned once a month.)
  • Hooks or invisible shelves are an easy way to keep things organized in the bathroom. If you don’t have a drill for making holes needed by permanent hooks, try the ones that stick to the wall. Command Brand are my favourite removable hooks, and they can be removed with little or no damage to the wall underneath.
  • Putting up an extra towel rack or a few shelves makes good use of empty wall space and provides a good way to air your towels or showcase your favourite things.

Need help getting organized in your bathroom or elsewhere? Check out the other articles in this series! If you’d like some hands on help and you’re in Alberta, reach us through the contact form and let’s see if we can help you out!

These series is designed to help you get organized. If you are a lover of DIY and want a few handy hints, check back so that you see the entire series!

The Linen Closet

When we moved into a new house recently, I was a little surprised to see just how much space the chimney took up in the linen closet. What we have is a silly little cupboard with shelves that are about four inches wide! Useless for sheets, it turned out to be perfect for storing toilet paper, flashlights, and extra batteries.

Lots of my linens have come to me as gifts over the years. I hung on to a select few, including two small table cloths my mom embroidered. I use those tablecloths, and think of my mom fondly each time I iron one and put it out. Other things were easy to let go of and gave me much needed space. The soft old pair of sheets with the frayed edges is gone. The extra hair dye towels, a couple of frayed towels, and pillow cases that were just a little too tight are also gone. You see what I’m getting at right?

Commit to Getting Organized

If you have too much stuff, getting organized and downsizing means that some things simply must go. It’s trendy these days to say that things that don’t serve a purpose or bring you joy are supposed to be given away. The trouble is we still have a tendency to buy more than we need and so we have things that bring us joy, but they also make us miserable because we don’t have space for them.

Do you ever shop at a dollar store and leave with things that you didn’t really know you needed? Thrift stores and dollar style stores are goldmines of inexpensive linens like tea towels, dishcloths, and table runners for every occasion. The trouble starts when there is no more room in cupboards, drawers, and baskets. Difficulty gets compounded when the owner wants to move to a smaller space, with tiny cupboards and few closets.

If you aren’t sure you can live without some of your linens, store them away in a box for six months and try out a more minimal lifestyle. If you don’t absolutely need something in that time, you won’t take it out of the box. At the end of your six months, throw the entire box away, or donate it.

Tips for Tidy Linen Closets

  • A great way to keep your sheets and matching pillow cases together is to neatly fold and place matching linens into one of the pillowcases from the set. This makes for a nicely stored bundle that is easy to grab.
  • Instead of storing facecloths in the linen closet, roll a few up like the hotels do and place them in a cute basket in the bathroom. This keeps them handy and opens a little space in your linen closet.
  • Don’t store your linens in plastic covers, as they can age your nice sheets more quickly than you’d imagine. Instead, use natural fibres that breath to store blankets, duvets, and big towels. If you live in an area prone to bugs, don’t store anything right on the floor. Use cedar wood blocks to deter bugs, and keep the cedar “fresh” sanding the surfaces a few times a year to release the oils. You can also purchase moth traps for a few dollars at quilting and knitting stores to avoid having to use smelly moth balls.
  • You’ll keep your table linens flatter and iron them less if you hang them on pant hangers at one end of your bedroom closet instead of squishing them into a linen closet.

If you’d like some help with downsizing, organizing, or moving and you are in the Alberta region, please complete our contact form. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

One problem with “getting organized” is the motivation to get the work done can be tough to hold onto. If you have a lot of things it can be overwhelming to try and get things organized all in one go. If you don’t enjoy tidying up it can be hard to get started.  This series of articles will help you tame clutter by using short blocks of time instead of spending an entire day (or weeks or months) to get things under control.

There aren’t a lot of people I meet who enjoy cleaning house, doing laundry, or matching up odd socks for a family of five. I feel like the work is well worth it if only for the satisfaction of knowing you did a good job. After all, when things are tidy and well organized, you’ve got a space you can enjoy being in. You don’t have to see piles of stuff out of the corner of your eye. I love the way a client’s face lights up when they look into their closet and see how everything they have kept now fits beautifully – both on their body and in the closet!

Read on for some handy tips to get organized quickly and easily.

Fix It or Nix It

Do you have a pile of clothes stashed away that are waiting to be mended? If you haven’t fixed something within a week, there’s a 95 percent chance you won’t ever repair it. Take a good look at your mending pile, and bid farewell to anything that is going to take more than ten minutes to fix within the next seven days, or is beyond your skill level (I hate sewing zippers and I am awful at it). Charities tell us that they cannot repair clothing that is donated, so don’t send them things that need buttons or fixing.

Sweater Dilemma

Sweaters don’t hang up well, and they can take up a lot of room when folded in a dresser drawer. Have a look at your sweaters and set aside the ones you haven’t worn in a year. If you still have too many, then remove the ones you haven’t worn in six months. The rule of making room in your closet and dresser is that if you aren’t wearing something regularly, it’s time to let it go! If your sweaters are nearly new or only gently worn, there are plenty of shelters and charities who need your warm clothes to dress someone in need.

Sock Stash

It can be tempting to hold onto socks just a little longer than needed, and the odd socks can get out of hand quickly, especially if you’ve got a house full or people! Make sorting socks into a bit of a game for yourself, and make sure you have a prize ready for yourself even if it’s just a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar for your coffee.

Sorting socks can be painful because it can seem like the task goes on forever. Set a timer and commit to focussing on socks for thirty minutes at a time, and it’ll make things easier to stick with knowing that it’ll end. Turn on some music and keep your body moving to the beat, or listen to an audio book while you work to keep yourself entertained. Grab your stash of odd socks, and lay them out individually on your bed or kitchen table so that none of them are out of sight. When you finish the matching, give yourself a hearty pat on the back! If you still have odd socks laying on the table, accept that their partners are long gone, and chuck out what’s left. That’s right, I said throw them out! The idea of organizing is to get rid of what you don’t need and there will be things you need to say farewell to, so get yourself okay with eliminating odd socks that have no purpose! BEFORE you put the pairs away, check them over quickly and throw out any pairs where one or both socks are in sad shape (worn thin, holes, or dingy socks that will never be white again).

If you have nothing left except good socks, but you still have more than what will fit in the drawer, have a look at your laundry cycle. If you do laundry every two weeks, you probably don’t need more than 14 pairs of socks and if you wear sandals a lot you can get away with even less.

There you have it! The first article in our series! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to organize your home. If you’d like some help, reach out to us on our contact form, here.

We see a lot of family treasures in our work, and some of them cause trouble. They’ve been carefully saved to pass on to the next generation…but in many cases, grown children and grandchildren don’t really want what’s being offered. They are being deliberately rude or uncaring. Chances are they have chosen their own things to enjoy, and don’t have room or interest in anything else. Items we see refused include china, silverware chests, crystal, pianos, sewing machines, ornaments / figurines, and tools.

Not all is lost though, because there are certain things that our families treasure. It may help to think about how you pass along a gift addition to when you pass it along. Wrapping a pretty piece of jewellery or Grampa’s watch and passing it along to a grandchild at their 21st birthday can make for a memorable and treasured gift. When you share the story of the gift by writing it out on a card or special piece of paper, the history can be stored along with the gift, and it’ll be seen each time the item is used.

There are some items that our clients and families tell us they would treasure. This list is a work in progress, but seems like a good place to start.

Photos and photo albums

People of all ages love to see themselves in old family photos, and they are ideal for supplementing family histories. Since so many photos are now digitally stored, you may  want to think about gifting an electronic frame so that the pictures can be viewed any time. I love the recommendations from Ellen, the chief genealogist at Shop the Hound. She emphasizes how important it is to print some copies of your favourite pictures, so they never get lost during the upgrade to a new computer. You’ll also avoid the problem where someone has password protected their computer, and when they pass away no one can get into their files to retrieve photos or helpful information. Depending on how your pictures are stored, you may have to include a slide sorter and viewer, or a scanner, as part of your gift.

Creating an album that can be kept in a bookcase or displayed on a coffee table, and adding some comments or dates to the photos, will help future generations know who is there.

There are lots of options available for archival boxes and printing paper so that pictures will last, and books, blogs, or YouTube videos that do a great job of explaining how to look after them.

Scrapbooks

Scrapbooking is a great hobby for crafty people to preserve their memories. They aren’t just for photos, but can hold all kinds of treasures carefully tucked into the pages. Scrapbooks, school yearbooks filled with notes and signatures, and wedding albums are getting scarce as people downsize and remove “clutter” from their homes, and so digitizing a scrapbook can be a great way to preserve it, save some space, and make sure that multiple people have copies of the scrapbook.

If you’d like to pass on a scrapbook, check to make sure it’s made of acid-free archival paper.  Look for supplies at your local craft retailer, and watch for deals online. These projects can get expensive, so taking advantage of coupons, sales, and making the scrapbook a gift for a special occasion makes the most of your money.

Letters, Journals, and Diaries

Our journals and diaries tell the secrets and tales of days gone by and the people who lived them. When I read my grandmother’s old letters, I was thrilled to see the stories unfold on old, crisp, airmail paper that had writing in every bit of space available. Documents like land transfers, property maps, immigration records, and birth certificates all add richness to the history. If you have a writer in the family, perhaps they would enjoy turning these letters into a family history that can be shared with future generations.

Creating New Treasures

It’s possible to take a whole collection of things and make something new from them. Costume jewellery that is treasured and yet dated can be turned into a collage shaped like a family tree or an initial, and beautifully displayed in a shadow box. Woodworking tools can be displayed in a tool shed, and sewing supplies can be displayed in a craft room. Large collections – including wedding china, dining room sets, and book collections, are not that popular with heirs, so it’s wise to ask if things are wanted before passing them along. If you have someone who loves to work with wood, they may be keen to refinish old furniture, including chairs, tables, dressers, and pianos.

Large crystal bowlOne of the best gifts I received from my grandmother is an enormous crystal bowl.  She bought it while on a holiday in England, and carried it as part of her hand luggage coming home. It’s big enough to hold two dozen Yorkshire puddings, or a trifle that will feed about 20 people. How she managed to carry it through Heathrow Airport is still a mystery to me. She gave it to me when I started doing a lot of entertaining, and I always got a thrill at putting it on the table and having her see it there because she gave it to me while she was still here.

If you’d like some help sorting out your treasures, let us know! You can reach us through the contact form.

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