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No matter where you are at today, or what day it is when you read this post, we hope you’ll enjoy this as you look for you own Declutter Motivation. It can be hard to stay motivated for lots of reasons. If you are the only one working on the project, you can get tired or discouraged. Maybe you like it when someone cheers you on, and right now it’s just you. Fear not! Here are some excellent tips and information to help you stay motivated while you declutter. 

Declutter and Spruce up your Space

Okay, maybe things aren’t drastic but you feel like it’s messy, or maybe you’re falling over things. If you are tripping your own things, then it’s possible that a good decluttering could save you from injury. If you’ve got rubbish or simply too much stuff in your home, you create tripping hazards, and those are dangerous.

There aren’t too many people who want a cluttered space. But while many have the urge to declutter, it can be a hard thing to accomplish. Decluttering can be time consuming, overwhelming, and emotionally draining.

If you’ve tried to declutter or organize your home before, or you don’t know where to start, stop for a moment. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you can do it. It might not be easy, and it might not all be done in the next 15 days, but it is possible. The hardest part might be taking the first step. Your feet might feel heavy, and you might find yourself updating Facebook. Remember, nothing is getting done until you do it, so talk nicely to yourself, stick to the tasks we are outlining for the challenge on our Facebook page, and just start! As you get a little done, pat yourself on the back, and use encouraging words to keep yourself going.

Why is it hard?

If decluttering was easy, everyone would do it. The truth is that it can be really hard. You might find yourself feeling like lots of our clients start out. There are sometimes emotional hurdles to overcome for they let go of things. For others, it’s a lack of skill (how do I declutter, where’s the best place to start, or not making the time needed to get the work done).

Whatever excuse you are giving yourself for not getting the decluttering done, you need to understand why you are having so much trouble. Take a few moments, and a deep breath. Ask yourself why you are decluttering (perhaps you just feel like you should, or maybe a family member raised the issue, or maybe you want to moved to a new place where you can hang out with seniors in Edmonton or the surrounding area). Think about what’s standing in your way. Take a deep breath again, and visualize how you’d like your place to look. Finally, you need to believe that you can overcome the paralysis. Believe in yourself, visualize the future, and then go do it.

There are many reasons we hang on to excuses. Here are a few of my favourites that interfere with my own decluttering. You might have different reasons, but maybe some of these will sound familiar.

kitchen cupboards with empty space on top

Guilt

I’m much better at this now, but I used to suffer with a lot of guilt. If something was given to me by a family member and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, or I had spent a lot of money on something, I felt guilty about getting rid of it. Even though I needed room in my closet, I’d tuck those things in the back somewhere or in a box in the basement, but I didn’t end up feeling any better. Instead, now I get rid of things and get rid of the guilt!

Being Beautiful…or Pinterest Pressure

We are so bombarded with images of colour coordinated, perfectly arranged shelving, and bookcases that have an uneven number of figurines and no more than six books. The pictures on Pinterest are beautiful, but they can also mean that we go off collecting items and ideas to create this perfect space, only to never get it quite the way they do on the internet. Remember that organizing is not the same as creating something to someone else’s standard of, “Oh, that’s perfect.” It’s about creating a space that feels good to you and that is safe. You can always change things later – add a splash of colour or a different picture, but you need to start somewhere. Let go of the idea of only starting on a project if it can be perfect.

Items Pretending to be Yours

Do you have a tote box of scrapbooking supplies, or a collection of fabric that have been sitting in your garage for years? They were probably a great idea when you bought them, and maybe you wanted to be someone with a beautiful scrapbook collection, of you were going to make each of the grandkids a quilt, but it just never happened. Be honest with yourself and decide what you really want to do with your time. Keeping things around that remind you of what you aren’t doing will not help you get happy about them. Instead, every time you see those items they have the potential to make you feel bad about yourself, but they are just pretending to be yours. If you are hanging on to this kind of stuff, it’s important to let it go.

Emotionally Relevant

This can be a big issue for any of us. It is hard to get rid of things that we have an attachment to, and I had a really hard time getting rid of some of my grandmother’s things, as well as some of my kids books and toys. But I did it without regret, even though some of those things made me a little sad for a few moments.

The key to letting go is to remind yourself that you are getting rid of a thing, not the person or the memories attached to it. Allowing yourself to detach from things doesn’t mean you have to give every single item away. There may be a few favourite treasures if you have some room for them; you just need to make sure you have the space for them. Discipline yourself so that you have no more than one tote for those items. Remember you can take pictures of things and then write your feelings alongside a caption for the picture, or journal about it.

Saving it for Another Day

It’s a rule of decluttering that if you haven’t used something in the past year, you probably don’t need it. Don’t save it for another day! One beautiful side effect of decluttering people hardly ever mention is that things we give away are things we rarely think of ever again. On the off chance that you do need a rare gadget again, you can probably modify something or even borrow it from someone who uses it on a more regular basis. This goes for things like clothes we think we might fit again, or the bicycle that’s rusting out on the balcony and hasn’t been ridden in two years.

Heirlooms

Most younger people and adult children tell us there is very little that they want from someone’s estate. By estate, this includes their parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles. There are a few things – sometimes a special teacup, or a chisel set, but these are rare. In our society where we can acquire so many things inexpensively, most people tell us they do not want mom’s china set or the spoon collection, and they also don’t have space for it in their small, efficient apartments. Speak with your heirs and have an honest conversation about what, if anything, they would like to have from you. Get yourself ready to share those things with them now while you are decluttering, rather than waiting. And, for the things they don’t want, prepare to let them go.

No Time or Motivation

Having a lack of time or motivation is one of the big barriers to decluttering. We are all busy, and some of us are excruciatingly tired. But, we have to start before we can finish, and one way around this is to just jump in and get started. The other is to work in small chunks of time. Decluttering is as much about emotional decisions as it is a time commitment. It doesn’t matter is you want to spend an hour a week decluttering, or you choose to do it 20-minutes per day. Any time that you devote to the process helps get things done. Set a goal for what you can fit into your life, and commit to it.

If you have trouble sticking with it (and most of us do or we would have decluttered already), you may need to set up some small rewards to help you keep going. And, of course, you can always hire a professional organizer, move coordinators, and people who are accustomed to working with the chronically disorganized as well as special groups like our aging and aged seniors, the frail, and anyone who has been moved out of their home to long term care or hospice and has a home that needs packing up and emptying.

Make the choice to get things done, and join us in our household decluttering challenge starting October 9 to create some extra space, eliminate the overwhelm of having too much stuff, and celebrate a tidy home.

If you’d like to take part in the 15-day declutter challenge, stop by our Facebook page for daily exercises, motivation, and to get in on the fun!

What better time than Fall to declutter, clear out, and clean up! Starting next Tuesday, October 9, 2018 we are sponsoring a 15-day declutter challenge where you can get some helpful tips, information, and win prizes as you declutter your home.

We know it can be tough to declutter and to stay motivated, especially if you have a lot to do. If you’re someone with a lot of clutter, you’re probably familiar with how one day you can be raring to go and make your living room look welcoming, but a few days later you can’t find your keys (or wallet, or phone, or the book you were reading, or whatever!). We set up this challenge to help you with motivation, information, and to have some fun.

At Elder Move Inc., we work almost exclusively with baby boomers and seniors in the Edmonton area, but we also know that we have people reading our blog and visiting the Facebook page from afar, and we want to help everyone. So, this 15-day decluttering challenge is for all to jump in, whether you want to get things tidied up, you are getting ready for shifting space, or you just want to create a more comfortable home and get rid of some clutter.

To Declutter is Different than Downsizing

First, let’s differentiate between downsizing and decluttering. Downsizing can be a HUGE undertaking, including methods for making better use of a space, creating storage, and decluttering. If you are downsizing for the first time, it can be overwhelming, and we’d like to make this challenge easy and fun, so we are going to focus on decluttering only.

Each declutter challenge during the 15 days will take just 15-30 minutes. That’s it! To be successful, make sure you set aside 30 minutes so you aren’t being interrupted by the phone or a visitor. Put the time in your schedule or a planner so you’re not tempted to fill it with something else. The challenges will be posted on our Facebook page each morning by 7:00 a.m. Mountain Time, so you can start anytime you like.

Each weekday will include one decluttering task, and it’s designed to be completed in 15-30 minutes. Complete all the tasks, and your home is going to be a more pleasant, safe, and wonderful place to be in. If we set up a task that you don’t need to do, you can either complete a task of your own choosing, or you can have that day to yourself. It’s up to you! You’ll also get the weekends off to catch up on any challenges that needed more than 30-minutes, or to spend some time curled up with a good book. Click here for some recommendations! In between, we’ll post some motivational and interesting tidbits on our Facebook page for you.

This coming weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada, so we will launch declutter challenge next Tuesday, October 9. In the meantime, check your supplies. Make sure you have some supplies ready to help with the challenge. Handy items include:

  • Black or green bags for garbage
  • Clear or blue bags for recycling
  • Bins or boxes for items that you want to donate
  • Packing tape for the boxes
  • Felt pen for labelling

This challenge is open for anyone who wants to have some fun while decluttering, and it’s open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 118. Encourage your parents, relatives, and neighbours to get involved.

About Prizes

Anyone who takes part in at least seven of the challenges AND posts their before and after pictures on our Facebook page (or you can email them to us if you’re shy) will be entered into a draw for a special little treat that won’t clutter up your house.

Now, where are those bags and boxes?!

Until Tuesday!

Nastional Association of Senior Move Managers Circle of Service Logo

When plans change and we find ourselves with nothing to do, we often have a little found time, and that’s a treat! If you were going out but cooler weather has cancelled your plans, you can use that time that’s been freed up to do a mini “fall organizing session” that will help keep things tidy and give you a head start!

Fall trees and scenery

Got 15 minutes? Grab the Vacuum!

For this kind of cleaning, you just grab the vacuum, and give the nozzle a quick wipe (you don’t want to contaminate your drawers with something gucked on there). Then, pull out the drawers in the kitchen, vacuum out the crumbs and dust that accumulate in the corners. You can also open cupboard doors, the refrigerator, and the drawer in your stove, to give the ledges a quick update and a refresh!

20 minutes

Have a peek in the bathroom cabinet, under the sinks, and anywhere that you have squirreled away medications (over the counter or prescription). Gather anything that is expired and put them (still in their containers) into a plastic bag. Medications can usually be disposed of through your local pharmacy, or at your community health centre.

25 minutes

This is the perfect amount of time to do some tidying in your car, and made really easy if you have a rechargeable vacuum or dust-buster. First, remove all the rubbish in your car and tie it up in a garbage bag. Then, vacuum any place you can fit the nozzle. Remember to get the space between the seats, and under the floor mats. In this time (depending on the state of your car), you could also use a couple of glass wipes to clean the inside of your windows, the handles, and edges around the doors. All that’s left is to drive through a car wash or visit your local wand wash, and your car will be looking good as new!

30 minutes

Most fridges and stoves have good casters on them these days. Roll out the fridge, vacuum the bits, and then wash off the sides, top, and floor underneath before you roll the fridge back into its place. For extra points, grab a spay dishcloth and wipe the rubber trim around the doors (be sure to coax it out of its wrinkled state, so you can get ALL the crumbs in there).

I was recently working on a kitchen where the building is octagonal on the outside, and so the inside apartments have all kinds of off angles to them. The fridge had to cross a metal transition piece to maneuver it outside of its hole. That was a two- person job that required emptying of the fridge and freezer, plus the muscle of two people and it was still a tough job. Make sure you know your appliances before you try to move them.

60 minutes

Picking up leaves can be a lot of work and plenty of people try to skip this clean up, but your yard looks so much better (and is much easier to prep in the spring) if you can devote a little time outside. If you’re in a condo you probably don’t have to worry about this, but you may be helping someone with this job, and so I urge you to read on!

If you’re not someone who enjoys raking or you physically can’t do it, you can always put the catcher on your lawn mower and try to rake them up that way, or split this up into several quick trips outside rather than trying to get it all done in one day.

While you are out in the yard, have a look at trees for loose or dead limbs that need removing. This is the perfect time of year to check your eavestroughs to make sure they are clear of debris, and if they aren’t you’ll want to call someone with a good ladder and insurance to do this for you (you can do this yourself, but this is one of those jobs I bring in a professional for because of the height and angles of my roof).

That’s it for now! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to some warm fall days when the threat of frost isn’t right over me, but at least this way we get to pull out a favourite sweater or too and enjoy the crisp air!

If you’re in the Edmonton, Alberta area and you’d like some help organizing, downsizing, and more, let us know by completing the form on our contact page!

Just because you’ve got a teeny balcony or patio space doesn’t mean you have to miss out on gardening this summer. Teeny gardens are the way to go! Bring some food and colour to your balcony, window, or little gardening space.

Flower box with lots of yellow and green

My parents always planted and managed a big garden, including vegetables, roses, carnations, and several of my favourites…Lily of the Valley, lavender, and mint. When Dad got older, he set up a self-watering system of planters using recycled cloth bags and eavestrough so that he could continue to garden but not spend so much time on his knees. It was very effective, though still required lots of room. The next step was to reduce the garden in size and have everything contained in a teeny space.

I too am adjusting to teeny gardening this year, and there are oodles of ants, ticks, and other creepy crawlies right outside our door. We’ve placed some lavender pots out there, and a boundary of mint since both of them are a deterrent  to what’s walking around the yard. Unlike marigolds, however, I can harvest the lavender for sachets and use the mint in several different recipes!

peppermint plant

On wandering around the garden centre last weekend, there were some beautiful pots and planters and so I was looking to see what’s available this year for small spaces. I love the little mixed window boxes that have four or six herbs in them. They range in size from about 16 inches to 24 inches wide and they’ll produce a nice crop of greens through the summer, for about $20 or less.

The flower boxes and baskets are looking fabulous, and I see that they are going on sale this weekend so now is a great time to get a show of colour, for a bargain!

Flower box with lots of yellow and green

I noticed a couple of neighbours have started some vertical gardening with tall structures that you can insert plants directly. You can grow herbs, greens, and strawberries effectively this way. And, if you want to grow in the winter, you can use this idea with some special lighting to grow greens all year long.

Different varieties of lettuce and greens in one planter

You can set up a vertical garden by leaning an old pallet against an outside wall and hanging plants off it, or getting hooks from the garden centre to hang from your railing. Don’t forget to check out your local Dollar Store either – something they have all kinds of hooks, pots, and stuff that can be repurposed.

Air plants are trendy right now. These succulent plants can be popped into a vessel or can rest on top of an old brick and need next to no attention. Spritz them with water as directed, and they will last for ages.

If you’d like to get some help organizing a new home or somewhere you already live, with or without a teeny garden, we help with that! Fill out the contact form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

There’s a royal wedding this weekend! Are you going to watch it? Will you wake up in the wee hours to catch it live on television, or go watch it at a local hot spot while enjoying ceremonial tea and biscuits? What about those of you who’ve taken a holiday to be part of that kind of energy?

coffee and blueberry scones with blueberry sauce drizzle

There aren’t as many royal watchers in Canada as there used to be, but it seems that having the wedding on a Saturday morning could just catch the attention of a lot more people than had it been held during the week. This is a sign of how Prince Harry and Meghan will buck the trends, since royal weddings are usually held on a Friday.

Speaking of Ms. Markle have you noticed how nice her skin is? Apparently she is very diligent about following a skin care routine, and when she was filming the show Suits, her stylist said that she took good care of her skin, and visited the salon regularly to help keep her skin in beautiful condition.

As I age, I’m looking for ways to keep my skin healthy, and to stop the onslaught of wrinkles. I know, I earned them…but that doesn’t mean I want all of them!

I did some digging around and discovered that Queen Elizabeth is a big fan of Elizabeth Arden (they’ve held a Royal Warrant for 55 years), and she uses their moisturizer as well as their Bold Red lipstick. I don’t typically wear red lipstick, I’m more of a hide in the background lip gloss person, though I got a sample of Maybelline’s On Fire Red recently and I like it. It’s a red I can wear, and I just might put it on Saturday morning while I enjoy the show.

Lipsticks that range in colour from pink to nearly black

When Kate Middleton got married, there was lots of chatter about how she did her own makeup for her wedding. She apparently loves natural skincare products, and uses a face cloth to remove her makeup. The cloth is nothing fancy – just a cotton, terry looped cloth you can pick up for $2. That’s the type of cloth I use, too, so I must be on to something, right?

stack of face cloths of various colours

It’s not necessary to fill your entire bathroom with buckets of skincare products, at least not once you find the ones you like. And, if you’re tripping over all kinds of extra pots and jars in the loo, it’s possible some of them are out of date. If there is no expiry date listed on the container, open the lid and give it a smell. If it smells different than it did when you bought it, it’s time to throw it out.

I once helped a friend downsize and organize her makeup. She had 32 bottles of red nail polish (all different shades and finishes, but they were all red) and 20 red lipsticks. There were plenty of other colours too! When we finished the project she stood back and sighed with relief that she was able to sit down at her dressing table and knew exactly where everything was, and that the things she used regularly were within reach. We celebrated this win with big cups of tea, and lunch.

How About You?

What’s the state of your makeup products or that bathroom cabinet? If you need some help getting things organized, you know we do that, right? Contact us and let’s get your home ready to host a royal party!

Today we’re bringing you tips to make the kitchen sparkle as part of our spring cleaning series. Some of these jobs can take a little time so be sure to spread them out if you need to.

Where we talk about soaking, wiping, or washing surfaces, here’s your recipe:  a mixture of hot water, a good squirt of dish soap, and a half to one cup of white vinegar. Always use rubber gloves when you are washing with vinegar.

Drawers

  • Check the junk drawer and throw away anything you haven’t used in the last three months. Flyers, menus, elastic bands, twist ties, bread tags can all go as part of your spring cleaning.
  • Vacuum crumbs out of the kitchen drawers, stove drawer, and cupboard fronts. Here is a handy gadget that’ll help make vacuuming those spaces simple and really quick! It’s about $20 CDN through Amazon, and might be available for less in other places, but it sure makes cleaning your drawers breeze! (This photo is not an affiliate link, but is just a link so you can check out the product easily.)vacuum brush for crumbs and dust
  • Clear expired food in the fridge. Tip crumbs out of the drawers, and wipe them out. Check the bottles of condiments and throw out anything that is expired. Wipe the shelves, and inside of the door. To clean the rubber seal that goes around the edge of the door, pull on it gently to stretch it almost flat and reveal the crumbs and dust inside; wipe the bits out.

Appliances

  • Pull out the stove and fridge to clean underneath them (hopefully they are on rollers!), and wipe the front and sides of both appliances.
  • If you have a self-cleaning oven, follow the directions for turning it on and open the windows.
  • If your oven requires a manual cleaning, make sure you have a couple of cans of oven cleaner, a proper fitting face mask, and rubber gloves ready. After you are finished, make sure you have something fun lined up, because this one is the worst job in any kitchen.
  • Remove the exhaust fan cover and soak it in soapy water and vinegar in the sink for up to a half hour. After soaking, give it a good rinse, shake it outside to remove the excess water, and set it aside until dry.
  • Clean the fan hood and be sure to remove any grease (stubborn grease should come off if you pour a quarter cup of baking soda onto a plate, then dip your damp sponge into it, then scrub with the sponge).

Cupboards and Counters

  • For that wretched (and wasted) space above the kitchen cabinets, scrub them down (this is where getting help is handy) with soapy vinegar water, and wipe them well. Once they have dried completely, cover the area with wax paper. Next time you clean, all you have to do is change the paper!

 

kitchen cupboards with empty space on top

  • Clear clutter off the counters. Items that you use every day (like the kettle, coffee pot, or paper towel) can stay on the counters. Things that you use less frequently need to be stored in your cupboards. If you have a big collection of mugs, drinking glasses, or mixing bowls and they are out on the counter, consider donating them to a charity.
  • Descale your kettle (and tea pot) with 1 cup of vinegar and two cups of water and letting it soak for about 20 minutes. Scrub the inside gently with a plastic scrubber to remove any residue. Rinse well.

Celebrate your clean kitchen with a coffee and a nice plate of goodies!

coffee and blueberry scones with blueberry sauce drizzle

Contact Us

If you’d like some help getting things sorted out at home, or you’re ready to downsize, move, or get settled somewhere new, let us know! Contact us here.

This is the third article in our Spring Cleaning Series and we hear you! Who has time for spring cleaning when there is so much else to do? And, if you have  uncooperative joints, pain, or are prone to dizziness, there are things you don’t want to tackle. Here are some great tips to freshening up your bedroom, fast.

If some of these things are tough for you to do, invite a friend, family member, or consider hiring a reputable cleaning company. They have people who love to do Spring Cleaning!

Tackle the Bedroom

Your bedroom will feel like an oasis if it is clean, clear of clutter, and you create a comfortable space. If you want to change up the colour or mood, consider changing your bedspread, or adding some new cushions, or a pretty blanket at the end of your bed.

Spring cleaning includes doing the jobs you don’t do regularly, like these ones:

  • Use an extendable handle and a reusable duster to clean the tops of door frames, windows, light fixtures, and baseboards.
  • Check floor mats for wear and tear and decide if they need replacing. Mats need to have a non-slip backing but if you use a walker or wheelchair, or have a habit of tripping, you could get rid of them entirely.
  • That extendable duster can be perfect for getting dust bunnies out of the corners, under the bed, and behind the dresser. Be sure to clean dust off of electrical cords, too.
  • Use the upholstery or a dusting brush to vacuum the inside of your window screens and tracks.
  • Take a few minutes to declutter the tops of dressers, nightstands, desks, and entertainment areas. Limit yourself to ten minutes per area, and be snappy about it so your Spring Cleaning doesn’t turn into a full organizing project.
  • See this post for tips on getting your windows clean.

Enjoy your refreshed bedroom, and have a good sleep!

bedroom with grey bedspread and yellow flowers

Ready?

At Elder Move Inc. we help seniors to downsize, organize, move, and more. If you’re ready for some help, get in touch here.

This is the second article in our Spring Cleaning Series, with a focus on where pets hang out, eat, and play. Instead of trying to get all our spring cleaning done at once, go ahead and break it up over several days.

Cat Litter

The toughest thing to clean can be a cat litter tray. The hard plastic bottom takes quite a beating.

Clean the trays as part of your seasonal clean up routine, unless you see them on sale someplace and opt to replace them. That’s my favourite kind of cleaning for this particular item – get a new one!

To keep the outside area tidy, use a “boot tray” or a cute rubber mat outside of the litter box entrance. You can also use a big tray that sticks out all the way around the tray if you don’t use a covered box. The tray will catch lots of the litter that the cat flings about when covering his poop, and it’ll also catch some of the litter that gets caught between their toes.

Your cat(s) will be very happy to have a clean area for doing their business, and so will you!

tabby cat peeking out of box

Cat and Dog Beds

Can there be anymore hair anywhere, than in your pet’s favourite place to sleep?

Lightly dampen some paper towel to help “lift” the bulk of the hair, then vacuum the area with an upholstery brush to help remove the remainder. Depending on the fabric and the type of hair you’re dealing with, you can also use a tape roller or the sticky side of packing or masking tape, to pick up what’s left.

Remove zippered covers and prepare to wash the outside of the beds. If you can wash the insides, that’s a bonus too. If not, throw the bed away if there are signs of wear or pests, and always replace them if they stink. Sometimes it’s hard to pick up unpleasant odours in your own house, so ask a visitor if they can smell animals when they come in the door. If they can, you know you’ve got some deeper cleaning, or replacing, to do.

Pet Dishes

Be sure to wash water and food dishes daily. Hot soapy water is usually all you need, and use some vinegar to rinse them, then rinse again in clear water. While you are spring cleaning, be sure to wipe the walls behind the dishes (Mr. Clean erasers or Microfiber cloths are great for this), the dish holder, and wipe up the floor. Clean the mats (or replace them with something colourful and fun if they are beyond saving), and the area where you store animal food and treats.

Using Cedar? Try Wool!

If your pet beds have cedar in them (sometimes dog beds are filled with cedar chips), then washing the bed will destroy the power of the cedar to ward off bugs, so these do have to be replaced regularly. If you are tempted to restuff the bed yourself, you’ll need to be very careful with what you select, since certain types of cedar can be toxic to pets.

As a great alternative, check with your local wool shop or a sheep shearer (there are a few in Alberta) and pick up some washed, 100% wool roving to stuff the bed. Wool has properties that make it naturally antibacterial, resist moisture and mildew, and they are washable [though you have to clean them carefully to avoid shrinkage]. Wool can last for years if you keep it free of moths, and you’ll find that cats and dogs both love laying on a wool stuffed bed.

As always, if your pets tend to chew their beds and remove the stuffing, then a padded bed is not recommended, whether you are using cedar, wool, or polyester.

3 puppies in a bed

Pat Yourself on the Back!

Now that you’ve got the pet stuff cleaned up for spring, it’s time to take a break and spend some time tossing a ball for Rover, or playing chase the light with Felix. Enjoy!

Ready to get organized?

At Elder Move Inc. we help seniors to downsize, organize, move, and more. If you’re ready for some help, contact us here.

This is the first article in our Spring Cleaning Series and we hear you! Who has time for spring cleaning when there is so much else to do? And, if you have a wonky shoulder, or bad knees, or other uncooperative body parts, there are things you might not be able to tackle.

Below are some handy hacks to make your windows sparkle. Clean windows and their coverings can make you whole home look bright and cheery. You don’t have to tackle them all at once; remember that you need to go at a pace that works for you. Most of these jobs are best done with a friend around for an extra pair of hands and some cheering if you get tired. Friends are also helpful if you get yourself stuck somewhere, and you can always return the favour by helping them to spring clean at their place.

If you don’t want to tackle this job, scroll down to the second last paragraph to see an easy way out of it!

Curtains

If you have washable curtains or drapes, take them all down and get the washer going (remove any drapery hooks first). Get help with this if climbing up and down on a stepstool is not your thing. Wash your window coverings using the gentle cycle and if they aren’t too wrinkly when they come out, you won’t have to iron them before they go back up.

If your curtains can’t go in the wash, you might get away with a good vacuuming (especially if they were dry cleaned last fall). Use an upholstery brush, and for delicate fabrics, put a nylon sock over the end of the brush to protect the material. If they won’t stand up to the vacuum, give them a good dusting with one of those extendable handles and a replaceable fluffy duster.

Blinds

The best way I have found to clean horizontal blinds is to remove them from the window, and hose them off out side or wash them in a tub. That is a pretty physical undertaking, so you may want to wash them while hanging up. Vinyl, aluminum, or plastic blinds are usually washable. Prepare a bucket of warm water, with some mild dishwashing liquid, some vinegar. Wear a pair of rubber gloves, grab durable sponge or dishcloth, and get scrubbing. Careful not to move the grime from the blinds to your window frame or the walls, and be prepared to wash the window afterwards.

When you think you are done, close the blinds and then turn the louvers in both directions to check to make sure you got everything off them. Sometimes there is an edge that hides behind the louvers on either side.

Hanging vertical blinds are trickier. You can wipe the hard plastic ones with a vinegar and soap solution (careful not to let it drip on your floors), then dry them with a soft cloth. Fabric verticals can be vacuumed like the curtains above. Finish the job off by wiping with a duster to clean cobwebs and debris out of the hardware.

Roller blinds can be a pain to wash. You’ll want to clean them in sections, and leave them extended to dry…but not so extended that you can’t get the blind to roll back up.

bedroom with washable curtains

Windows

The best time to get your windows sparkly is while the drapes and blinds are down. While you can get them clean with vinegar water and a little soap, there are also products (like Windex) that make it even easier. Be careful not to breath in the fumes from a cleaner.

If your windows are tall, it is worth investing in a squeegee tool to make the cleanup even easier. I saw one at Dollarama this week for $4 with a short handle, or you can get an extendable one at places like Canadian Tire or Walmart for about $12.

Take a Breath!

Once your windows are clean, your home will feel bright and beautiful. That might encourage you to get to the tasks in our next few blog posts, and it might not. That’s okay. By the way, if you’re not up to cleaning the windows yourself, check with your neighbours and see if two or three of you can agree on a time to bring a cleaning crew in to do everyone’s windows. You might be able to get a discount or a referral fee if you do it as a group.

Ready to get organized?

At Elder Move Inc. we help seniors to downsize, organize, move, and more. If you’re ready for some help at getting organized for Spring, contact us here.

It’s that time of year when we speak of organizing taxes, TFSAs, RRSPs, and money. Do you have all your paperwork handy, or know where to go online to find all your information?

The deadline for filing personal taxes in Canada is April 30, 2018 unless you or your spouse are self-employed, and then you have until June 15.

Caution – These Are Still YOUR Taxes

Remember that if you are hiring someone to file your taxes for you (or using a volunteer at a senior’s centre, for example), you still need to keep copies of your forms, slips, receipts, and statements in case you are audited. Also make sure that you have a way to contact the person or company you hire in the event there are questions from the tax department. Sometimes your local H & R Block is just a temporary location during tax season, so take note of their regional year round office location.

The Canadian government has set up a handy website set up that will walk you through what’s needed, and the videos there are short and easy to follow. Speaking of videos, even if you want someone else to complete your tax return you should watch the videos. They can help you to understand the process, and might even help you identify some questions to ask your tax filing professional. (If you are heard of hearing, there is a transcript with each video, too!)

Picture of a cute dog in a tshirt with question mark on it

This cute dog can’t help you with tax questions, but having a dog to snuggle can ease the stress of getting organized and doing your taxes. If you need help doing your taxes, ask your local senior’s association if there is a tax preparation clinic coming up.

Come back to this space soon, and check out our Spring Cleaning series. In the meantime, if you’d like help with organizing, sorting, packing, relocating, or settling into a new space we are here to help. Reach out to us via our contact page, here.

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