Monday recommended reading

Happy Monday! Ophelia is starting this week off with some recommended reading. Have you picked up your copy of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move yet?


Below is the introduction to this book by Vickie Dellaquila. Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash will guide you through every step of the process, including:

  • deciding if you should move;
  • sorting and organizing your belongings;
  • creating a plan for moving; and
  • getting settled in your new home


Order a copy today at For now, here is a sneak peak of the introduction:

Every year, thousands of seniors leave their homes.

Some no longer want the burdens of home ownership. For others, caring for a house has become too difficult. To ensure their safety, comfort, and happiness, they must leave their home of 20, 30, or even 50 years.

Relocation can be traumatic for all of us, and is certainly more so for older adults. The upheaval often starts by sorting through and disposing of furniture, clothing, and even precious possessions before moving into a smaller home.

This process is hard on older adults and on their adult children and others who assist in the downsizing process. Familial bonds can be stretched out of shape and close relationships may be tested. Children who live far away might suffer from guilt, and those who live close could be asked to deal with too much.

But, amidst the boxes, fading photos, and crumbling newspaper articles is an opportunity to grow closer to an older adult to make them comfortable and safe in a new home. And for the older adult who is moving, there is an opportunity to start a more secure and socially active way of life. The end of independent living should not be feared as the end of living.


Hiring a Professional

Working with a professional organizer or senior move manager can often make the process of downsizing and moving much more manageable. A trained professional can keep things on track and lend a supportive hand without the emotional entanglement that can occur when family members or friends help seniors relocate.

Professional organizers often belong to national industry organizations. Although certification for professional organizers is still being developed, you can obtain a high level of reliability by going through one of these organizations.

Senior move managers are similar to professional organizers, but they focus on working specifically with seniors. There are a growing number of senior move managers in the United States, and many belong to the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

If you are planning a move to a retirement community, check with the community’s relocation coordinator for a referral to a professional. Social workers or case managers at long-term care communities, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers can also make referrals.

Excerpt from Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move. Please visit to purchase a copy today.

Hoarding: Buried Alive


Vickie Dellaquila, CPO, CPO-CD (Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization) and owner of Organization Rules, Inc. in Pittsburgh will appear on an episode of TLC’s Hoarding Buried Alive on Wednesday, November 27, 10:00 PM EST on TLC!

Be sure to watch the episode filmed in Pittsburgh and featuring western Pennsylvania’s only CPO-CD helping her client with a hoarding situation!

Wardrobe Decluttered

The leaves are changing and there’s a crisp feel to the air.  Autumn has officially begun!  With the change of seasons, temperature, and weather, it is the perfect time to declutter clothes as you move from a summer wardrobe to winter wear.

Let’s start with your existing summer wardrobe.  Remove it all from your closet and dresser drawers.  Sort into three piles: Love, Like, and Hate.  The clothes you love should fit well, be free of holes and stains, and you enjoy wearing.  Hate is for those clothes that are stained, holey, and do not fit (too big or too small).  Like is for the in-between items.

Take your Love Summer clothes and put them back in your closet (if you’re lucky enough to have space for both your summer and winter wardrobe) or in whatever type of storage you use (I personally love colored coded plastic totes).  Hate Summer clothes will be donated.  Now go through the Like Summer clothes and reevaulate each piece.  Ask yourself questions:

  • When is the last time I wore this piece?
  • How do I feel when I wear it?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Do I already have similar items in my wardrobe?
  • Would I buy it again from the store?

Answering questions about each piece from your Like Summer clothes should give you a great idea of “wear” that item belongs – to be donated or taking up valuable space in your closet or storage containers.

If you’re really stuck on trying to decide whether or not to keep a specific item or two – wear them for the day!  How do you feel in the clothes?

Repeat these steps with your winter wardrobe and tada, you have a decluttered wardrobe!  What a great feeling to only have clothes that you love instead of ones that don’t make you feel great!  I’d much rather have 10 tops that make me look and feel fabulous than 100 that are “okay” or frumpy!

Happy Labor Day!

Does your closet look like this?

Does your closet look like this?

On Labor Day, I think that summer says goodbye and autumn sneaks into our lives…even if the calendar says we must wait a few more weeks to the official change of season.  This is the time that I start to consider my wardrobe as I know cooler temperatures are around the corner.

Before you switch out your summer clothes for winter wear, you first should think about clothing and your current lifestyle and assess your needs:

  • What do you need to wear for work?  Has anything changed?  For instance, my son-in-law now works for the Army and wears a uniform.  He doesn’t really need all the business casual clothes from his old job anymore.
  • Do any of your hobbies require specific clothing?  Sports?  Outdoor activities?  Hitting the gym?  Ballroom dancing?
  • Do you spend a lot of time going to fancy restaurants/weddings/performances?  Or are you more on the casual side of the social scene?  What types of clothes do you need for your social life?
  • What do you love to wear hanging around your home?
  • Shoes – what types do you need for the different activities in your life?  What’s comfortable?
  • How much of your clothes do you actually wear?

Considering these questions should give you an idea of what types of clothes you do need to have in your wardrobe.  Take stock of what you do have – what are you missing?  What is no longer necessary for your current lifestyle?

My S.M.A.R.T. Goal for 2013

How has 2013 been so far for you?  Last week I talked about making S.M.A.R.T. goals instead of resolutions and promised to share one of my goals for 2013.

Last year I set out to create a new positive habit of going through and purging my file cabinet on a regular basis.  It was a fantastic idea for me.  My office feels much more organized and I managed to create at least 2 new feet of space within my cabinets!

This year’s goal will go hand-in-hand with last year’s.  I want to move away from as much paper and have more digital files instead.  One, I think that using less paper is better for the environment.  Two, less space will be used.  Three, my computer will hold all of the information that I need and I can access it anywhere, as opposed to only being in my office.  Four, it will make my taxes much easier to have all my business receipts scanned into the computer.

Let’s make sure this is a SMART goal:

Specific – I will scan in all my business receipts to my desktop computer in a specified folder based on date and type.

Measurable – At the end of each week all receipts will be scanned and shredded.

Attainable – Because I will be approaching my goal on a weekly basis, it will not become overwhelming.

Relevant – This is helping with my paper management with my business, something I want to improve.

Time-Bound – Each week I will scan all the receipts.  I will reassess if this system is working and be willing to be flexible and try a new method.

Do you have any 2013 SMART goals?


Declutter the Basement in 15 Minutes a Day

We’re slowly conquering areas of our home through our 15 Minutes a Day series.  Today’s blog challenge is the basement!

The basement can be a difficult place to keep organized as many people use it for extra storage or have multiple purposes throughout the room (i.e. laundry, exercise equipment, a family area, etc).  I know our basement is not the most organizing friendly space in the house!

Day 1 – Determine the purpose of the basement

Each space in your house should have a dedicated purpose, such as using the kitchen for eating and cooking but not a place to store clothes!  Perhaps your basement will be used primarily for storage.  Perhaps you have multiple purposes (laundry, exercise areas, storage, extra tv room, etc).  Decide what you’ll be using your basement for and, if necessary, choose where each section will be.

Day 2 – Laundry area (smallest section)

I’m going to assume that like me, most of you have your washer and dryer in the basement.  This is a nice small section to get started.  Remove all items from the shelves/cabinets/current organizing system.  Wipe down.  Vacuum behind the washer and dryer (lint is a fire hazard!).  Reorganize and replace ONLY laundry items in this area.  Anything else needs to find a new home.  Be sure to check out my earlier laundry blog for more tips on this area.

Day 3-5 Sections of the basement (smallest to largest)

You are going to continue working through the basement each day starting with the smallest sections just like you did with the laundry and working towards the largest.  Remove all items from the day’s area.  Wipe down/vacuum/mop.  Determine if the items meet the purpose of the section – if not they either need to be moved to a new “home” in the basement or might be good candidates for donations.

Day 6 – Donation Day

Remember that wonderful pile of stuff you have accumulated that doesn’t have a home?  It’s time to release it from your life!  If you can’t find a place for it/haven’t used it in more than a year/it’s broken/it doesn’t bring you joy…it’s time to let it go!  Feel great about yourself for donating to your favorite charity, and don’t forget – it’s a great tax deduction!  Now you can enjoy your clutter free basement!