Virtual Organizing with Skype & Google Hangouts

I’ve had great success helping people get problem areas under control and it puts what is sometimes a luxury service into a more affordable price range for people.

How Does it Work?

  • You click the yellow “BUY NOW” button on any page of my website to pay for a live-real time two-hour organizing session with me using PayPal or a credit card pictured under the yellow button.  I contact you to schedule a specific time sending you a letter of agreement to prepare for your session.
  • At the agreed time we connect using an Internet video platform such as Google Hangouts or Skype with high-speed Internet.
  • You point the camera of your device (desk/laptop computer, Ipad or Phone) at the area you want to organize.  You will see me in your monitor and I will see you and the work space in my monitor.
  • I talk you through each item asking you question that help you make the necessary decisions about what to do with each item until the area is custom-organized to your specific needs, desires and abilities.
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Finely Sorted Organizing Press-Bangor Metro Article

Hectic Holidays

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Prep Home for Sale

When tasked to prep a home for sale I find things that I thin would be nice to stage it when it is all done so it can be put on the market using things already available instead of buying new. Here are some views of this:

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Downsizing for Seniors 101

Moving is hard enough for most anyone in a first world economy. In order to save money we’ve had to buy new rather than repair.

It’s no wonder that just in the middle of usually the most responsible time of a life at “middle age”: job, kids, pets, management of a material world, one is loaded with one more task:  to downsize a parent’s home who has been living in survival mode since the trauma of the Depression.  Downsizing, though squished together, is still two things at once: moving and re-sizing smaller (weeding/letting go).  The family’s mementos are of value though space for them never seems to be planned into a home.  You might carry the same dutiful desire not to waste resources and have a difficult time taking what was paid good money for to donate – making the task even more challenging beyond the time and effort it will consume.  To pay to put it in storage is usually to essentially rebuy everything stored, so why bother? So you call in a professional.

Someone who has the odd love of going through people’s things, moulding order out of chaos so that you can proceed with doing the things that you enjoy doing better. Not only does this professional have to honor the individual s/he is moving in regards to usefulness, sentiment and accessibility of their life’s collection but there are also the two residences and anyone else whose things are being moved who have rules and preferences to guide.  Time, money, space and other priorities are all players.  If tasked to go the distance alone out of convenience to or necessity for the client, s/he must make the tough decisions as safe as possible always juggling cost effectiveness.  There are inevitable guessing games as to what an item is, it’s value-monetary and sentimental-and it’s use. Luckily having a passion for discovering life through things indicates the professional has been combing various levels of resale venues-local and on-line as well as new products and is aware of sensational occurences . Knowledge combined with awareness helps to determine the overall significance of a thing to decide what to do with it.  What does the client need in the new place? What does s/he want to see around? Goodwill, the niece, to be appraised, the neighbors, collectibles, Ebay-these are the nominations among many that must be made.  There are always loads that go to Goodwill but often there are interlopers such as the following item mixed in with plastic containers and sentimental plastic plates:

“Stengle”

A quick Google search tells me that Goodwill is not the ideal place for this item-but what is? How much effort will it take to get its “worth”? Luckily my client had room enough for the piece of specialty-ware but knowing that he will not search out its value unless encouraged I slip a little paper with the approximate amount I found it to be worth inside knowing one day there will be another discoverer rolling the items around in their hands trying to get to the essence of its meaning so that the best decision can be made about its fate.

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Unitarian Universalist Church Archives

From Annual Report 2011:  “The Archives Committee continues to commit itself to
organizing and filing many years’ worth of UUSB history.  The Committee is very thankful to Carolyn Ziffer who hired a young woman, Kim Corey, to spend a couple of hours every
week last summer and fall devoted to that very task. Because of Kim’s efforts, the Archives storage area in the basement now looks as neat as a pin, and the upstairs Archives (our office) is much more pleasant, welcoming and worker-friendly. We are very fortunate to have had this outside assistance and many, many thanks to Carolyn, Archives Member Extraordinaire, for her financial contribution which has allowed the Committee to clear this final paper hurtle.

Carolyn has devoted many years and plenty of hours to the
Archives and she has always been committed to sharing
church history in anyway that she can. When Bill Green of
Bill Green’s Maine called the church looking for assistance for
a segment that he is planning on the Bangor Fire, of course
Carolyn trekked over to the church to meet with Bill, show him around and answer his questions. We’re hoping that the church–and Carolyn–will be part of his show. We much less paper to sift through, the Committee members can devote more time to researching questions, writing articles, working on the oral history project, organizing and scanning pictures and newspaper clippings on to the computer, putting up exhibits (still on the to do list) and planning many other projects large and small that we love to talk about, but haven’t yet found the time to do.”

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“Back to Business” with Deb Neuman on WVOM 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Antiques & Collectibles

Often when working with a client I come across an object that qualifies as collectible or sentimental. All too often however these items are piled among other things, crowding, collecting dust, unseen by anyone-even the owner. You can imagine my feeling of ease when recently I had the pleasure to visit a home that featured its collectible sentimentals for all to see nicely cleaned and displayed for visitors to admire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Prepping House for Sale for Out of State Owners

180 Mayo 1F master 5

Master Bdrm. BEFORE

IMG_1150

Master Bdrm AFTER



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twin BEFORE

 

Twin AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

180 Mayo 1 F middle room

Office BEFORE

 

180 Mayo lndry off Terry Hunt Realtor

Office to Nursery AFTER

1F middle room after2

Office AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prep to Sell Kitchen BEFORE

 

 

 

 

 

Prep to Sell Kitchen AFTER

 

Prep for Sale Exterior Decor

 

Prep for Sale Exterior Landscape: Flower Beds Created

 

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My Causes of Clutter Diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“PTSD is like having a ‘Junk Drawer'”, MPBN

Maine Public Television profiled a Maine Sherif who has instituted a new way of handling inmates based on his traumatic experience in the Iraq war and his battle with PTSD. The therapist likened PTSD to a “Junk Drawer” in the home, something you never want to open because it’s overflowing with things you don’t know what to do with.  Therapy takes out all those things for review and examination. It’s difficult, one doesn’t really want to do it but if ignored the burden of the mess revisits every time you need something.  Once the trauma is allowed to be felt again in a safe environment with guidance it can be put back in the drawer neat and organized so that the life-long memory, though always there, can be used in a productive way and healing can take place.  The sheriff has put those Vets that have been convicted of crimes together so that they have the shared experience that hastens the healing process and the court has a dedicated judge who can understand what PTSD is.  The process doesn’t always rescue the Vet even given all the things that go right for him or her but it’s a move toward improvement.

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Organize to be Ready for Guests

Organize to be ready for FUN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always fun to get out the silver and china when guests come over for dinner. When you are in the middle of cooking dinner the last thing you want to be doing is trying to find the other salad tong or the soup spoon handles that match the knives’. Taking a day a few weeks before a party can make sure all your tools are in place.

Identify sets. Identify sterling vs. plated. Find the odd piece of finer silver that has snuck into the mainstream dish-ware. If you use your finer silver for mainstream dish-ware just be sure to take it into account when inventorying the buffet silver drawer.  Does the silver need a shine?

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The Great Calendar Debate-Digital or Paper?

How on earth do you keep track of all you have to do with such little time?

Firstly you should be working off a calendar. You should have only one and it should be with you at most times so that when a date arises you can quickly and easily reference it and or add to it. Ease is an important part of organizing. Often people will berate themselves and shamefully admit to me that they are not using the organizing tools they have to their benefit. I notice that the tools often don’t match their needs and habits. In which case it is the system’s failing and not their own. This is often one of the most important ways I help my clients. Equally as important in effectively using the calendar is that you must reference it at least two times a day, once morning to make sure you have the day all reviewed and once at night to make sure you are prepared for tomorrow and make general updates.

For most the calendar will be at home, in transit and at the office. In all of those locations the calendar needs to live in one place so that wondering where it is when you need it is not an issue. This is where habit comes in, a very important part of staying organized is consistently returning things to their “homes” (the corner of your desk for example). Think of an enlisted person’s closet. In my house there are only three places it could be, by my bed, by the computer and on the kitchen table as I review my day. Then in transit it lives in my day bag with my wallet. When I get to a client’s home it sits on their table near the door where I left my coat so that I can make a next appointment before leaving.

Many young to middle-aged people are used to using their digital calendar. I have one piece of advice; back it up. Using the Google calendar (bottom pic) is exactly the same as any other except it’s saved “in the cloud”. In this way if you loose your phone, Ipad or your computer fails you will still have the calendar saved on Google’s servers. With a bit of study Google calendar can be set to sync with your device calendar so that even if you don’t have Internet service the same calendar is on your device, independent of wifi connection. The two calendars speak to each other when connected back to the Web again, GoogleCal taking orders from ICal(top pic) a bit slower than ICal taking orders from GoogleCal. I chose GoogleCal because ICloud is said to work on Apple platforms only and I don’t want to be limited in that way. Don’t think though that just because it’s digital you are going to be organized. If you can’t organize paper you probably won’t be able to stay on top of digital.

That brings us to paper. There are many who use a paper calendar effectively. The only way to back it up is to make photocopies or scan it in to a digital file. This is quite cumbersome as a process which translates to-it won’t get done-and so I would suggest that if you absolutely have to take it with you out of the house you take only the time period you may need to schedule, leaving as much as possible at home where it can’t be lost (with an exception or two). The other thing to consider is that by not having your calendar with you you can’t be expected to commit to anything. This is another key to organization, committing only to that which you love or need.

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Identity Theft

Everyone wants to avoid the disaster of identity theft. Most of my clients have shredders sitting by their desks with piles of checks, mutual fund statements and other documents waiting to be shredded sitting on top. So often shredders really aren’t equipped to handle the volume of paper, take too much time and break under the stress.

UPS is shredding documents. 207-947-9999 $1.25/lb.

Some companies such as Records Management will do on-site shredding. They come with a truck, equipped with shredder, to your door and you watch as they shred your documents. At times you have to schedule ahead or have a minimum for them to come.

Or AARP does free shredding events on occasion.

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Do It For Your Kids

Kids Testimonial

The peace and order that organization can bring is just as important to the children of a house. They take cues from parents’ feelings and feel at ease when the parent does. Helping them to understand principles of organization is important for them to know how to navigate a complex society. Children as young as three can understand the idea of putting things back where they were found if a parent takes time to teach it. I had one family whose daughter was as enthusiastic as the parents. She was quick to join the positive feeling her parents felt by learning how to gain some control over their space.

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